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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
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Exclamation Refusing to eat/take medication?!

Hi..I am new to these boards but urgently need some advice. My boyfriend's mom is diagnosed with dementia, and she has been mostly fine for years, but she was hospitalized for pneumonia a few months ago, and since then rapidly lost her mental abilities.
They had to take her to the hospital again as she has become violent (hitting) paranoid (thinks we are trying to put her "away") and really confused about things in general..the paranoia is the worst, though, she thinks her son is trying to poison her, etc. The hospital recommended she go to a mental hospital for an evaluation and some anti-psychotic drugs.
Now, at the mental hospital, she is refusing to eat or drink OR take ANY MEDICATION. She has been on high dosages of Xanax, Methadone, Percoset and others for decades..the hospital says they want her to detox out and won't make her take in medication..it takes 3-5 days to obtain emergency guardianship (we don't have power of attorney or anything else as of yet).
Is there any was we can get the staff to make her take medication? And why this crazily sudden decline?
Any help appreciated!!

 
Old 04-29-2011, 04:59 PM   #2
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Re: Refusing to eat/take medication?!

I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this. It may be best that she detox. If she's been taking large doses of those medications for a long time, it may be time to get her off them and then see what she really needs. Having the bout of pneumonia also probably caused some disorientation. I would trust the staff and let them treat her as they see fit. Just medicating her to calm her and make her conform to what you want is not always the answer.

 
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:42 PM   #3
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Re: Refusing to eat/take medication?!

Titchou is right in so many ways. First any medical condition or hospitalization can cause a decline. They do not understand what is going on and stress is not their friend. Also they function better in familiar surroundings. When they are "out of their element" you see the actual extend of the disease. You have taken away the long term memory that they function with and they are incapable of dealing with new because they have very little short term memory. The two together often appears as a very rapid and sharp decline in ability. There can also be a point where a dementia patient just takes a sharp downward decline... and it is usually associated with a medical illness, procedure, hospitalization, move, or other traumatic experience.

Delusions and paranoia are not uncommon and they can become violent when they don't know what is going on in their world. I went through this with my Mom.

As for the psych unit.... you have to believe they know what they are doing. I did a great big "HUH?" when I read the list of meds she was on. Those are some major meds to be on for that long and in high dosages. She truly does need to be detoxed!! They will take her off all the meds, start from square one and find something that will bring her back to the best she can be. If you do not have the legal papers then you don't have a say in her treatment.... especially psychiatric treatment. If it is a good facility, and it sounds like it probably is, then let them do their job.

Mom physician stopped two medications, started two others at the same time the facility tried to move Dad to another unit. Mom went off the proverbial edge. At that point we had to move them to a locked unit. Within a couple of weeks she was combative, hysterical, paranoid, aggressive, and generally out of control. I made the decision to use a local geriatric psych unit for med eval. She was on very little medication. On the way to the psych unit disaster struck in the form of incompetent ER staff and she ended up assaulting several people. She ended up in the correct unit but on an involuntary commitment. She could not be admitted against her will any other way without the necessary Medical Power of Attorney and that sister was not local. They were kind and informed me of what they were doing but I had no say in treatment. I will say that they did an excellent job! Since that visit Mom has been very content. It was a harrowing experience to go through... but in hind sight I am very appreciative of what they did for my Mom

If the psychiatrist in charge will talk to your boyfriend then he should speak with them. Not to tell them what to do but to let them tell him what they are doing and why. Perhaps that will bring understanding. It surely did for me and I am prone to quite the psychiatrist now

I do hope my experience will help a little. It's scary to go through but hopefully her outcome will be as good as Mom's has been.

Love, deb

PS... it has been 2 years since Mom was in the Psych Unit and she is still very content, even happy!

 
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:54 AM   #4
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Re: Refusing to eat/take medication?!

Thank you for your responses..I have talked to lots of people and the detox is starting to make sense to us, it was just hard to accept at first..mostly because of all the personality changes, I guess.
The place has very limited visiting hours as well, but I have to just try to keep on believing they know what they're doing..I KNOW they do, it's just hard as a nonmedical person to understand all the reasoning..anyway, thanks again!
-Rachel

 
Old 04-30-2011, 10:40 AM   #5
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Re: Refusing to eat/take medication?!

Rachel... it is very difficult to watch when your loved one is in physical or emotional pain. We want the best for them. Sometimes it has to get worse to get better. I never understood that statement like I do now that I have been through this disease. Detox, though difficult to watch or go through, is a good thing for your boyfriends mother. It will give you a new baseline to start from and find out what really works to help her. Have faith and hold on for the outcome.

Knowledge is power. It helps rationalize and validate. You did good to search out information. Kudos to you!

As for the personality changes... you have to know that they began before the detox not because of the detox. We tend to jumble time lines and it is difficult to pull a true cause and effect out of this crazy disease. I have a list of over a half dozen things that may have contributed to Mom's behavioral changes at the time and there is no way to pin point which did what. In the end you just have to start from this moment and do what is best.

I do believe they are on the right path with your boyfriend Mom and I hope for you both that she will come out a more content person. That is all we hope for... contentment!

Love, deb

 
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