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My Mother-in-law has extreme OCD
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My Mother-in-law has extreme OCD

My mother-in-law has social anxiety and OCD - she is 75 years old and is driving her family and her husband crazy. She can't sit still - mostly paces and wrings her hands saying "I'm worried, I'm worried," and "what am I going to do?" she doesn't leave the house (she has agoraphobia too), wears the same clothes every day, OCD about cleanliness and things being in a particular order, she won't allow her husband to have salads because she says it's too much mess to clean up. To make this worse she had back surgery several years ago and hasn't been the same since, can't lift her arms (her rotator cuffs are messed up) and she has Celiac Sprue and has to have gluten free/wheat free foods. My father-in-law is 77 years old and was hospitalized for breathing difficulty and has Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Disease and came home 6 weeks ago. He won't go back to the doctor for fear they will hospitalize him again. He worries about who is going to take care of his wife. His wife is stressing him out and driving him crazy as they are now both "housebound." My husband and I go over once a week to help with groceries, and I am seeing a lot of neglect in the housework and worry that neither one of them are eating properly. She won't let me or my husband help with the housework, and she fusses about each and every grocery item we get for them. I spoke with her primary physician yesterday and he said it's the worst case of social anxiety he's ever seen. My father-in-law says he wants to move to assisted living, which is good, but I worry that she won't let the caretakers come in and help. She is adamant about not wanting anyone to do anything for her. I also worry that putting them in assisted living will just make it worse on my father-in-law as he will be placed in an even smaller space with this woman who just paces and wrings her hands in front of him. He wouldn't be able to escape it like he can now in their three bedroom home. I have suggested to my husband that she get a psychiatric evaluation, but he says she won't go for that and neither will his father. I think his father feels guilty about her and that he feels he has no option left but to deal with it. He may not have long to live (1-2 years tops) and I hate to see him having to live his last months in this intolerable situation.  What can we do?
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Make a list of all of her symptoms and hopefully the doctor will know the best medication for her.  Good luck and maybe once she starts to feel better, she will be more amenable to therapy.  Therapy for this usually consists of learning cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.  They require that you practice them.  So just keep this in mind.  She is older and I'm not sure if she will be capable of following through.  It may just have to be meds but of course you know her better than I do.  Good luck.  
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Nowadays primary physicians prescribe medications for OCD and anxiety as well.  Mine come from my primary doc.  In all honesty, my father in law is taking Lexapro and probably doesn't even know why.  I'm sure she has a pill regimen.  Why not talk to the doctor and the doctor can explain to her that this medication, whatever they prescribe, is going to make her worry less and go from there.  If she balks...use the "what's one more pill mom"  especially if it will make you feel better.  I'm not advocating lying to her but sometimes you have to bend the truth for their own good because it does come down almost to like having a child again.  
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Thank you for your advice - I have a call in to her primary physician - I am going to try to get her on BuSpar if the doctor says she can or some med that will help. I want her to get into some therapy too. Thanks again for your response and I wish you all the best.
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1699033_tn?1405352675
Make a list of all of her symptoms and hopefully the doctor will know the best medication for her.  Good luck and maybe once she starts to feel better, she will be more amenable to therapy.  Therapy for this usually consists of learning cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.  They require that you practice them.  So just keep this in mind.  She is older and I'm not sure if she will be capable of following through.  It may just have to be meds but of course you know her better than I do.  Good luck.  
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