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If she is like most elderly, she likely takes a whole bag of medicine. So first the doctor may have to slowly take her off of any medicine she is currently on. It seems that most medicines for depression, pain, blood pressure, etc., have a long list of side effects - including hallucinations. I know that adding Abilify to anti depressants helps with obsessive thoughts and hallucinations, but the very medicines that are supposed to help often cause serious side effects also. Does she have any vision problems or hearing loss that would be contributing? Our doctor said that any sensory disabilities will add to hallucinations and false beliefs. Getting her checked for urinary problems is good advice also.
My mother has some of the problems you named and has already fired her psychiatrist (!) so I can certainly sympathize with these problems.
I would first look at any medicine that she is currently taking for these side effects. Talk to your pharmacist also.
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Please, if not already, have them tested for uti (urinary tract infection). That MUST be ruled out. My mom started demonstrating hallucinations and dr immediately wanted to rule out UTI. She had a UTI without any symptoms (chills, fever, etc). Once on antibiotics, the hallucinations decreased immediately. This wasn't mentioned above and just wanted to make sure that's part of the work-up.
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I would encourage you to make sure that the physician you take your loved one to is familiar with dementia and alzheimers disease. Haldol is NOT appropriate for any one with Alzheimers disease. Go to a geriatric psychiatrist or a neurologist that works with alzheimers disease..
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My mom has been helped...and then NOT helped...by Zoloft, Seroquel, and Ativan. The later two were Rx'd to help her paranoid delusions and combativeness. First seroquel. it worked at first, but then I noticed Mom choking, working her jaw around, sticking out tongue, going either limp in chair or straight as a board and whomp...down on the floor. Big warning meanwhile on TV ads "not for elderly dementia patients." I looked up sfx on the internet...and there wre all the warning signs. We took her off that and she stabilized. Then we tried Ativan. That too worked for awhile...I even got some Thank you's out of Mom...but then the DeadZone scary zombie thing started. Delusions about Those People. It caused urine retention that was so agonizing...Ativan side effect, all of it. Itook her off all drugs for most of summer, then decided to try Zoloft again. That set of delusions of paranoia and FIRE!! Then the withdrawal set of another set of paranoia delusions, which ended in her not willing to drink...ending at the ER. Finally we got off everything.
Ativan is ok for my mother once in awhile, but not regular. We have not used in two months.
There is a set of guidelines to use to help seniors get off unnecessary drugs. It is called Beers Criteria or Beers list. Ask your doctor if he/she knows about it, and if not...get a gerontologist to assess the patient. I believe my mother was demented for ten years mostly because of a bladder control drug called Ditropan. to stop peeing. She came to almost completely until the doctor Rx'd Zocor. That is FIVE drugs that cause dementia and delusions/paranoia. Thanks modern medicine for making my mother insane.
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Valium and Xanax are in the same class of drugs.....both are classified as benzos and used for anxiety. There are several drugs used as anti-psychotics, one of them is Haldol, the best is Ativan. A psychiatrist will give meds to calm the person down and attempt to deal with what's going on in the mind. A medical doctor on the other hand will also deal with the body. As a person ages, they become depressed due to not being able to do what they once did, the loss of their independence, losing friends and peers to illness, the loss of other family members such as spouses...... One year ago my mil went into a screaming, "I'm going to kill myself" rage. We had her admitted to the behaviorial unit at the local hospital.....psychiatrist put her on a bunch of "old" style meds for mind control. It's taken a year to figure out what is best and is working on the mind and body, but it took interaction with her medical doctor to get it done. At night time mil gets 2 Zyprexa (anti-psychotic), Cymbalta and Aricept. I've noticed a very nice change in just the past week since we changed to these meds. Different meds work on different people, it may be trial and error until you find a combo that works. Just keep in mind that as they age the body also needs tending to, not just the mental status. Let me know how things go........take care.
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I would advise NO, but am not a doctor,but do know that anti-depressents and benzodiazapines are not good for older people. if she is hallucinating, perhaps she is sliding into a borderline schizophrenia? have you taken her to be assessed by psychiatrist? I have found, from experience, age 47-58 that zanax is very bad for you; increases anxiety, cause seizures, and can depress the heck out of you. I finally realized this after so many years of being on that stuff; have severe anxiety disorder. I find valium to be much better, but, not for older persons...........my father had a total breakdown on valium. I would consult a psychiatrist; not a psychologist, for advice on this issue, which is of major importance. How old is your Mom? I would get her assessed, and perhaps a psychotropic drug may be of more use? Good luck and I totally understand. IT was heartrending to see my parents crumble mentally. They were 79, mom, and 83; Dad. Mom died at 86 and Dad at 87; one week after his birthday. I wish you courage, and strength.kat
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Dear Rham, you don't say how old your Mother is! But my perception is too seek medical advice, and I'm quite sure, the doctor would put your Mum onto an Anti-Depressant. This would calm your Mother down, but first as others have stated, is your Mother on any other Medication. But please don't feel discouraged, because all will work out in the end. Take care of yourself, so you can be their for your Mother. Regards, Gossip3
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I really don't wanna give u the wrong advice but, I do encourage you to maybe research information pertaining hallucination or try speaking with the doctor to find some type of treatment... To help your mother :)
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My father was having scary hallucinations and the psychiatrist recommended .5 mg per day of an anti-psychotic which helped take some of the anger away so that even if he has an occasional hallucination now, they are not as scary. 50 mg of Zoloft has helped him look at the bright side of things--he's in a lovely assisted living and the family takes him out several days a week--and his excessive obsessive-compulsive disorder has receded. Unless he gets over-tired, he's much more his old self. Very funny and social.
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Hi rham - almost causes one to pull their own hair out, doesn't it!?! No fun!!!

