PSP Association

Newbie - Question about mental health

Hi, my mother in law was diagnosed about a year ago but we suspect she has had PSP for a number of years. Its all very new to us but recently we are concerned about her mental health. She cries a lot, says life is not worth living, she gets into a huge panic attack and then struggles to breath and cannot settle unless you hold both her hands (literally for hours!). Her mobility is very bad but she struggles to get out of her chair insists on walking around and around the coffee table using the wheeler/walker - she keeps saying she has to go, but doesn't know where. Its very distressing and we cannot calm her down. This is how she get her day in, from panic attacks to crying to non stop to walking in circles. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks

10 Replies

Hi Bubbles,

Sorry to hear about your mother-in law's distress. Sadly, depression is very common in PSP - both amongst the sufferers and their carers! I would sugggest you talk to her GP as there are some very effective antidepressants available.

Take care

love Kathy xxxx


Hi Kathy

We were worried it might be dementia??

Her GP has given her 6mg Diazapem and citalopram. Neither of which seem to help much - He is cautious about giving more in case she becomes "zoned out". Unfortunately he has no experience of PSP, in fact we seem to know more through sites like this.

Thank you

Bubbles x


How long has she been on the medication? It can take 2-3 weeks to have an effect. If she has been on them a while it may be that they need to increase the dose or try a different med. Dad is Mum's carer and he started on low dose Citalopram which had good effect but took about 2 weeks to "kick in". Another one commonly in use , I beleive is Amlodipine. I would definitely go back to the GP again. If he wants further information about the condition direct him to the psp website

where there is a section especially for professionals, and the psp nurses are always happy to give advice.

love to you and your Mum



Hi bubbles

I have Psp diag Dec 2010 I am 66

But the depression and anxiety have been much better UNTIL i have had to move to a ground floor flat

Now I am crying all the time over nothing and everything but I know it will be better WHen I get settled

Lol Jill

Ps I am on a low antidepressant and Anti anxiety meds



Hey Newbie - I"m sorry to hear about your current situation and I wish I could give you better news but unfortunately this is a stage of PSP. My father didn't have the outburst but many of our fellow PSP sufferers at our meeting did have this. My dad had the anxiety and the need to move all about. Judgement is extremely impaired so your mom will continue to get up and potentially hurt herself but if she can move on her own - have her keep it up because this is a use or lose condition. My dad had terrible spasms in his legs -the urge to move is very very intense - almost like restless leg syndrome. We used diazepam in the beginning and changed to very small doses of clonazepam to help with the spasms. At this stage -my dad also had hallucinations so watch out for those -these consisted of him thinking people trying to poision him or "get him", others were that he had to get to class (college) or that there were even monkeys in his room. Eventually this will pass. Let me know if you would like to know what medications my father was on or how we dealt with the hallucinations.


Hi Bubbles, my father has psp and we had similar problems,he was very anxious for a big part of the day.He was walking to the door trying to get out,repeated that he has to go,mentioned places that we had visited long time ago.Apart from psp he has depression.For about a month he is on Zoloft and Cympalta and these drugs seem effective,he is much more calm now and he doesn't ask to go or anything like that.I wish you and your family the best, John.


Hi Guys

Thank you for all your responses. She has been on antidepressants for years and the diazepam for the last month or so. She is on a lot of other meds for blood pressure and fibromyalgia conditions prior to the PSP. Appointment with gp on Thursday to discuss what else to try. Hadn't realised that hallucinations is also part of this condition, will key an eye out for this.

Thank you for all you kind words




Emotional lability (crying or laughing) uncontrollably is unfortunately a common symptom in PSP and can be helped by medication. You should definitely get your mother in law reviewed by her neurologist / specialist to be screened for depression because as has been said this can be treated with medication.

There are also likely to be cognitive changes with the PSP these may include difficulties with planning and thinking things through and also apathy, the memory is often ok but respnoses can be slowed. If the medications she is on arenot helping go back and ask for them to be reviewed.


Hi, quick update, my mother in laws GP has given her clonazepam. Twice a day, in the morning and before bed. Starting today so we'll see if it helps. He did ask how often she sees her neurologist - around every 4 to 6 months, he thought she should be seen more often? Is this usual?



His bubbles

Where r u based. In UK?

There r lots of anti deps available inc the serotonin ones which I have been on 4 years

Hope your mother in laws downturn is temporary and that s he is more comfortable


:-) try to keep a smile on ur face 4 her

She will appreciate



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