Jump to content
Happy2Heal

Posting for a friend I'm trying to help

Recommended Posts

Happy2Heal

if this isn't allowed I"m sorry. I promised a friend I'd try to get her help. She's 84yrs old and doesn't use a computer.

 

she suffered the tragic loss of her  husband 3 yrs ago (suicide, he'd had botched surgery that left him in terrible pain and he couldn't take it any longer)

She "fell apart" she said, and went into a psych hospital for 2 1/2 mos. While there, she believes she was given meds to help her sleep and possibly started on lexapro, she's not sure. She thought maybe the lexapro was started some time later.

In any case, she took lexapro for at least 2 yrs

 

For some reason, her PCP (who has been prescribing the lexapro) switched her to remeron. She was going thru a hard time with a BF who was stalking her, damaging her car, etc. So it's possible  she told her dr that the lexapro wasn't helping.  

 

So she was switched to mirtazapine/remeron.  

 

it's now Approx 2 mos after being off the lexapro and she's waking up with horrible anxiety attacks as well as severe GI symptoms. She's  also dizzy and feels weak , hot and sweaty.

 

She went to the ER and was tested for everything under the sun, nothing wrong.


She was started on lorazapam/ativan at 0.5mgs once a day.

 

her PCP has rather quickly upped that dose to 0.5mgs three times a day to now 1mg three times a day

 

and she's been told not to drive

which is not going to happen. She refuses to stay home and doesn't understand that the drug that an impair her ability to drive is also the drug that can make her unaware of her impairment (although I think I was able to get that thru to her by comparing it to being drunk)

 

this 84 yr old woman has been active her entire life, kayaking hiking, etc etc, she would not just stay home.

 

she's waking up with more and more anxiety every day and more GI symptoms, including a burning feeling in her stomach and nausea

 

My feeling is that she's going thru lexapro withdrawal (delayed)

 

she takes the remeron at night and she says it helps her to sleep

 

but she's quickly gotten very fond of the ativan.

 

I've warned her about addiction and tolerance and told her she needs to take the warnings about driving very seriously.

 

she's at an age where she believes that only a dr knows best,  so it's very hard for me to give her advice.
Plus I don't want to cause her any harm

 

she wants me to go with her to see a psychiatrist or other prescribing dr.

I don't know that I'd be much good with that, since I HATE these drs so much for what they did to me (over 40yrs on psych drugs, given nearly every mental illness lable, etc etc)

 

Is there anything I can do for her?

 

My feeling was that a tiny dose of lexapro might convince her that her anxiety and GI upset are WD from the CT of lexapro...

but I don't know if that would work now that she's got the other drugs in her system........??

 

what would be her best course of action?

she does not want to be on these drugs but she's not been offered therapy!!

she wants to go inpatient because she's recently lost her volunteer job and her BF and is lonely and needs things to do.

I doubt they'll agree to admit her for that, but she may realize that her anxiety issues might be enough to get her admitted for a short while since she has good insurance 

I told her that they are likely going to keep her on meds and maybe increase them. 
They don't know how to get ppl off them.

 

any suggestions welcomed.

I'm so upset that she's going thru this.

 

these damn drs dole these drugs out like candy, it makes me sick

 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

Hi H2H,

 

It's really lovely that you want to try and help somebody sort out their drug issues.  However, SA is not able to work through a third party.  Depending on the circumstances SA does occasionally try to help where the person is an incapacitated spouse, child or parent of the member.

 

Even though it can be distressing to see a friend suffering, it can sometimes be different to help them.  It can also cause us stress and that can bring about a worsening of our own condition.

 

If you are concerned about drug interactions, you could always print out the drug interaction and give it to the friend and/or a relative of the friend.  These are two that we use:

 

Drug Interactions Checker

 

https://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker

 

Drug withdrawal is now in the DSM-5.  dsm-5-diagnosis-code-antidepressant-discontinuation-syndrome

 

You are long time member and as such are very familiar with the information available on the SA website.  You could always print off information and give to the friend and/or relative of the friend.  Or, if they have access to the website (libraries have the internet) you could sit alongside them and help the to navigate the site.

 

23 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

she does not want to be on these drugs but she's not been offered therapy!!

 

Perhaps you could help her arrange this.

