I have an elderly friend who cannot g... - Mental Health Sup...

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I have an elderly friend who cannot get a diagnosis . Ideas welcome please


My 70 year old friend has been suffering from unexplained episodes of severe agitation where he fixates on something . His whole personality changes and he becomes physically and verbally aggressive. In between these episodes he is totally lucid although he talks quickly and excitedly.

An example is the other day he went for a walk with a walking club and us . It began to rain heavily . He got very agitated . He wouldn't move and just kept trying to rub off the rain saying he wanted to be clean . He was shouting at his wife abusively. As if blaming her for the rain . Though it might have been for bringing her out in it . When the episode was over he was telling me all about his life and appeared lucid again . He thanked me during the episode for my help but also seemed in a trance .

My friend has had mri scans of the brain . No cause found . Dementia has been ruled out .

I thought very late onset schizophrenia. I have no psychiatric training but have cared for people with schizophrenia. And I joined the dots from there . I wondered if anyone had any ideas what this could be please . His family are at the end of their tether

6 Replies

Hi, although the scans have ruled out any form of dementia, it does very much sound like a dementia (again not a medically trained person but spent the last 5 years of my working life dealing with those who had dementia). The only way to know for certain would be for a referral to a psychiatrist, but in the mean time it would be a good idea for his wife to keep a diary of these episodes as it would be very useful for the medical teams to have a history. Good luck to the family, they have a very good friend in you and for that they are blessed x

in reply to Missy_D

Thank you so much for your reply . Can I ask am I right in saying that there does not have to be changes on a ct scan to diagnose dementia . That they go on a history and other mental test scores like acer or something. I used to work in dementia too . But not a doctor either. Thank you for reaching out to help

in reply to poppppy

I think that is correct. My mother in law had Alzheimer's and I remember her getting a diagnosis before they finally did a CT scan (and I think the first one was inconclusive anyway).

We got my father in law to keep a diary and we would also perform "memory tests" and note how well she did / did not do. All this was of a great help to the GP when he did refer her to the consultants at our local hospital, and to the consultants themselves. With the memory games we used to do "items on a tray" "whose birthday is it" (using family and friends) and we would suddenly ask her "what's so and so address". These are all very similar to the memory tests that GP's will initially perform if there is suspicion of a form of dementia so they are a good place to start.

Sadly aggression and "abusive" behaviour can be an indicator of so many different illnesses, it is going to be a question of elimination. I suggest that the wife goes back to the GP with her husband and tells them about this latest episode and doesn't take no for an answer.

Again good luck to the family, they have a very good friend in you and for that they are blessed x

in reply to Missy_D

thank you again . You are very kind

Hello Welcome.

Not every diagnosis is linked to dementia, although this sounds like He is getting flustered and that will cause the interlude in which you describe.

I am basically the same age and have a congenital Short Term Memory Disorder, I had all the test and I was also assessed by The Aged Person Assessment team who took me through six weeks of memory tests. They also arranged other physical tests to make sure I was not have problems with falling etc.

He needs to talk again with His Doctor and He will be able to arrange The Aged Person Team to talk to Him and His Wife, and also give his wife some support and telephone Numbers she can call if thing take a negative turn. If needed they can also arrange for the Wife to have time out from what is going on at home.

I was checked at sixty eight years old and before I had my assessment I was quite bad tempered, Although now I have settled more.

I am not heading down the road with Dementia, although every now and then my wife gets telephone calls to see how I am getting on

The Doctor needs to be informed and further tests may be needed


Thank you for your help . It is very kind of you . I will let her know your advice . take care and thank you

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