Surely a medical determination is the first thing to investigate. Regardless of the determination however, please know that as an understanding of truth, logic and reason continue to depart then it becomes increasingly important to 'reach' and therefore help the person by means of striving to enhance their emotional content.

Though of course, things can very much get too far advanced for most of us to wholly and efficiently handle things to the degree we'd like, by more and more focusing on uplifting their emotional content we place ourselves and the victim of these thoughts far ahead of the game. The better and more at peace their internal spirit, the less apt they are to dwell on negative thoughts and behavior.

Keep looking up,

V
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You really need to get her in to a psychiatrist that specializes in senior care. My mom used to have hallucinations, along wtih a lot of other issues. When it got severe, she ended up in the stress center at the hospital (the senior care part of it) for a couple of weeks so that she could get 24 hour observation and care from qualified doctors so she could get stabilized. Since her departure a couple months ago, the hallucinations are gone, but we visit the psychiatrist regularly as the appropriate "cocktail" of medications is identified (there is depression, anxiety, etc. that remains). Psychiatric medications are really an experiment because each individual reacts differently, so finding the right thing can take some time (and patience!!!). But you need to get her in to see someone NOW. Good luck to you. My sister and I took a class that our local NAMI (national association of mental illness) puts on - 12 weeks for people that have loved ones with mental illness. It was VERY helpful in understanding what we are dealing with. I recommend you look in to finding out if that resource is available in your area.
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What medications are your taking? Some medications cause Hallucinations. Has there been any new medication introduced to her lately? My mother has dementia and then they tried a antidepressant. The results were horrible. She started hallucinating, being paranoid. I had to wean her off them. Some antidepressants can cause death with an elderly person. It sounds to me that your mother shoud get seek a medical professional at soon as possible. I would suggest a complete Blood work up. Take care my fellow caregiver, I know the road is difficult. I hope you are able to find some answers and find some way to get some rest.
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I would encourage you to take her to a geriatric psychiatristl Has she been diagnosed with alzheimer's disease or some form or dementia??? One thing you want to remember is her reality is her reality you can not argue it away. I would encourage a review of her medication and an exam. Bless her heart this has to be very hard for both of you... take care
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First thing when hallucinations get worse:
HAVE HER CHECKED FOR A UTI.
Elderly get these often, and are a major cause for behavioral changes. A good geriatric doctor would suggest this before prescribing a new med for anything else!!!
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Elderly people are often more sensitive to such drugs, although
residential homes, hospitals, and doctors routinely prescribe them. Yes, she does need a thorough review of what she is currently taking before other drugs are added. Consult a medical professional (maybe a geriatrician).
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I'm so sorry. My mom has the same kinds of things. Does your mom have dementia? And do you know what kind? I ask that because I've read that anti-psychotics can be very bad for someone with Lewy Bodies Dementia. It's really hard to know what to do. I am not anti-meds at all, just cautious. Read up on anything they suggest and don't be afraid to ask questions or remind them of anything she is already on. With my mom, her hallucinations have gotten a little easier to handle as we do our best not to "correct" her. I mean, often I just can't go along with the hallucination, but I try reallly hard to move the conversation to something else or get her to get up and move rather than try to talk her out of the hallucination. Her whole line of thinking and conversation will switch sometimes when she gets up (not always). Best of luck and thoughts and prayers for peace for both of you.
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Is what a side effect? Is mom already on medication? Has she seen her doctor for a complete check-up? An anti-psychotic is used for hallucinations....anti-depressants to help perk them up out of their little black hole. You need to help mom get some control over these feelings before something worse occurs. Just remember that mom can't help the way she feels, but between her doctor and you, the negative feelings will start to improve. My best wishes to you.........
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Rham, yes I'm sure it would help world's. My mom was having those symptoms at home, I didn't know what to do, I'm an only child had 24 hour help, but it wasn't enough. I finally gave up and put her in assisted living, she was still getting worse, they put her on a one time a day antidepressant, and it's really helped, of course she still has some bad days, but not many anymore.
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Could be....get her in and have her checked out! ASAP Don't let this go, it could be meds it could be she needs new meds. The negative thoughts scare me and they probably scare her too!!
Best of wishes for you and mom
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