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From all the stress of dealing with my husband, I have developed hoarseness. I am convinced that there is nothing physically wrong, it is just stress. When I talk to people on the phone when I am not home, they immediately comment that my voice sounds so much better.


My husband insisted that I had to talk to the doctor about my clearing my throat "so much" (maybe a few times a day -- while he sits and sucks his teeth for hours on end, every twenty seconds or so). So I mentioned it to the doctor at my annual this week. Her answer is for me to go on an anti-anxiety medication, Lexapro. If I refuse that, then she is referring me to an ENT.


I absolutely do not want to take a medication I feel I do not need to help me "cope" with my husband's behavior. But I also don't want to go to an ENT and have to submit to testing.

So....you're being advised to either take an anxiety medicine or submit to tests and dr. appointments because you're husband; who doesn't 'allow' you to read, monitors your time at the grocery store (or anywhere away from him even in your home), sucks his teeth noisily and to distraction (that's just ill mannered and gross); complains that you CLEAR your throat too often, all the while HE is able to play golf twice a week. AND there is a doctor paying attention to HIS complaints.

There is so much wrong with this picture from start to finish that I can't begin to say what all. I have a feeling you see it too, so you are digging your heels in and resisting all advice from that quack of a dr.

I agree with you. You are not the problem. Not only is your situation unfair for you but it is toppling over into unbearable for you.

I suggest you fix the problem before you snap, and I don't mean fix you..
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Reply to CharK60
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Grammie, I want to take a step back.

Didn't your mom die recently in some pretty horrific circumstances? And you are dealing with your husband's deteriorating condition pretty much alone? And you've written that at times he is downright mean and unreasonsable?

If you are clearing your throat a lot, I would get checked out by an ENT and a GI doc. Post nasal drip and/or reflux are know causes. Get the physical stuff checked out first.

Lexapro is an anti-depressant. It is often good at lessening anxiety for some. I would go see a good geripsych doctor and find out if you have the symptoms of depression and anxiety before going that route.
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JoAnn29 Sep 19, 2020
I agee with seeing an ENT.
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Clearing one's throat is also a sign of respiratory issues, where phlegm comes up from the lungs/esophagus in response to lung troubles.

We are having a LOT of smoke here from the wildfires, so I am clearing my throat continuously, it feels like. If you are in Calif or Colo or another area with wildfires and/or arson fires, don't discount THAT as a contributor.

Allergies also contribute to sinus drip which causes me to clear my throat quite a bit.

I don't think I'd immediately chalk hoarseness up to stress, although I don't doubt you are under a tremendous amount of it, caring for your husband who sucks his teeth all day. UGH. Perhaps HE is the one who needs to be medicated and not you? :)

Women have a tendency to shrug things off to 'just' being one thing or another, and not taking symptoms seriously. You say you don't want to go to an ENT and succumb to 'tests', yet you're willing to take Lexapro based on a non-scientific diagnosis? If it were me, I'd probably go to the ENT and see if there was an organic reason for your throat clearing, which is NOT excessive at a few times per day, before taking a long term anti-anxiety medication. Although a script for Xanax on an as-needed basis might be nice, huh? When this whole plague thing broke out in March, my DS gave me 10 Xanax which I've taken 1/2 a tab of when I felt extremely wired or stressed out. I can't tell you the difference it makes. I still have 4 left, too.

I pray for strength for you, my friend, as it's very difficult to take care of YOURSELF in the midst of caring for someone else.
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graygrammie Sep 19, 2020
I'm not willing to take Lexapro. In fact, I'm not willing to take any med other than my bp med. I hardly ever even use tylenol. Looks like I'll be going to the ENT, which is a waste of time imo.
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GG, are you saying that your HUSBAND won't allow you to read books or magazines?

Has he always been unreasonable, or is this just since the dementia started?
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graygrammie Sep 20, 2020
It has been for at least the last five years. And that is when I started noticing the other personality changes. He has always been very controlling. I thought as a submissive wife I had to subject myself to that. I now know differently.
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Just a question, is it a tickle you experience? Do you use cough drops? Has there been a change in blood pressure meds? My Mom had all of these things and it was the blood pressure Meds.

The teeth sucking would drive me crazy too. Thank God my house I can go to the Den and shut the door if my DH did this. Maybe its not you who needs the meds maybe its your husband. Seems to me his "sucking" is a sign of anxiety. Fix him, then you are fixed.

