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My mom is 58 y/o and lately has been argumentative, suspicious, aggressive, emotional, controlling, cursing etc. It has been hell for me. She was really sick in the past and we all live together ( mom,dad, brother and me ). She has RA and is on prednisone for about 5 years. It's a small dosage ( 5mg) and leave her pretty agitated, but on 4 mg she get pretty stiff. Looking on the past, she always had those symptoms, even before the RA, but lately they are getting worse. She's always trying to get in an argument, cause she wants to win, kind of a childish behavior, one time I stand up to her, she got physical on me. Now I have to keep calm and just leave the room, to not let things get worse. Aside of the physical and cursing part, she kind of always was like that, but things are getting out of control. I've trying to get help from my dad and brother, but they don't fully understand the situation, and sometimes loose temper. Rheumatologist Dr. is trying to lower prednisone dosage, to see if it is a side effect or early dementia. She will not be back to her neurologist, cause on last appt she notice that dr. was suspecting of mental illness and she left the office. Those more aggressive and non sense behavior started about 5 months ago. I am getting crazy, cause I have no idea what to do. We ve always been close, I dedicated my life to being close to her, but now I think I was induced to that, cause I can see her manipulative behavior. I always thought we were best friends, and my brother acted the same way. We were pretty close and now I notice that destroyed my life. I'm trying not to be hopeless, and thinking about seeking help for me, to be able to deal with that. We came from another country, we got no family here.To make things worse, we all work together, and it's being impossible work with her. I got a younger brother back home, who is more capable of understand what I'm going through, but the geography doesn't help at all. I really don't know how to deal with that, i got a fertility issue ( seeing a dr. )and she's throwing my fertility issue on my face every time that she gets upset, and that has been happening pretty constantly. She goes all the way to hurt me. I'm hurt, but I know she's not like that by option, but I still don't know how to deal with that. Should I get psychological help for me? I don't have anyone close to talk, and I want to keep my mind health, I'm afraid of not being able to deal with that, and have mental issues myself.Has anyone have / had similar problems? If it's early dementia, should I think Alzheimers? Any inputs would be appreciated. Sorry for any misspelling, English is not my first language. Thank you.

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I'm very thankful for all the answers. They all make perfect sense. I've thought about UTI, but she refuses to do a test, saying she's fine. I'm giving her some time to forget about that, and try to get her tested in the future. I forgot to pinpoint that she takes a combination of prednisone, sulfasalazin and methotrexate injection, among other meds for diferents health issues. Her bad behavior started back in April, and about 3 weeks ago, she got all sweet again, since then its been going on and off, and each behavior lasts about a week. Sounds really strange to me, but that's how she's been acting, from devil to angel. Now my mind is more open, and I understand that could came from anything, including psychological issues, but the prednisone has to go, that's for sure. Just trying to convincing her.... Also, I'll start taking better care of myself ( I don't even know how I ended up in that situation ). Again, I'm very thankful for all the support I got here, you ladies are fantastic, got me a boost of hope and faith all over again. May you all be blessed....Many thanks!!!!
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I took prednisone off and on for 15 yrs for RA, never had a problem, took it for 8yrs low dose maintenance up til 3yrs ago when I started with the most awful depression, rage, exhaustion that I thought I was going crazy, went to Counseling for a yr, still raging, sobbing uncontrollably, felt like crap, my physician insisted I see a psychiatrist. I was in her office for 5 minutes telling her how I felt, she looked at me and said "how long have you been taking prednisone?" Slowly weaned off it and the symptoms went away. Horrible horrible feeling!
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You say your are from another country - try to get a dr who speaks your mother's native language if possible because there are inflections that can't be translated - at least get one for yourself
You also say you have fertility issues - the stress you are under most likely can be a direct cause & removal to another home will help - I assume you are married & husband lives with family too otherwise where is the issue? - so even more reason to get your own place & maybe a different jobs too
That drug is built up in her system to point she is being affected mentally - you are the other female in home so she is turning on you not dad or brother - once you leave she'll turn on one of them unless she gets off of it
Good luck
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Just remember that pain goes along with Depression and being Argumentative may mask the pain and hopelessness she feels. At her age, no dementia symptoms may be. I agree with jkimiatek.
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Have her urine tested for a UTI- these are all symptoms of an infection
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I've had RA since I was 40 and been on prednisone many times over the past 26 years. I've never had behavioral side effects from any of the doses - short term bursts or long term low dosages. (Lucky compared to some others posting here). I do know that I start getting more irritable and short tempered if I'm having more pain, and once that is under control along with the inflammation that causes it, I'm back to being my even tempered self. Perhaps she's having a flare, or her RA treatment is not working and needs evaluation. Just another viewpoint from one with chronic pain. That said, definitely find help for yourself to be able to protect yourself and deal with her outbursts and anger.
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Prednisone makes me moody, bitchy, sad, mean, and crazy. If I'm not sad and crying, I'm yelling.
I quit taking them.
They are the devils drug! LOL
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Agree with others. Talk to the physician or send him a letter with your observations and concerns about mom's behavior -- this is the best way to let the doctor know what is going on. Suggest that mom needs a different med and request that he prescribe something different. If he refuses, see another dr for a new opinion.

