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Our loved one with dementia goes off the deep end on some days when we try to answer his questions he accuses us of arguing with him. Currently he is on no medication other than Zoloft and Namenda. He still has enough awareness most days that he seems to understand the disease is taking its toll which we are sure is part of the problem of him being so anxious and contradictory from time to time.

Have wondered about the use of Xanax which is a medication for mild to moderate anxiety. just wondered what experiences and recommendations other might have on medication usage or other ways and handling his ranting and raving at times. Thanks in advance for your responses.

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My 84 year old mother takes xanax. She has Alzheimers and spends her day worrying about everything. Xanax has been a big help, in fact, it seems to help her more than anything else!
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Hi HolyCow. My mom takes 10mg once per day. A very small dose but they say that is better for the elderly. She has been on it for over 5 years. She takes no other mood drugs, only high blood pressure and thyroid.She does have one small glass of sherry at bed time.

I have recently considered asking her doc for either a higher dose or try a different one because she has been a bit crankier in the morning for the last couple months. However we live in the pacific northwest and she is from the south so she hates the weather, we all do. Everyone gets SAD during the winter so it is not a good time to judge how someone's head is doing.

Good luck Holy, you are in a very tough spot and hopefully his doc can help you out.
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Annet: I am having some problems with my Mom and she was on Remeron at night and Celexa during the day. It worked great for 2 months then she got headaches non stop all day and nothing relieved them.

I have to ask if your Mom only takes Celexa and nothing else. Does she ever have a headache from it? What dosage did they put her on and how many times a day does she take it?

Sorry to ask so many questions but I would really rather Mom go back on the Celexa verses him putting her on an anti-psychotic or Depekane sprinkles which will make her sleep most of the time.
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How long has he been on zoloft? Maybe try changing that up as others have suggested. Apparently SSRIs can lose effectiveness and it is common to swap them out. We have had great luck with my 88 yr old mother on celexa. I would not be able to handle her without it. Good luck.
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I was on heavy pain meds and Xanax years ago up north after a bad back injury. I had my first panic attack before then any do have generalized anxiety disorder. It helped prevent freaking out at the grocery store and leaving my basket there without a single purchase. I live with my mom, 24/7 CG, has Parkinsons, she sees a neurologist now at my insistence because her PCP is an idiot as far as I'm concerned. Ended up in the hospital last Apr. with dehydration, he had kept her on 3 BP meds, one with a diuretic, and her BP didn't warrant it. She has refused to see the geriatric neurologist I had an appt. with ( told her it was a counselor for us together), got her to the office for a brain scan and she freaked, however made to an ENT last week at the neurologists recommendation (so were the others). No sleep apnea, he gave her a very low dose of Klonopin but I'm afraid she will pee in her bed. I'm saving it in case I need it, not even enough for 2 days, So I will go on in my exhaustive state because she comes in my br frequently to say hello or to ask if I'm OK. Sure I am...
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OK, I get it - you're suggesting the CARETAKER take the Xanax. It would not be as totally bad an idea if you could get away with it, but be aware someone might eventually drug test the caregivee to make sure they are getting their meds. (I've done that for a patient or two of mine where I suspected as much.)

And besides that, good beer, wine, or margaritas taste better, plus they're OTC.
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" It is probably more of a sedative for the caretaker, than it is for an elderly patient. "
caregivers take a beating from all sides. ive spoken to two different va phsycs who seemed completely unaware of the effects dementia care can have on the carer. a gi doc and hepatologist both offered any kind of assistance necessary. makes me think the phsycs are a little " slow " ..
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xanax helped me tremendously with my panic disorder after my daughter was born. That was 26 years ago, and until paxil came an the market, no antidepressant helped my non-stop panic attacks. It was horrible, and xanax was the only thing that stopped them. even on 3-4mgs a day, I still had breakthrough attacks regularly, but xanax made it where I could live my life, without it I would have been at home always. Learning how to help myself with the panic, and knowing what can trigger them helps a lot, I still have them several times a year, but I don't take any xanax, I use Clonapin. I take a little seroquel for sleep, and cymbalta for depression. My mom takes xanax .5 three times a day for her anxiety and is in a nursing home. I don't take clonapin daily or even monthly now, which I very happy with.
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Xanax saved my life and the life of my unborn daughter 22 years ago. I was pregnant and at 12 weeks went into the worst non stop panic and anxiety attacks! This had happened to me two years earlier when I was pregnant and I was led down the merry path and told "you really just do not want this child, is why this is happening!" I had an abortion at the doctors recommendation. I just wanted the panic and anxiety to stop!

