About a year and a half ago my husband was diagnosed with "mild, cognitive impairment" by a neurologist. He has always had trouble remembering names and that is getting worse. He says and does hateful things when it's usually just the two of us in a room. Of course later he denies saying them. Sometimes it's even a whole story, usually about something happening to him or his family in the past. He's normally a real likeable guy, but these situations are starting to take a toll on me. Is this a form of dementia? His doctor has prescribed medicine normally given to Alzheimers patients but she told us to not be alarmed when we saw an advertisement on tv for this med. Also he takes Zoloft for depression. What can I expect - a slow downhill slide?
Jeanne had good things to say. I would add that there are other forms of illness that can cause behavior like this, so be sure the doctor has explored all avenues.
The doctor is trying Alzheimer's medications, so he or she is likely thinking that you husband is on the brink of Alzheimer's. The nasty behavior signifies more than just MCI to me, though I'm not a medical person. Stages of Alzheimer's can "go back and forth," which is why your husband may be close to his "old self" most of the time, but then turn into a different personality at other times. Keep seeing the doctor and ask for updates on his state of health.
Also, please contact the Alzheimer's Association for guidance, at www.alz.org. They can help you take each step and they have a helpline, plus support groups. Your local Alzheimer's organization will also be very helpful. Remember to try to take care of yourself. This is a long journey.
What can you expect? The Mayo Clinic says this: "Mild cognitive impairment increases your risk of later developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, especially when your main difficulty is with memory. But some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better."
Have you seen the neurologist again since the diagnosis of MCI? If you think things are getting worse, it might be worth another visit. There are differing opinions on this, but personally I think the earlier dementia is diagnosed, the better, and the earlier the kind of dementia can be pinpointed the more likely an appropriate treatment plan can be put into place.
If this is not dementia (and possibly even if it is) some joint counselling might be useful to help you deal with the hurtful things he says and then forgets.
Best wishes to you. Come back and let us know how this progresses for you.
I know that we can't always expect our loved ones to be in a good mood when they have dementia, but I would work to get him treated to ease the mental pain. Maybe, if that happens, he will enjoy the visits more.
My mother's geriatrician prescribed Aricept for my mother's MCI without any particular thought that she was on the brink of AD. She simply said, try this, watch the results carefully, if it doesn't seem to help, drop it. In my admittedly very limited experience, a prescription for Aricept does not necessarily mean a presumption of Alzheimer's.
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