 

23 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

and she's been told not to drive

which is not going to happen. She refuses to stay home and doesn't understand that the drug that an impair her ability to drive is also the drug that can make her unaware of her impairment (although I think I was able to get that thru to her by comparing it to being drunk)

 

Are you able/willing to drive her for necessary things, and perhaps the occasional outing?  Or are there any community bus services for the aged in her area?

 

23 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

she's at an age where she believes that only a dr knows best,  so it's very hard for me to give her advice.
Plus I don't want to cause her any harm

 

Any person, regardless of their age, can be set in their ways.  All we can do is offer advice.

 

23 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

she wants me to go with her to see a psychiatrist or other prescribing dr.

I don't know that I'd be much good with that, since I HATE these drs so much for what they did to me (over 40yrs on psych drugs, given nearly every mental illness lable, etc etc)

 

This is a tough one.  If you really want to help her you might just have to suck it up and remind yourself that you are doing it to help her.  You could provide any printed information to the psychiatrist and/or doctor.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

Share this post


Link to post
Happy2Heal
4 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

Hi H2H,

 

It's really lovely that you want to try and help somebody sort out their drug issues.  However, SA is not able to work through a third party.  Depending on the circumstances SA does occasionally try to help where the person is an incapacitated spouse, child or parent of the member.

 

Even though it can be distressing to see a friend suffering, it can sometimes be different to help them.  It can also cause us stress and that can bring about a worsening of our own condition.

 

If you are concerned about drug interactions, you could always print out the drug interaction and give it to the friend and/or a relative of the friend.  These are two that we use:

 

Drug Interactions Checker

 

https://reference.medscape.com/drug-interactionchecker

 

Drug withdrawal is now in the DSM-5.  dsm-5-diagnosis-code-antidepressant-discontinuation-syndrome

 

You are long time member and as such are very familiar with the information available on the SA website.  You could always print off information and give to the friend and/or relative of the friend.  Or, if they have access to the website (libraries have the internet) you could sit alongside them and help the to navigate the site.

I'm not at all familiar with benzo information. I'm telling her she can addicted very quickly but I don't know how quickly.  I'm afraid for her. 

Because drs give out these drugs so freely, it's given her the impression that there's nothing to be afraid of. It makes her feel better so it must be ok, right?  😕

 

 

Libraries are closed here. I have no printer. But I don't even know what to print out.

I mostly wanted to know if what she is experiencing now could be potentially halted by reinstating a small amnt of lexapro.

 

Quote

 

Perhaps you could help her arrange this.

 

 

Are you able/willing to drive her for necessary things, and perhaps the occasional outing?  Or are there any community bus services for the aged in her area?

 

 

Any person, regardless of their age, can be set in their ways.  All we can do is offer advice.

 

 

This is a tough one.  If you really want to help her you might just have to suck it up and remind yourself that you are doing it to help her.  You could provide any printed information to the psychiatrist and/or doctor.

 

I don't drive and the bus service is very limited right now due to the pandemic. She would not be content with occasional outings, she leaves her house every day when the weather is good. She's only been a widow for 3 yrs now and was in a relationship for over 2 yrs, having met her boyfriend within a few months of losing her husband. That went well til he started to act possessive and jealous (we think he's got some form of early dementia) and then she needed to get a restraining order against him. At the same time she lost her 5 day a week volunteer job to the pandemic. 
There's nowhere for her to go and no one to see. It's extremely lonely for our sr citizens now due to this virus. They are incredibly isolated. 

 

She doesn't yet realize how difficult it is going to be to find a dr of any kind right now. We have a shortage of all types of medical and mental health professionals in this area, just getting in to see anyone is not going to be easy.

Therapists are not doing in person appts and most drs are still doing telehealth appts. But even without the pandemic,  the wait was at least 3 or 4 mos long to be seen. You can go to the ER if you're suicidal, that's about it. 

 

She's got a primary care dr who is actually older than she is (85)  who is giving her these prescriptions. She wants a new dr but as I told her, it's not something that is going to happen right away.  The  hospital where she was an inpatient may not have offered her therapy because there was no one available, I realize now after complaining that it wasn't offered. :P

 

 

I just wish that I had the right info to give her about her symptoms. If she'd just stopped taking the lexapro and no other drug had been added, it would be pretty clear that she's in WD

but with the remeron and now the ativan, I don't know if her morning anxiety and GI upsets are from WD or side effects of the new drugs or both.

