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I cared for my mother for 8 years and she passed away in September 2014 with dementia. I was placed on Zoloft for two years due to severe panic and anxiety attacks. I am currently being weaned off due to side effects..mainly memory problems.
I asked my doctor who is a Psychiatrist/Researcher in this area to please test me for dementia/Alzheimer's however he wanted to wait possibly due to the medication. I am close to being totally off the meds and now want to seek answers to my condition but do not know where to begin. I do know that many of you are nurses and have dealt with these illnesses so I wanted to ask for guidance.

I do not know how long I should wait once removed from all medication to try to obtain testing. I am hoping that all this fog will lift and my memory will return but I am preparing for the worst as Alzheimer's ran in my grandmother's family down to dementia in my mother. I know you are probably saying "ask your doctor" however since he is a researcher and does medical trials I know he will want to put me in a trial and I do not think I want to do that.

I am afraid to tell my family what I am going through because it has only been two years since my mother was suffering with this and we were all losing our minds trying to figure out what to do. I do not want to lose my freedom and I know my daughter or sister may try to take over my life decisions. I do have a Trust but my daughter is only 25 and not mature enough to handle what I may put her through.

It has become more difficult to organize anything. Bills are sometimes forgotten. I have left things cooking on the stove and forgotten them. I live with my daughter and older sister so they catch what I don't, thank God! In wood working they say "measure twice and cut once" but I find myself measuring 5 or 6 times and then having someone else check too, "just to be safe." If I do not make a note, I will forget it....TV shows, appointments, paying the gardener, trash day etc. It is not just forgetting where my keys are, it is finding my scarf in the trash instead of the laundry or going to bed after working hard all day in the yard and awakening to realize I forgot to take a bath the night before or spending money on things I do not really need.

I have always been the one to rely on, the one in charge so this is very difficult for me and frightening. I also have gran mal seizures and take meds to control them. Can anyone offer some guidance please?

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I agree that addressing the stress issues is vital as well as having a complete physical. While I can see why you are concerned (especially from your last paragraphs) - and you are right to be - there are so many issues that can contribute to what you are experiencing that they all need to be checked out. You need to recuperate from all you've been through and regain your health. Then, if you are still afraid that you are developing AD, see a different doctor for that type of evaluation.

Take care of yourself. We'd love to have you update us on how you are doing.
Carol
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I too think that due to your history of taking care of a Dementia parent, you may be hyper focused on the signs and symptoms, and because of this, you may be experiencing a bit of post traumatic stress, from the caregiving alone! Yes, you must work with your Dr's, but give it time to get back to a new normal, post caregiving, and see how you do. If you are incredibly stressed, its easy to see why you could be forgetful, as that is a classic symptom. Try to find ways to de-stress, and start doing some regular exercising and reading, but not nessisarily about Dementia! Find new ways to enjoy your life. Those symptoms will come whether you want them or not, and then will still be the time to address them, and whether it is with new medications or not will be for you to decide. The time to discuss your concerns will become apparent to your daughter and your sister, and I expect that they already have an eye on you. Take care!
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Find the article right here on the forum-tells you how to tell dementia from stress, grief-you look it up-you can do it.
After reading it, check back and tell us how you feel.
Also, have a check-up with your primary care physician-thyroid, fibromyalgia, grief, stress, a vit. D or B-12 deficiency, iron deficiency---all this and more can mimic dementia.
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Stressed52, I just read your profile and you have been through a lot.... not only stress but also guilt due to a fall that your mother had while in a nursing home.

I also feel like I am losing my memory. My primary doctor said that is normal when under so much stress. Also my new talk therapist is saying the same thing. It will take awhile to de-stress even when taking meds. I also take meds and there are some side effects as you had noticed with your own memory.

If I don't remind myself with notes, forgetaboutit, it doesn't get done. And here I use to be so organized. I think some of that is side effects from the meds. I am too tired to care.

As for the falls, there really isn't much one can do to help eliminate falls... elders are going to fall, that is this their job. My Mom had a serious fall while she still lived at home with Dad, had a traumatic head injury and there was nothing that doctor could do to correct the damage that was done. Then Mom spent her remaining three months in long-term-care where she continued to keep falling. Since I had studied up on this injury, I knew this would happen. The long-term-care couldn't tie Mom into her bed or into her chair, so there wasn't much anyone could do except wait it out.

Watch TV shows such as "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" where you can answer questions. It makes you feel good when you get the right answer. Or get back into a hobby you use to enjoy. Mine was politics, so there is a lot of material for me to get into :P
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Try something different. Forget about all this and go for a walk. Go to a park, visit a garden center, go to a show, museum, whatever. Just get out of the house and outside in nature. Then see if you're still stressed when you return.

Some of the things you describe aren't unusual for post-caregiving; it does take a while to segue back into a less demanding lifestyle. But the more you worry about it, the more you're going to begin believing that your worries are coming true. Perhaps they are; perhaps they aren't.

If you start worrying again, turn on the Weather Channel and think about what you'd have to do if you lived in Florida - that's really something to worry about. Focus on other people's misfortunes and how you can help - it takes your mind off your own issues.

It really does help to get more balanced into your life.
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Stressed, come off the meds gradually. Keep a diary of each day and chart your improvement. Be mindful of the seizure activity, be sure you are not having more frequent seizures; put that in the diary.
I agree with others that your memory affect is probably due to all you have been through. Grief counseling may help you unload the burden.
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Stressed, I went through something similar to you awhile back. I was researching ADD, Alzheimers, etc. I just couldn't believe how foggy, unfocused and forgetful that I was. It really scared me. Then, I got out from under some of the stress.( I am the sole caretaker for my cousin, who has dementia. There is no one to help me.) I had her placed in AL, now Memory Care and it really did help. My symptoms have gradually faded and now, I'm back to normal, though, I still have some stress. But, it's manageable. It takes some time for your body to adjust.

Of course, you can't know for sure, but most people who have dementia, aren't trying to get to a doctor to get it diagnosed. Most people with dementia don't realize it and are resistant to the idea. You are not that way, so, that's something.

I'd work on stress relief and get her your health back before you do tests. There's no rush, right? You can get tested in a few months, when your stress level is down.
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And perhaps another important question is, if you are developing dementia, what are you going to do about it? How will you prepare for and handle it? But don't venture into this mode of thinking when you're stressed, as apparently you are based on your screen name.
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i took care of my mother for about 8 years...and she had dementia and died last week!!! i probably should have been on antidepressants because it was a very sad and stressful experience!!! when my mother died i was so sad but so relieved, i was having an out of body experience. i think you probably are so overwhelmed and stress from it all...that it has made the the smallest tasks difficult to do!! that is what stress does...wears you out! i've been unraveling ever since my mother died...first few days, i could feel the stress just pouring out of my body!!! i've been doing as little as possible and sleeping as much as possible! im giving myself plenty of time to get back to some type of normal life again. BE KIND TO YOURSELF...GO SHOPPING....GET A MASSAGE...SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP!! Good luck...and our loved ones are in heaven where they belong...and we have our lives back!! thank god for both!
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I didn't see if you had mentioned your age but given your daughter is 25 you can't be that old. Early on-set Alzheimer's is defined as under 65 and it is relatively rare - I believe only 5% of all cases. I'm going to agree that stress is more likely the cause of your symptoms.
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