Psychosis after brain injury

Hi, my dad had a cardiac arrest six months ago now, and had cpr almost straight away but was out for 20 mins until his heart was restarted by ambulance. When in hospital, he was unresponsive for 10 days, and we were told in this time that with him being 59, and due to being out for so long, that if he did wake up that he would be in a vegetative state, and to prepare for worst.

When he did wake up, he couldn't breath for himself, or eat or drink for himself so still needed extra support for couple weeks. We eventually brought him home after two months, where at this stage he could walk( although still bit wobbly) talks great , (little slurry at times) dresses, shaves himself etc.

A couple of weeks after getting him home, he started experiencing psychosis, and due to him having a weak heart, there's only certain medications they can give him. Another couple months down the line, he is still confused, and suffers from short term memory problems but the psychosis has still not gone.

He is currently at a brain rehabilitation unit, and staff are struggling as he can get aggressive at times. We have been told that the psychosis has happened as part of the brain injury, and although not everyone experience it , my dad is one of the unlucky ones.

Does anybody have any advice or information at all of any relative that has been through this after hypoxic brain injury, as to what medications worked, or if they still experience the psychosis. And advice would be deeply appreciated, thank you

9 Replies

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  • I can't advise on medication or anything. But maybe not consuming foods that will overstimulate the brain and nervous system- gluten, sugar. Things like that. Make sure he gets vitamins that are good for the brain- B vitamins and the Omegas.

    I have to keep my stress levels down or I get psychotic episodes.

    There's also been some research into the healing properties of turmeric on the brain, also coconut oil.

    blog.brainhq.com/2011/01/18...

    What type of things does he experience- voices, visual hallucinations, paranoia?

    I'm not saying that this will cure the psychosis but just suggestions on how to eliminate things that might make it worse.

  • Hi, it's mainly delusional thoughts, paranoia. Good idea with the food , and will definitely look into the vitamins and turmeric, thank you for advice

  • I think hydration is really important too. I know that if I'm dehydrated it makes my confusion worse. So make sure he drinks enough- things like coconut water is very good, and also rice water. It's full of electrolytes and vitamins.

    onegreenplanet.org/natural-...

    Also, what about music? Maybe relaxing, or familiar music will help him?

    Also, magnesium supplements. Epsom Salt baths too- anything to replenish the magnesium supplies and help relax the nervous system.

  • Devaiur, the same thing happened to my next door neighbour when he suffered a heart attack in August last year. He and his wife have become 'family' over the past 30 years and I was shocked to hear he'd been sectioned whilst in hospital owing to his extreme distress and threatening behaviour.

    He is the mildest mannered man and we later learned that a hypoxic episode had caused him confusion, to the point where he thought he was being held in a local pub against his will, and just needed to get home to his wife.

    He was a very different man when he came home and remained angry and confused for a few months. But the other day he was pottering around outside and seemed altogether calmer and was actually smiling again.

    Of course the effects depend of the degree of damage caused by lack of oxygen, but there are people here who are leading relatively normal lives after surviving a hypoxic brain injury.

    Your dad might need many more months of therapy before reaching his equilibrium, and he'll probably be left with the classic after effects of fatigue and memory impairment, and emotional highs & lows like most of us here.

    I hope that with more time (much more) and neuro -therapy, you'll see more of the dad you know & love re-emerging ; it really is a lengthy healing process where the brain is concerned. Please keep us updated on your dad's progress.

    Best wishes, Cat x

  • Thanks very much for your reply. My dad still does have good days where he is not angry and aggressive, but I'm hoping the aggression will hopefully stop. Don't think he will ever fully recover but I am extremely happy and grateful for the recovery he has already made. Just hope aggression stops so he is easier to manage so after his last few weeks rehabilitation, we can take him home safely, and his poor brain could probably heal more if psychosis fades away I'm hoping. Feel sorry for him being confused and forgetful which must be frustrating, but to be experiencing psychosis on top of that must be hurrendous for him. Just want some peace for his poor brain. Thanks so much for advice, feel so much better already knowing we are not alone at this crazy emotional time . 😊

  • I'm not sure there is any connection, but I find the more fatigued I am, the more prone I am to having angry outbursts and awful nightmares. Rest and rest often is my ongoing motto. It works when I have the awareness that I need to rest. Wishing you success in getting this resolved.

  • Thanks so much x

  • Lily has some good tips. Diet has got some influence here. I notice that my mum is more confused and her short term memory is worse if she has eaten a lot of sugar. Tonight for example, she was convinced I had been working in the garden mending a fence when it was poring with rain and windy. I went out for the afternoon and told her I was going out. She even shut the door after me. When I came in, she said I had been in the garden. Then I noticed she had eaten 6 chocolate shortbread biscuits, 2 ginger snaps and a flapjack. Far too much sugar for one afternoon. I found the packages in a bag in the kitchen near the table!

    She said something very strange after eating 5 sugary biscuits last month in a short space of time.

    There is a nice cook book you can order online eg from Amazon. Tina M Sullivan, Nourish your Noggin. She mentions tumeric and other herbs. You can have dark chocolate, ie 70% cocoa and very nice fruit smoothies with almond milk or coconut milk. Cinnamon is also good.

  • Thanks very much for your reply 😊

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