Does anyone have an emotion lasting long after the experience is forgotten?

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My husband has dementia due to blood loss causing a lack of oxygen to the brain. He is very aware of his issues. The only emotion he has anymore is anger which is normally due to frustration. Though he forgets what he is mad about, the emotion (the anger) seems to last for hours, even days. When asked why he's angry he says he isn't but he won't speak and has a scowl on his face. He was never angry in his healthy life and there is no hidden illness masquerading as anger.



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BillsLiz, this has to be hard for you, especially since your husband wasn't an angry person before the brain damage. As Pam said, anger and frustration often go with dementia. Some people can be helped by medication.

Your question about emotions lasting even when the reason for the anger is forgotten strikes me as insightful. I believe that is possible. The body remembers and can get in a pattern. Ask a doctor about this, too.

Please update us when you can. We are here so that you can share your story and we'll help in any way that we can.
Take care of yourself, too.
Carol
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Depending on the situation, sometimes it takes quite a long time to heal from an upsetting situation. Some situations can hurt someone worse that it may hurt others.

For instance, let's say you fall ill away from home. Now let's say someone who knows better steps out of line by denying you something you need normally use and leaves you sitting on the sideline. Let's say you happen to be alone in an unfamiliar area and don't know any phone numbers and furthermore you forgot your phone. People who should've known better were negligent in getting you what you needed, especially when you normally use those very helpful items when you have a certain condition. Negligence on the part of people who know better on my end up making the problem far worse, causing other physical repercussions for the patient. This can also cause emotional upset at a time the patient cannot handle it because they're already sick. This is an example of what kind of problem can cut real deep and take a long time to heal. Something like what I'm talking about happened to me and it took about two years or more to actually heal from the negligence of people who knew better. Retaliation against the patient definitely makes matters even worse yet. This example is just one among many other examples that cause long-term internal scars. Losing someone may often be another example, depending on how attached you were to the person you lost. It could be a parent, spouse, or dear friend. Sometimes a loss is something that a person may never fully recover from, especially if there's unfinished business between the two parties. Depending on what the unfinished business is will depend on how badly it impacts an already bad situation. You don't have to be mentally ill or have some kind of brain disease in order to be negatively impacted by a painful event, because painful events are very significant parts of our life that very often never should've happened. Loss is inevitable, but there are a number of other things that aren't supposed to happen that do anyway. Anyone at any life stage can be affected if the situation hurts bad enough and deep enough
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Zombie - you say "risperidone at a low dose. That's the main drug that took away my father's anger issues (temper tantrums, breaking dishes, screaming, cursing all before he went hypermanic and insane and was diagnosed as bipolar with schizophrenia at age 65). I looked it up and see it's used for dementia anger too but can increase death rates so it's about deciding if it's worth the improvement in quality of life."
Hubby is also taking Risperidone (0.25 mg lowest dose) but to help him stop the voices he was hearing in his head in the middle of the night. He gets frustrated and not really angry.
I'm beginning to see where there is individual differences yet sameness with dementia. Thank you all for being here.
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Anger and frustration are very common in dementia patients and can be medicated. You can't fix the problem, but you can treat the anxiety that goes with it.
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My father was angry and a little violent his entire life until the last few years after his third psychotic break. Now that he's medicated and has dementia, he has no emotions. He doesn't talk or do anything. Between his first and third breaks, he was on the same meds and was functional and still mean so it's not just the meds. Sometimes I wish he would scream, curse, and yell like the old days but certainly I don't want that. You were lucky to have a nice man until recently. You might see if a psychiatrist would give him some risperidone at a low dose. That's the main drug that took away my father's anger issues (temper tantrums, breaking dishes, screaming, cursing all before he went hypermanic and insane and was diagnosed as bipolar with schizophrenia at age 65). I looked it up and see it's used for dementia anger too but can increase death rates so it's about deciding if it's worth the improvement in quality of life. In my father's case, anything is better than being completely insane.
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Anger has made it pretty much impossible for anyone but paid companions and other paid staff to interact with my mom. She feels free to revel in it and unleash it on all family members, and she has nobody left willing to volunteer to listen to it and provide sympathy. Eventually, it exhausts all relationships so we hire new people. Its permanent now, she will never let go.
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For many of our elderly, living through the Great Depression was traumatic enough to create lasting changes in lifestyle. They will hoard food, save string, make rubberband balls and never ever throw anything away, not a bag or a box or clothes. They save coffee grounds and eggshells. Just in case.
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My friend's husband with Alzheimer's is angry a lot. She said it is when she does things for her that he thinks he can do himself. Also, it is when he thinks she is not doing things right -- the way he would do them. He has reached the paranoid stage right now, so little she is doing is right in his mind. He imagines she's doing things that she isn't, such as putting bleach in the water pitcher. His being angry so much is very difficult on her.
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Yes, I would suggest medication, maybe a mild anti anxiety to start. your doc can help you!
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Yes, .25 risperidone is worth giving for the improvement of the patient's life and for the improvement in the caregiver's life. So many caregivers die from the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or other form of dementia which cause this anger which is no longer connected to a cause other than frustration about one's illnes and incapacitation.
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