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My mom rarely gets off the couch. In December she got confused over her medication and took too much. Since then my dad has been pre-making the medication and putting them in baggies and handing them to her when the med is due. She continually states that he did not give it to her and she hasn't had it for days. It seems that the only medication she is really worried about is the Xanax. Is this a drug addiction or a fixation? We are lost as to what to do to get through this. She is very hateful, she can't even name her other medications or what time she is supposed to take them. She asks the same questions over and over again. She states she is a grown woman and can take her medication when it is due. But she really can't. Do you have any suggestions?

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I don't think there's a way to keep your mom from wanting to argue about meds. I think it's a matter of being in charge so she doesn't overdose and staying patient regardless of her protests. She thinks she's right and no amount of convincing is likely to change her mind, since her brain is not functioning right.

I wouldn't worry about addiction either, except that the meds she's talking are for anxiety. They may lose their ability to keep her anxiety down over time. She may still have the ability to crave that relief from those pills. I would strongly encourage you to explore options of other anti-anxiety meds that work differently than the Xanax/Ativan meds. There are some that affect the brain in a different way and offer a more even, long acting effect. Ativan was not effective for my loved one, but Cymbalta was. I would discuss the options with her doctor.
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Irishsprit, I was thinking and typing just as Veronica posted. I don't recall all the details, but I have also seen locking pillboxes. That might be an option.

Instead of a cell phone how about a pretty calendar, one with flowers, gardens, animals? She could consult that instead of a cell phone, which isn't as easy to use and handle.

If she's living at home, you could assist her by marking them off on her med list whenever she takes her meds. Make it a mother-daughter "Hallmark moment" when you take time out to just sit down and she takes her meds.

Put some of her favorite music on, have some tea or just plain water or something afterward, and turn what could be an unpleasant and challenging medicine administration task into a mother-daughter time for both of you to cherish.
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I did notice in one of the pharmacies a locking pill box that automatically opened the correct slot when the medication was due. That way no chance of taking extra.
I ALSO AGREE WITH JEANNIE NOT TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT ADDICTION IN THE ELDERLY IF THEY REALLY NEED THE MEDICATION BUT NO EXCEEDING THE STATED DOSE AND STRONGLY DISCOURAGE any Dr from increasing the doseage when you feel your loved one is abusing. Did not mean to capitalize just hit the wrong button. The need for increases in pain medication is complicated because they do become less effective and pain does often increase rapidly at the end of life. The objective is to keep the patient as comfortable as possible and many factors can make that very difficult so be guided by your professional help and your own observations. Encouraging addiction is never right so if you are caring for a loved on with a painful condition it is important to learn as much as possible about the non verbal signs of pain as well as listening to your patient
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Mom is now having trouble with her medication also. I had bought her a pill organizer with each day of the week. This worked well at first (as long as she could consult her cell phone for what day it was). She loved organizing the pills into the sections, but often never took them, or skipped a day. What worries me is she may take too many at once. So my next step is to call her doctor for advice. I empathize with your case...relatives are not trained like professionals, and are constantly blindsided with each new development.
It sounds like you and your husband are doing a great job considering the situation.
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Perhaps make a big chart with the name of each med taken at breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime, and every time she takes one pill have her (specifically her) cross it or check it off? Your father could keep the colored pens to use for check-off so your mother doesn't accidentally check off meds not taken.
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i think your father is doing the right thing in handling her medications. Keep the medications locked up to prevent her from helping herself to them.
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Xanax is EXTREMELY addictive. Mother was up to 7 pills a day, and hallucinating (or having bad dreams) as she insisted. She wanted more and doc gave them to her until I told him what she was doing. Was switched to Ativan (Lorazepam) and asap increased the dosage. She tried over and over again to refill the script the 2nd week of the month's script of 30 pills. I cannot understand why doc's allow their patients to use these drugs? She also abused any pain pills she could get her hands on.
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When my Mom's memory started getting really bad we arranged with the pharmacy to have her medicine put in blister paks. They organize it really good with the exact times, doses etc. Once you've pushed it out of the pak for that date you know for sure. Of course you have to remember to do it but at least you can see what has been taken.

Xanax is very addictive according to what I've read about it. Ativan is similar but not as strong.
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I forgot to add that it sounds like your father is doing everything right. Don't let her bully you guys into giving her more medicines. She sounds like she has a strong personality. I know how that is, since I live with the same thing here.
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I had this problem with my mother. It took a couple of drug overdose crises for her to finally let me handle her medicine. I do pretty much the same thing as your father does. The pillboxes wouldn't work for her. As long as you know the meds were there, you'll know she had them.

Now, about the Xanax. It is a sedative that has antidepressant properties, as well. People who are prone to addiction can get addicted to it. If your mother is not having something like panic disorder or agoraphobia, then Xanax may not be the best drug for her. Talk to her doctor about switching to Ativan. This may help with her drug craving.

Is there a way to cut back on her benzodiazepine (e.g. Xanax) use? It seems that if she is just sitting around being grouchy that she shouldn't need so much. Maybe you can see if you can get by with reducing the frequency of the pills. It sounds like your mother has memory loss. The Xanax can also cause memory loss. Cutting back as much as possible may help her some. (Don't stop all at once, though, since it can cause withdrawal.)

BTW, how old is your mother? If she is older, I wouldn't worry so much about addiction, but I would worry about a drug that adds to her memory loss.
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You could get a big, bright wall calendar and a packet of stickers, label the calendar "Meds Chart" and then when she takes her medication *she* puts a sticker on that day, one for each lot of tablets. For God's sake don't leave the stickers where she can find them though or there'll be chaos.

I expect she will still find things to argue about, I'm afraid. But it's just possible that if she has done this with her own fair hand, and you can say to her "look, mother, there's the sticker :) to remind you you have taken your 2 o' clocks" or whatever, she may get some reassurance about this one issue.
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The only suggestion I can think of off hand is if your dad puts the medicine in a weekly medicine container showing the days of the week and lets her see that she is taking the proper medicine for the day and time of day. With dementia, even that may not work because their brain no longer works properly. I'm not familiar with Xanax, if it's addictive or not, but I would discuss this issue with her doctor to see if she needs to have a smaller dosage or even substitute something else. The anger issue is probably due to her dementia as well, if it wasn't this it would likely be something else. Sorry about your mom.
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