I agree, I wouldn't want any meds either.
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Sendhelp Sep 19, 2020
Yes, I agree with you, JoAnn.
Give the husband the medication.
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GG, who are the "others" whose support you need to say to your dh "nonsense. I will read when it suits me. Please amuse yourself for an hour while I finish this"?

Does it matter if he is sarcastic or upset? He has dementia. He should NOT be "driving the bus" of the relationship.
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graygrammie Sep 22, 2020
There are no others. And he denies the dementia and likes to stay, "I may be sick but I am still head of this household and you will do what I say."
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Your Doctor is certainly interesting. Goes from anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds to Eye Ear Nose and Throad specialist as though the two had some sort of equivalency.
You either need one or the other, and who can say which? Not certain what kind of diagnostician this is?
What do they see when they look in your throat? I think myself I would go to the throat specialist. If you can cover it on insurance, what have you to lose?
Failure to cope doesn't cause gravel voice. What other symptoms do you have that makes them think you suffer from depression? Have you asked.
And yes, our voices change with age, and when we speak little, then speak a lot they get kind of "tight".
There is no one who can make you take medications to "cope". I agree that drugging yourself is usually NOT the answer, though for some it helps.
Coping with your husband may mean not being with your husband. But that is for future exploration.
You are dealing with a whole lot. Best of luck. You will likely see an ENT to tell you that you have allergies and post nasal; don't we all. But it will be off the plate. As to the Lexapro, you might actually give it a try. Sometimes, in times of great stress, these help and you branch out in your life a bit to try some other things. A bridge gets built and when you get off the meds you can find that the bridges are still there. However, if you don't want to take drugs, that certainly is your right.
Wishing you the very best ongoing.
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Elle1970 Sep 22, 2020
See the ENT to rule out something like throat cancer (I don't mean to be alarmist). Do NOT take the antidepressant to kept others happy. Look after yourself.
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As I have said 1,000x on here: Anti-depressants or any other mental health med are not prescribed because you are too weak or too inept to cope with your life. Meds are not about giving up, they're not taking the easy way out, and they are not meant to emotionally numb you.

That said, I would see the ENT first to rule out any physical reason why this is happening. If nothing is found, then please consider Lexapro. You'll need to give it 2-3 weeks to see if it'll work for you. If you don't notice any changes after that, then stop taking it, and no harm done.

I've seen ENTs before and was never put through a series of tests. The only one I had was for allergies, where they put stuff on your arms to see if you react. I doubt you'd need allergy testing.
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Elle1970 Sep 22, 2020
Antidepressants are not a panacea. The OP has occasional hoarseness and should see an ENT, not take antidepressants to keep everyone happy because they think she's not as cheerful as she should be living the life of a slave and a drudge.
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I hate that docs always feel that with women it must be emotional/hormonal. Why!?

Even if women come in presenting heart attack type symptoms they are brushed off more often than men. This has been documented. Maybe if men were prescribed meds like Lexapro or Xanax more often, women would be less likely to feel crappy cause the men in their life would be easier to deal with. Just saying....
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NeedHelpWithMom Sep 19, 2020
This is true with some doctors. My friend who has had a heart condition since childhood was having issues.

She told her doctor her symptoms. He knew of her heart condition, yet he gave her a paper to read with a list of symptoms of panic attacks.

She informed her doctor that she was not experiencing panic and told him that if she were a guy that he would be running heart test.

Anyway, she got frustrated and went to a new doctor that did run tests. Turns out all she needed was her meds adjusted.

She was fine after her dosage was changed to the level needed.
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You wrote:  "I'm not allowed to read magazines or books which is why I pretty much hideout on the computer in another room in order to read the news or magazine articles."  

Why not?   I've never heard of this kind of restriction, unless there's dust or something on the magazines or books that causes a reaction.  

But you also wrote:

"Time away from my husband is impossible. Yes, I have to be in his presence constantly."    

Sorry, but I'm confused.    You have rights that you can exercise.    And if you're in another room, you're not in his presence constantly unless he watches you through the door.   Nor when you're in the bathroom.

I think you need to take a stand in your own behalf.  That's an observation, not a criticism.  I understand you feel an obligation to be with him, but that's unrealistic.
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graygrammie Sep 20, 2020
He doesn't allow me to read books or magazines because then I am not paying attention to him.

Yes I do escape to computer as much as possible but it only sets me up for sarcastic nasty comments later.

Yes, I do need to take a stand for myself but I want to know I have the support of others to back me up. Right now I do not have that.
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