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Marian, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 116
Experience:  M.Sc. Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, UK National Health Service
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81 yr old female feels things like jewelry chains around her

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81 yr old female feels things like jewelry chains around her teeth, at base of gums, inside gums, going toward roof of mouth. Doctors find nothing there. Otherwise she is in okay health but takes a lot of different medication. Could medication cause this feeling? Is it a mental issue? Should she be seeing a psychiatrist for older people?
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cathy :

Hi and thanks for writing JA

cathy :

are you there JA customer?

cathy :


cathy :

Are you there?

Hi JA customer. I am sorry we were not able to connect in chat.


Actually I have seen this happen with elderly people before and while it sounds very odd it is actually not as unusual as you might think. There is one thing that I was wanting to ask you in chat and that is does the elderly person have dentures or not?


I do not believe that a psychiatrist or a therapist is necessary for someone of this age. While there are some medicines that might help (anti anxiety meds) these can be prescribed by her primary physician. As far as a therapist you might do better there. If you can find a very creative therapist, but again therapy at this age, in the absence of other problems is probably not indicated.


In one of our cases we tried numerous remedies for our client and finally accidentally found that if we asked her to keep a mint wafer under her tongue the sensations lessened and finally stopped altogether. I think the mint might have numbed some of the nerve endings there but also there was a certain placebo effect for her even though she knew it was just a Necco wafer and it went away.


If her doctors and dentists cannot find anything then try a few ideas until you come up with something that works. Ice chips, crushed cloves (yes this works on tooth pain too) until you get lucky as we did. Even if it is some kind of hallucination brought on by some type of mental illness the aim is comfort more than anything.

Let me know what you have tried so far and what you think it is possible to try?

Warm regards, Cathy

Edited by cathy on 10/1/2010 at 8:40 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She does not have dentures. She is very obsessed with the feeling of chains, or pearls, or other things in her mouth, and thinks she may choke on them. She also feels that if they are not there as she thinks they are that she may be getting a kind of dementia. I have been told that there is a kind of disease where teeny things are in the skin and mouth but was told no one knows much about them. I forgot the name of the disease.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She has tried mints and things like that. Nothing seems to alleviate her symptoms. She has tried to tell herself that there is nothing there, trying to convince her brain to make it go away.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Sorry, I forgot to tell you she is on anti-anxiety meds.

Okay, lets open up your question to others on JA and see if anyone else has any ideas about how to help. I am opting out so other experts can weigh in here.

Good Luck to you on this.


Edited by cathy on 10/2/2010 at 4:15 PM EST



I have worked with and read about people with similar sensations which were manifestations of their anxiety disorders. These were on the OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) spectrum, sometimes sufficiently severe to be diagnosed as OCD but sometimes diagnosed as due to the effects of severe generalised anxiety disorder.


I think it may be significant that she seems, from what you say, to view the thoughts as intrusive, describes them as obsessive, and feels sufficiently alarmed by them that she feels it may be dementia. This is characteristic of the symptoms of OC symptomology. If there are any repetitive behaviors (mental or physical) that she carries out in response to the feeling, then this would also be consistent with this. The information you have given does not lead me to think that dementia is an issue.


It seems possible that the anxiety disorder is worsening and so I recommend seeing a psychiatrist.


Does this make sense to you? Please let me know if you have any comments or questions.




Marian, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 116
Experience: M.Sc. Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, UK National Health Service
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