With my daughter, I knew I wanted this child and I fought to keep her Xanax and all! It is 22 years later and I do still have my Xanax and I use it only when needed, not on a daily basis and honestly it makes me tired so I can lay down and rest and let the problems that plague me drift away for a while.

The hospital used it on my mother for her dementia, but it did not seem to work on her. I would say if you think using it on him when he gets upset would help, then with a doctors help, try it. If it doesn't work you can move on.
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I think its too euphoric and addictive for most people, but it's on the market because for some people it is an effective anxiety reliever. It does increase falls and decrease cognitive function to a degree. Using benzodiazepines for anxiety is no longer the first choice; SSRIs, SNRIs, usually in lower doese for the elderly, if tolerated are first line for anxiety, depression, and OCD. My prejudice is to try that first, then buspirone rather than a true antipsychotic for anxiety per se, and for agitation think about a little trazodone at night. The key is to find a doc who is good with these meds, good with side effects and individualizing, thinking things through with you with the well-being of the person in mind. There are trade offs with all meds; sometimes medication is truly a magic bullet, other times the non-pharmacologic things give you more bang for the buck and sometimes a combination is what you absolutely need to have any benefit at all.
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took xanax for many years, only as prescribed and it works very well. problem is it's extremely addictive, and is suppose to only be used for a short while, not like I took it for nearly 20 years, yes 20 years. Can be very hard to stop, and dangerous if stopped suddenly. Elderly ones don't always metabolize well, and that can be a problem, and can worsen dementia. It's a good drug that has it's uses when used correctly.
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A physician who has experience with geriatrics is important here. With most seniors there can be many adverse drug reactions and interactions. Seniors don't metabolize drugs the same as adult population and further, there can be other factors to consider such as physical abilities, balance, hydration, etc.

Outbursts can run the range including just general frustration of the moment and feeling sorry for their aging, loss of control over their lives, forgetfulness, loss of relationships, lethargy.

If you can engage him in outside activities, other senior companionship, outings, etc that is always preferable. I'm not against drugs by any means as long as they are prescribed correctly and their is ongoing support and follow up by the dr while the patient is adjusting but not just "writing and refilling prescriptions" and saying "see ya next yr".
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My first response to the question "Xanax for anxiety"


YES PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
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stay out of marion indiana with the zans. judge haas is a real flat tire..
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My cousin has been on Xanax for several years, following a divorce. My SIL has been on it 10 years, having to care for an adult son with schizophrenia.

I believe the drug was first used to settle people down, during a short crisis. I suspect my relatives are both abusing it. I know they can no longer sleep without it.

It is probably more of a sedative for the caretaker, than it is for an elderly patient.
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I hope that he has a doctor who is very experienced with older patients and knowledgeable about dementia. (A geriatric psychiatrist or a behavioral neurologist are likely candidates.) Such a doctor is the best resource for trying a drug. It often takes more than one attempt to find the optimal treatment for a given individual. This should be done under the supervision of medical staff who know what to look for.

The good news is that drug therapy will probably help. You may have to be patient while the right drug or combination of drugs is discovered.

In addition to a drug, you may learn to recognize triggers and modify your own behavior to minimize your LO's anxiety. For example, if answering certain types of questions seems to set him off, you may get better results by responding, "That is a good question. I've wondered that myself. What do you think?" and perhaps directing the conversation to a different topic.

Living with and/or caring for someone with dementia involves constant on the job training! Be sure you have a suitable doctor on your team, and work with him or her to deal with the symptoms.

Best wishes to you. Come back and tell us what you try and how it works out. We learn from each other.
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