Elderly Mother suffering from severe anxiety & depression
My Mum is 80 years old and suffering badly from anxiety & depression. This particular bout has been going on for nearly a year and it's been a very difficult time for her and the rest of the family. My Mum despite her age is in pretty good physical shape for a lady of her age but she's a terrible worrier and constantly thinks she has some serious health problems, her main concern for years has been lung cancer. There is nothing whatsoever to indicate there's anything wrong with her. She's been a smoker for over 65 years and there's no way she's likely to stop now because of her stress levels. She currently attends a day centre once a week for the elderly & people with the same problems. She's a widow and has lived alone for 12 years. She has very few hobbies and I think this is one of the main problems. She's currently taking: Risperdal (1 mg morning and night), Diazepam (2mg morning & night), Amitriptyline (3 nightly).
She complains that her head is constantly feeling scrambled and it's causing her a lot of distress. She finds it hard to describe the sensation but it's not a headache. She's just had her eyes tested and nothing abnormal was found. We're convinced it's her medication. Has anyone else suffered from this particular problem?. Her doctors don't seem very concerned by it but it's making her even more stressed out. Can anyone advise? many thanks in advance.
No advice here but your story is similar to mime. Our mother is 84 years and also suffers from severe GAD. She does not live alone as my father is still well. She is taking a low dose of Oxazepam at night, a low dose of Risperdal at night and also two low doses of Effexor XR - one in the morning and one in the evening. Our mother worries over everything and frankly, it is literally killing her. Her doctor does not know what to do and my parents do not believe in psychiatry as a valid medical option. So, little by little my mother's physical health is deteriorating - she now is agoraphobic and I see no relief for her (or us) in the future. Any advice here?
Really sorry to hear that your Mum and the rest of the family are in a very similiar situation. It's terrible to see someone you love suffer like this. My Mum has always been a very negative type of person but it's a 100% worse these days. It's probably the same with your Mum but mine worries over the most ridiculus things and she gets her self worked up and even more anxious and then she starts trembling. I live close by to her and she her at least 3 times a week plus we speak many times a day on the phone.
These drugs seem to have turned her into a stranger, her concentration is awful and she seems spaced out half the time the other half she's constantly telling me how awful she feels. She's also lost her confidence going out on her own but she did make the effort the other day but she shook like a leaf the whole time. I know she has no control over this awful illness but do find it very draining as I'm not in the best of health myself. My sister lives over 300 miles away so the day to day problems and care fall on me and my husband. It's a great pity your parents have no faith in psychiatry because it really might benefit your Mum and anything is worth trying in this terrible situation. My thoughts are with you because I can understand fully what you're going through. It must be very difficult for your father and for the rest of you. Do hope there is some hope at the end of this very long tunnel for everyone in the same situation.
Your story is so similar to mine. In our case, Mother has been suffering from untreated GAD for her entire life. Because she was always physically well (and lived a very quiet rural life), she was able to cope with her anxiety. When she became ill (three major operations in as many years), she mentally was unable to cope. This extreme anxiety has been going on for almost three years and it only get worse. We have done everything we have thought of; and frankly, we have begun to "retreat" from her demands. My sister and I both have husbands and families and other obligations - my mother wants ALL of our attention and that can not be. If our husband were more demanding, we would have had to "retreat" much sooner. As for Dad - he has negated all of our suggestions for help so, he has chosen his "lot in life"; albeit a very lonely one. One can only help those who help themselves - as Dr. Phil says, "when you choose the behaviours, you also choose the consequences".
My mother, too, is very negative - it's her sister, or MIL (who's been dead for almost 50 years), or a lady at church, or the neighbour, etc. who are the causes of her ills. She has never taken responsibility for any of her actions - always the victim. If I may, I might suggest you "take a break" from your mother - is there an agency who could be hired to "look in on your mother" for certain days, or have your husband deal with her on one or two days during the week, or seek advice from her doctor or ask for a referral. Sometimes, we have to care for ourselves, too. I wish you the best ....
I really appreciate your suggestions. It sounds like you're having a very difficult time with your Mum and you can fully relate to my situation. It's a little hard trying to step away from my Mum. My husband and I don't have any children (neither does my younger sister). My husband and I retired early and don't have the luxury of work to escape to.
I've always been very close to my Mum and it's a little scary because we're very much alike is so many respects. Our Mums differ because my Mum doesn't put her problems down to anyone else. She's always been a very lively, outward going person and I do think getting old is something very hard she finds to accept. Nobody relishes the thought of old age but I get very frustrated because she can't accept her aches and pains are part of the ageing process and not a terminal illness. My sister is in the medical profession and she doesn't believe her symptons relate to anything very serious. We seem to go round in circles on a daily basis. Today has been very bad and I just ended up going for a long walk with the dog to escape for a while. She has good friends and neighbours but at the moment she's finding it hard talking to anyone and it so lacking in any motivation. I feel that I'm continually trying to motivate her. My sister is very good and came up for 5 days to take some pressure of me. She knows she's dwelling on her health problems but she doesn't seem able to break the circle. We've been going through these same health problems for over 5 years and she's still here with us and looking pretty good & healthy for someone on their last legs. I know she's scared stiff of dying and the way she goes but deep down most people have the same fears. Thank you so much for listening especially when you have your own awful problems. Lets hope both our situations improve but I'm not too hopeful. Take good care.
I too have an elderly Mum she had a stroke when she was forty years old she is now seventy four. I could write pages on all the problems but what I really wanted to suggest is as far as anxiety/deapression goes - has your Mum tried using a 'Sun light' lamp.
It is for the treatment of S.A.D [seasonal depression/anxiety] My Mum has had anxiety/depression since her stroke, which left her paralysed on the right side and also affected her speech and ability to read and write, so although she is on constant medication for depression etc; she does find that her lamp helps her mood to lift a little especially once winter starts approaching. I can sympathise with anyone in this type of situation, I know how unbelieveably stressful it can be. I am very close to my Mum and almost constantly worried about her. Its only natural though when you love someone. Best Wishes.
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