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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Husband's bizzare mental behavior


 Seespotrun - Mon Oct 17, 2005 4:16 pm

70 year old man, 9 years post heart transplant, major traumatic episode 14 months ago in his life, has depression over health issues and this tramautic episode. also was diagnosed with severe vascular disease, has high blood pressure. 1) Several months ago I noticed at times while sitting in his chair in front of the TV or listening to a book on tape, he would become trance like- and doing head jerks side to side as if though he was looking for something or someone around the room, would talk outloud like he was talking to someone, slap one hand in to the other and carry on short conversations. He was not asleep, he seemed almost in a trance, then as suddenly as it would start, it would stop and he would mentally appear normal. this has happened off and on for the last 6-8 months. 2) Additionally about a month ago he seemed to have an episode of getting his brain wires crossed, he had a horse racing program with horses numbered 1-10 in the program. He was taking his nightly dose of pills and started questioning me on how to match up the pills to the numbers in the horse racing program. He seemed to be combining horse races with list of medications. this went on for at least 3-4 minutes, until i re-assured him that the horses had nothing to do with his medications, then he just seemed fine after that. I am trying to figure out what is going on with these trance like episodes he is mentally somewhere else. sorry this is so long!
 Angela Grunewald, RN - Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:23 pm

User avatar This must be very frustrating and confusing for you. Does your husband have any history of dementia? What kind of medications is he taking and are any of these new perscriptions? does he have trouble or burning with urination? All of these can cause some form of confusion. Please give me a little more information so we are able to asst you better. Thank you!
 Seespotrun - Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:01 am

He is under the regular care of heart doctors and also sees a psycologist twice a month. I am sure will be relaying my observations to them soon, but wanted to find out more before i speak with them. Yes, he is on all sorts of medications, from cyclosporin to aziothaprine to diltazem. still smokes too about a pack at day. no painful urination. Also forgot to mention that when he has these bizzare eposides where he looks around the room in a trance like state he also seems make a fist with his hand while moving his wrists downward. these episodes last from maybe 8-10 seconds up to 30 seconds or more. I have thought the onset of dementia - his mother was diagnosed with dementia, and she had small stokes starting in her 60's. no known strokes with my husband but would not be surprised if he had one with all the smoking and vascular disease. i have thought maybe mini-strokes. in the last year he also seems to forget simple things that he knew all his life and mixes up the names of baseball players that are very familar to him. Any light you can shed on what might be the beginning signs of dementia (if you think it is that) or what else might be happening is very much appreciated. thank you!
 Angela Grunewald, RN - Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:25 am

User avatar It is very hard to assess your husband based on signs and symptoms alone,however what you are describing sounds like the classic symproms of dementia/alzheimers. Many things come into play when "diagnosing" someone with dementia. The following are some signs of dementia, however are not limited to only these signs.
memory loss,difficulty performing simple tasks,behavioral changes,time and place disorientation,misplacing things,poor judgement,personality changes.
I would say the most prominent would be the memory loss and behavioral changes. Of course,his age does indeed play a factor in the "diagnosis" as well. NOW........I want to be clear that there are no NEW medications he is taking and may have started within the past week. He can be on a slew of medications,the only ones I would be concerned about are ones he has just started...process of elimination and I want to make sure we are not dealing with confusion related to medication changes or urinary tract infection. It is possible that he is having TIAs...(mini strokes)..however I do not believe we would see these strong of changes with TIAs, I believe this is more dementia.Good luck to you, and please keep me updated.
 Seespotrun - Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:11 am

My husband has not started any new medications and there are no urninary tract infections. I read about some different kinds of demntia last night: Frontotemporal (spelling?)dementia, Pick's disease, and vascular dementia. He does seem to display some symptoms of each one of those diseases, (changes in behavior, some bizzare sexual behavior, poor hygiene, memeory loss, forgeting where he puts things) but none of the symptoms he displays are so strong that it's a for sure thing he has dementia. He would need a complete exam and diagnosis to determine what is going on. My best guess is that he is probably in some sort of beginning stages of dementia. At times he is extremely sharp minded, can remember things from years and years ago, but not recent things (another sign of aging I am sure!) I appreciated your help in responding to my questions. Thank you very much for your time!

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