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My best friend has exhibited growing paranoia with her memory issues. She has believed for some time that people are breaking into her home and stealing the oddest items, e.g., her pots and pans, her underwear, her curtains for the back room, etc.

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She needs an expert diagnosis by a neurologist or psychiatrist who knows both dementia and mental illness. That's the only way she'll receive proper treatment.
I hope that she'll let you help her.
Take care,
Carol
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These are classic signs of some form of Dementia. It could also be another type of Mental Illness as well.
But as with ANY medical problem you or rather she needs an expert diagnosis.
The first place I would start, and most people have to start is with their Primary Doctor.
Express the concerns, give accurate description as to what has been happening.
Chances are the doctor will do a MME (mini mental exam) that is pretty much worthless as far as I am concerned since they have nothing to compare it to other than "the norm"
Then ask for a referral to a Neurologist or better yet a Neuropsychologist.
They will do very in depth testing to come to a diagnosis.
Stick with your friend through this...she will need a good friend as this is a very difficult diagnosis. (any mental "disorder" is a difficult one) She will need a good friend and I can tell you many of her friends and family will abandon her.
And I can not stress how important a Support group will be for you and her family.
Good luck.
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If I gave my back room curtains to Goodwill and forgot I did it, put a couple of pans in the linen closet, threw some panties in the trash instead of the laundry basket, etc. I could admit that I'm having memory problems and seek medical evaluation, or I could deny it is happening and find some other "logical" explanation -- such as someone is stealing my stuff.

That the rationalization is not very logical at all is part of the impairment! It is an attempt at self-protection. Your friend may not be very open to reasoning about this. I'm sure you've asked, "Why would anyone take your curtains and leave the valuables in that room?" You might have more success addressing the forgetfulness and suggest she have that checked out. "It's probably nothing. We all get distracted and forget things once in a while. But since it seems to be happening more often, you'll feel better once you have it checked out."

It is kind of you to be concerned for your friend. I hope she will be open to your help.
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Luckybag, is your friend under the care of a doctor? You could ask that the doctor review all meds she is taking, and check labels to see if prescriptions are being given by more than one doctor, then get all the meds under review by just one doctor. Just a guess. There are kind, informed people on this board who can help you more if you give more information about your friend. Wishing you well, it must be scary for you to see these changes.
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My mom has dementia has had it since maybe 2006 when she started noticing her memory loss. Right before I moved her in with me two years ago she was experiencing some paranoia. She was claiming that someone was in the house, she could hear people talking in other rooms. She also said that they were coming in the house in the middle of the night and making a mess in the kitchen. Medication could help her but yes let the doctor give you an answer.
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Go to the doctor with her to review medications, and have a check up. She is probably getting anxious as to what is happening to her. The faster she gets meds, the better. Remain calm and peaceful with her. I went through this with my mom. These are delusions. If they happen in the evening, 4:30pm and beyond, its called sundowning. I suggest you read The 36 Hour Day so you will know exactly how to help her. You will also receive wonderful advice in this site.
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Your best friend has dementia. Have her MD figure out if it is Alzheimer's, or some other type.
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It is quite possible that she may be developing memory issues (of which there could be many possible causes) and has put things in odd places and doesn't recall doing it, rationalizing that someone else must have done it.
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What is your question?
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Your best friend must seek out the help of a doctor-either a psychiatrist or primary care physician.
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