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Alzheimer's Disease

Bipolar or Dementia?

03/03/2008

Question:

How do I know if my husband has bipolar or Dementia. He will not be tested. He is with me all the time. Literaly. It is difficult for me to talk to his doctor as he likes to always go alone. I`m afraid to call as I said before he is with me all the time. We are both retired. I am 71 and he will be 67 soon. I noticed a changed in him, he seems to be withdrawn from me lately and acts like he is lost in space at times. He has his mood swings. I never know what he is going to come with next. He changes his subjects so fast to another not giving me enough time to answer some times.Otherwise his mind is still sharp at times. He always tries to be perfect on his words and whatever he does around the house and the minute something goes wrong, he gets irritated and gets very angry and starts cussing at God very badly.He is always trying to do something and work in the yard and goes to bed right after supper and gets up during the night on and off for a smoke. He doesn`t sleep much. He is very fatigued lately.When he is in bed he starts to jerk all of a sudden and rolls back and forth stiff and I do mean stiff like a mummy. Really like a mummy.To which it keeps me awake.So therefore he now sleeps on the chair in the front room at night. I don`t know what makes him jerk like that before he starts rolling on and off. He has been rolling like this since he can remember and has told me that his parents would just laugh at him and would hear him upstairs rolling in bed and do nothing about it. He has had 2 heart attacks before I met him. I just don't know what to do or how to go about this on what he has. He won`t go and in the meantime it is affecting me in my life. I was saved from a brain tumor 15 yrs ago and trying to live life and be happy. Could you advise me of what you think he may have between the two I mentioned? And advise me the best way on how to go about this? Thank you so much. I would call and talk to his doctor but he is always by my side.Even when I`m on the phone. Should I tell this to my doctor about this? My husband is very rude to me at times and blames almost a lot of things on me when something happens.I can`t even say a word sometimes. Adreneline goes right through me when he does this.

Thank you !

Answer:

Sorry for the delay in responding to the question. It sounds like the best advice I can give is to encourage you to communicate all the concerns you've noted to your husband's primary care physician. I would recommend sending him a confidential letter, asking for the physician's help in sorting out all these observations. It sounds like your husband needs to be evaluated by the primary care physician to sort out what might be causing both the personality/behavioral changes, the cognitive changes, and the night time sleep disturbance. Hopefully, after the primary care physician gets your letter they will get your husband in for an exam to review his medications and run some tests (ex. labs, EEG, brain scan, etc..).

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Rebecca A Davis, RN, LISW Rebecca A Davis, RN, LISW
Clinical Research Nurse of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University