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Can't Control Myself

My grandpa has these really strange episodes where he loses control of his body. Initially, it was these strange movements he would repeat in a cycle through movements of his hand, shaking of his feet, nodding his head... and if anyone would distract him, he'd start the cycle all over. However, things have now escalated to the point where he has become self destructive. With no control over his body, he now scratches his face until there's a deep wound and twists his head as if he's attempting to wring his own head off. It has become a frightful sight at times.

The doctors insist that it is depression but what bothers me is the fact that he has no idea that he is doing this to himself. After he has these episodes, he starts to cry because he has no control over it. Besides these episodes, he is completely alert and quite sharp even at his own age. The medications he's been given just knock him out and make him sleep all day. Instead of trying to help him,his primary doctor justo wants to institutionalize him.

Should I be taking him to a psychiatrist or psychologist.. therapist maybe??
3 Responses
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547368 tn?1440541785
Hello Caregiver,

Please excuse my tardy Welcome and response. I've had some major medical issues and haven't been as active on MedHelp as I normally am. I hope you are still monitoring this site.

Your grandfather is blessed to have your love and concern. I think you are right to be concerned. It sounds like they have written your grandpa off as old and depressed instead of searching for an answer to his strange actions. Sadly this is not all that uncommon.

I am not a physician - I do have years of experience in senior health care. Your grandpa's sx are puzzling and complex - and in my opinion require an extensive medical work-up by a geriatric specialist often called a  geriatrician. I have bee seen these physicians do wonders. After a consult with a geriatrician I observed  seniors that couldn't speak, speak -  seniors that seemed "lost" in their own world emerged - even some that couldn't ambulate could, even if it was limited. Please don't get me wrong, sometimes there was little change but we had reasons and knew why a senior behaved the way they did and how best to help them.

Geriatricians are not Gods or Miracle workers - but they do understand senior disease processes, their systems, drug interactions, behaviors and  so forth. The decline in physiological reserve in organs makes the elderly develop some kinds of diseases and have more complications from mild problems that would not present in such bizarre forms in younger ppl.

My response could go on and on as Seniors and there health issues is my passion. But in the end the best advice I can offer is to seek out a good Geriatrician - no matter how far you may have to travel to locate one.

Your grandpa could have a form of dementia. Remember dementia is a host of disease conditions and not just the better know one, of Alzheimer's disease. It sounds to me as if he is over medicated - over medication in an elderly system can bring on problems on it's own - some may be irreversible. I encourage you to avoid placing in a Psychiatric facility just yet.

Be assertive and be your grandfather's health care advocate. Someday you may need the same. Seniors need someone to look out for their best interest when they are unable to do so. Remember if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

I wish you and him the very best. Please, please, please let us know how he is doing - and of course how you are doing also. I'll look forward to your updates.

Peace,
~Tuck

Helpful - 0
144586 tn?1284666164
I am not a happy camper with your doctor's dismissal of the symptoms. The problems you describe have nothing to do with depression. You need a second opinion. I urge you to obtain the excellent books by Dr. Jerome Groopman "How Doctor's Think" and "A Second opinion". The specific syndrome you describe has been identified in the literature. The big question is whether it is reversible. The answer is "maybe yes and maybe no". But clearly your current physician doesn't seem to have a handle on the situation. Institutionalization is not always the best answer. The care for such a syndrome will involve either physical restrains or the "chemical straitjacket". Neither alternative makes for a happy camper.
Helpful - 0
4851940 tn?1515694593
I don't think that the psychologist or psychiatrist are the right people to assess your grandpa.

I would see a different doctor to talk about your granpa's condition to make sure that they understand the symptoms that he is exhibiting.

I would ask for a brain scan to be done, a referral to a neurologist and the specialist that Tuckamore mentions.

With the types of "aggressive" physical reactions and the scratching of the face when your grandpa cannot remember doing, reminds me a little of my granny.  The symptoms to me sound very much like blood surges in the brain and may be a cardiovascular problem rather than a psychiatric one.

I too would not be happy with the fact that grandpa is being pumped with all sorts of medications to subdue him that make him sleep.  

If feel he needs further investigation as to what is going on inside the brain and if there is any cell damage that has been caused by these "fits".

Let us know how you get on.
Best of luck.
Helpful - 0
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