My 86 year old mother moves from one ailment to another, and nothing is wrong with her.

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My mom is relatively healthy and lives alone. She has lots of lady friends and they meet weekly to play cards. We see her about 3 times a week and we live close. We take her to run her errands, although she can still drive.

Over the last year, we have noticed that Mom has increased anxiety about physical ailments. She says her hip hurts, we take her to the doc and there is nothing wrong. Two months ago, she was CONVINCED she had ovarian cancer because she had a sharp pain in her side (the pain went away after a minute, by the way). A trip to the specialist showed NOTHING. Last month she was convinced she had vericose veins. Took her to a specialist, and no she does not. Nothing wrong.

I've tried to talk with her about her fears, and she says she can't help it, her mind just spins out of control. Oh, and she watches Dr. Oz faithfully, and that doesn't help. No offense to Dr. Oz, but my Mom imagines she has every condition he showcases on his show.

Every doc appointment she has is met with jubilation! She talks of nothing for weeks. Then, she is so impatient when she doesn't get a call back.
My Mom used to be the one that wanted to know everything about what you were doing, and truly cared about helping. Two months ago my daughter (her granddaughter) was very ill, and my Mom barely acknowledged it. Couldn't stay focused on it and went right back to her imaginary cancer.

I know that she would most likely benefit from an anti-anxiety drug, but she will get so offended if I suggest it. Can I go with her to her primary care doc and ask that she be put on one?

Thanks in advance everyone!

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All of these comments are very helpful. And Jessie, you and are in the same boat! I will update you all on her progress. Thanks again.
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Sometimes the early signs of impairment (dementia) aren't memory problems but can be anger, paranoia, even becoming ego centric, which is what this sounds like. It contributes to the person being oriented to themselves and a fundamental loss of the ability to sympathize or empathize with another person or situation. In the early stages of dementia, a person is where that he's not quite right and that produces agitation and anxiety. An effective and non-addictive anxiolitic is Buspar (generic buspirone). Maybe ask the doctor about trying it on her.
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Your Mom is 86. Doctors are not know-it-alls. My elderly mom's health issues went undiagnosed for several months - until one smart doctor referred her to an oncologist who diagnosed her with lung and brain cancer. She survived.
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Jessie Belle -- I agree -- I know from myself even that the OCD re: health and "intern's disease" (AKA hypochondria) is all a part of trying to control what can no longer be controlled (the aging process -- in rapid decline, especially)!
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cynjorg, I so know what you mean. My mother is a first order hypochondriac. She drives me crazy with all her ailments. Her only real problems are a bad back, diabetes, and cognitive decline. She hates it when she goes to the doctor and they tell her nothing is wrong. I don't know if she worries about her health as much as she relishes in the idea that something is wrong with her. The problem is that since she cries wolf so much, no one pays much attention to her anymore.

We have spent so much time at the doctors tending to imaginary illnesses in the past four years that I dread the thought of another doctor visit. I think she gets gratification in the idea of being ill. It is sad that she uses as a weapon against me. She has gotten into this thing lately of talking about how I better get ready for her to die, because she'll probably die that night, and if not then it won't be much longer. Another benefit she gets from imaginary illnesses is that no one expects her to do anything. Sick people can't visit, go places, do housework exercise, etc. If there is something she wants to do, though, she gets well so fast.

I've recently wondered if the hypochrondria and obsession with health is caused by a fear of aging and death. I don't have any real "proof" of this, but some things that I've seen make me wonder if obsession and worrying is trying to control what is happening to them. If a doctor can just fix them, then they won't die. I don't know -- it's just something I've wondered.
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Call her primary care doc prior to the appointment and tell him/her what you've stated here. Then let them take care of it.
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