I recently witnessed a friend (70 yrs old) very mentally with it and she was taking prednisone for 2 weeks and she became a wreck -- not sleeping, manic, making crazy decisions -- so yes; I think prednisone does affect some people negatively.

Is there anyway you can move out into an apt by yourself or with a roomate? Possibly with your brother? Could you afford a place on your own? Sounds like you are in an unhealthy environment living and working with family all the time. That is stressful on anyone so if you can make a move somewhere else that would be best.

If not, set some boundaries and go to a coffee shop, McD, Starbucks or other to get some space from mom and family. If she is most awful in mornings or evenings, make those the times where you go to library, YMCA, coffee shop or a friends house to hang out and get some peace and "alone-time". Make sure you surround yourself by good friends. Don't let mom suck the life out of you.
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Prednisone is a nasty drug. Just this week I saw a woman in Scripps clinic (La Jolla) with severe RA and she said the dr. had just given her injections in the finger joints. If a lubricant like hyaluronic acid can relieve the pain (I get them in my one knee), then try to switch. I also recently had wrist surgery and was having nerve pain & numbness so the dr. gave me a low dose of prednisone. Within 3 days, I was crying almost non-stop so I know one of the side-effects is mood and mental changes. I stopped the drug, and all crying stopped. If she has been taking prednisone for 5 yrs. it is time to have a med holiday. Her body is trying to tell everyone that it is affecting her personality. Either stop it or get another dr. to try something else. At 58 yrs. she can have a better life and early onset dementia is pretty rare compared to late onset. And yes, it would be helpful for you to talk with a professional therapist to deal with your issues and help you cope. Best wishes!
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Hello Riogirl. I agree with micalost. That you would very likely benefit from getting some help yourself, as you are in a very difficult situation, that sounds abusive to me. Having that support and advice would be a big help. I also agree that there are so many other drugs that can be your mom could take for RA ( I have it also) other than prednisone. I've only talken pred for infrequent exacebations, and only for a short time. Likely given the chance, a doctor might have ordered them. As for the cause of your Mom's behavior, it could easily be either the pred. or Alzheimer's or some verion of both. Some studies are showing that higher levels of inflamation in the body are related to increased Alzheimers. So the RA itself might be part of the cause of that. But also, too much steroid is known to cause increased anger/rages. If Your mother won't go back to the doctor, she won't be getting her perscriptons refilled, which (while a long term problem) means she may likely run out of her Prednisone eventually. Which might seem like a good thing, in that it would force her to go back to the doctor. But while a less amount of Pred. might be a good thing, a sudden stoppage of any steroid drug can be extremely dangerous. But to be honest, just IMHO, your mom's behavior doesn't sound like the intermittent rages caused by a drug. It sounds more like a psychological problem on her part, unrelated to the pred. since, as you say she has exhibited this behavior long term. The fact that it's getting worse, can still be part of whatever psychological problem she has, not necessarily fom Alzheimer's. .....I once had a psychology professor who stated that (as part of typical human developement ) people tend to become "more" of whatever they've always been. (selfish get more selfish, pious get more pious, stingy get more stingy, etc.) So it's possible that's the case. No matter the cause, you are extremely unlikely to alter the any part of her behavior. Which leads back to the idea of getting help for yourself, so you can learn how to deal with the life you have.
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Having RA myself, Pred. doesnt seem like the best med for her- there are many others that treat the immune response which is the cause.
I looked up RA and dementia and found they are studying the correlation between them =
"The presence of joint disorders, especially RA, at midlife seems to be associated with a worse cognitive status later in life. Given the chronic inflammatory component of RA, this study suggests that inflammatory mechanisms may have an important role in increasing the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia/AD."
As far as you- yes, it always helps to speak to someone who can give you the tools to heal from a difficult childhood.
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