My Mom (85) is mentally ill has a fear of dying but in perfect physical health. Any advice?

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She refuses to take meds -Lexapro-prescribed by a psychiatrist, refuses to increase the Xanax she has been on for over 20 yrs.Takes only 1/4 tablet 2 times a day, refuses to take generic Xanax. Has increasing panic episodes, claims she is dying. Digs fingernails into hands to prove to herself she is alive. Gone so far as to run downstairs from her upstairs apt. running down sidewalk screaming she is dying! Takes no meds for any health problem .Prior to that she would get in car in middle of night & drive to daughters house insist on staying all night & most of the day. We have tried to get her on Medicaid to allow us to have her go live in an assisted living facility in north Texas. Been turned down once, but intend to keep on trying. She is OCD-has had 2 previous breakdowns in 60's & 70's. Always been "nervous" has had many phobias, under Dr. care back in 1990's but quit treatment, refused to take med-ordered by DR.s-she went from one Dr. after another and when more med or a different was suggested she just refused to go back or to take the med. Why she finally decided to take Xanax is a mystery, but this small dose has done nothing in all these years & would not expect it to. Her condition has gotten worse every year and now it is out of hand. She demands that she only feels safe with one daughter-who has to work--she calls & talks 2 to 3 hrs at a time other kids, or sister. We are out of options.-driving all of us crazy.She has eliminated all people who might want to socialize with her--even gone so far as to change her phone number. Then bemoans the fact she has no friends. She even says she doesn't want to hear her sister talk about the stress she is under in caring for her elderly husband.Has no empathy or sympathy for anyone but herself, has been married 4 times, divorced & widowed. Has no money lives on social security, lives in a rent subsidized apartment. We children help out &,have provided her with car & paid car insurance since she retired in 1980's. never thought to save for retirement.I've been paying her life insurance for over 25 yrs.she kept borrowing from plan finally it changed where she couldn't do that. She has lost nearly all her teeth, refuses dental surgery to cut out roots left. Refuses to get dentures.Only able to eat liquid or soft food.Has lost weight.Has no relationship with grandchildren or great grandchildren. Has refused opportunity to live anywhere but where she lives now. I think she needs to be in a mental facility to get her right med & counseling so she will take med. Stays up all night-then sleeps little during day, afraid to go to sleep/die alone. Out of options? next step?

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Sorry, I hit return before I was done. Why are you letting a crazy woman drive a car? If you keep letting her drive it you better be sure it is not in your name.
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For God's sake, take the car away from her before she kills someone. Don't worry if she doesn't like it. DO IT NOW!!!
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I agree with Ferris. ACT NOW!
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Call 911 and let them take her for psychiatric evaluation. We had to refuse to keep running over every time mom panicked. We sent the paramedics instead and let them handle her. Don't go to the ER either, she will put on a big show. Let the professionals handle the crisis.
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Your mother cannot be controlled and therefore it seems that she should be hospitalized. Running outside screaming she is dying is NOT normal behavior.
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When she is a danger to herself, she must be hospitalized. Talk with the psychiatrist and tell him/her what she has been doing. Get her help NOW!
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To find information, you can Google "Texas involuntary commitment process."
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You can have her Baker acted and evaluated. Her behavior sounds very out of control and dangerous.
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There is great information on this thread. I learned something about one of my family members here. I knew that one of my loved ones (not my cousin with dementia) was very anxious and seemed to always say she could not take meds. They make her feel funny. I wondered about it since, she can take some meds. It's like she doesn't want to let go of the anxiety and depression. I've decided that I'm going to call her doctor and tell him about this medication fear, though he probably already knows. Now, I have to decide how to convince her that it's not the med causing her problems, but her condition.
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Mother, your mother seems to be a bundle of fears. Fear of medication and fear of death or going death are very common themes in anxiety and panic disorders. Your mother has something that can help her -- the antidepressant and Xanax -- on hand, but she is afraid of them. People with anxiety disorders can feel that medications affect them different and more strongly than they do other people. So they can be afraid to take them.

Has she been alone when she began taking the medications? The antidepressants can be rather spooky the first day or two. Maybe she would began taking them if someone were with her for the first few days to assure her the drugs are going to kill her or make her lose her mind.

It can be so sad to read that someone has gotten to such a late stage of life without dealing with a problem that kept them from living. But that doesn't mean the next few years can't be better if she can get the anxiety level down. Your mother sounds so much like my parents in having allowed anxiety (and autism) to isolate them from the world. It would be okay if she didn't want to mingle with society, but it would be wonderful if she could feel comfortable in her own skin. I have a feeling medication and behavioral therapy is the best way to go.
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