 

 

 

I am just praying that all of this doesn't end up cutting her life short. 

 

I guess that's all there is to do.  

 

god I hate these drugs.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

'm not at all familiar with benzo information. I'm telling her she can addicted very quickly but I don't know how quickly.  I'm afraid for her. 

H2H,

 

I can give you the basics on benzo dependence.  You can become dependent within 2 to 4 weeks of regular use and also from intermittent use.  A member recently posted that he had become dependent using a benzo 3 times a week.  Once you become dependent, you no longer get the original benefit of the drug and are taking it only to stave off withdrawal.

 

 

Edited by Gridley

Share this post


Link to post
JackieDecides
20 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

Even though it can be distressing to see a friend suffering, it can sometimes be different to help them.  It can also cause us stress and that can bring about a worsening of our own condition.

 

I don't know if there is anything you can do to help her, but maybe not. I'm really sorry this is happening and I understand why you want to help her. 

 

take care of yourself. 🙁

Share this post


Link to post
Happy2Heal
7 hours ago, Gridley said:

H2H,

 

I can give you the basics on benzo dependence.  You can become dependent within 2 to 4 weeks of regular use and also from intermittent use.  A member recently posted that he had become dependent using a benzo 3 times a week.  Once you become dependent, you no longer get the original benefit of the drug and are taking it only to stave off withdrawal.

 

 

Thank you so much Gridley

this is very helpful.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Happy2Heal
3 hours ago, JackieDecides said:

 

I don't know if there is anything you can do to help her, but maybe not. I'm really sorry this is happening and I understand why you want to help her. 

 

take care of yourself. 🙁

thanks Jackie

I spent about 4 hrs with her today and she seems to be doing ok. She's lost some weight which she really couldn't afford to lose, she's as thin as a rail.

But she was driving just fine, her reaction time is good. She didn't seem to be forgetful or confused.

For her age, she's really in remarkable shape.

 

I believe that she feels as badly as she says she feels but she's able to function a lot better than she thinks she is.

This seems typical of WD to me. I don't know...

 

she was very happy to spend time with me, we took a nice hike and stopped for groceries and for coffee.

She really seems to just need people to see and places to go and things to do, all things that she/we lost due to the virus shutdown.

 

She didn't get depressed when she was going to the gym 3 to 5 times a week. She normally spends a couple of hours there!  I'm 20 years younger than she is and can't even last 15 mins on the treadmill and wouldn't even attempt the rowing machine LOL 

 

so she's not your typical 84 yr old. 


She got a recommendation for a dr who specializes in treating the elderly so she's going to try to get an appt with him.

She's decided not to seek therapy or inpatient care.

 

I made plans with her for Tuesday and will see if we can get together on Friday as well. I think if I spend time with her and keep her busy, that will help get her over the hump. I'm praying it will at least.


She's sounded just awful on the phone! so weak and fragile sounding. In person she looks a lot better, thank goodness!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
JackieDecides

at least she knows she has a friend! you clearly care and can spend time with her - that's a lot better than nothing. 

 

good for you. 😍

Share this post


Link to post
Happy2Heal

GOOD NEWS!!

 

she went off the second drug she was put on and feels even worse, that's obviously not the good news

but she's ended up being sent to stay with her son and daughter in law, and her DIL has gone off antidepressants herself and immediately understood that was the problem

 

I told her about this site and she is going to print off some stuff for the drs and get her reinstated on her meds and taper her off

 

once again, SA to the rescue!

I am so very grateful for this site!!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
JackieDecides
On 6/18/2020 at 7:18 AM, Happy2Heal said:

GOOD NEWS!!

 

she went off the second drug she was put on and feels even worse, that's obviously not the good news

but she's ended up being sent to stay with her son and daughter in law, and her DIL has gone off antidepressants herself and immediately understood that was the problem

 

I told her about this site and she is going to print off some stuff for the drs and get her reinstated on her meds and taper her off

 

once again, SA to the rescue!

I am so very grateful for this site!!!!!!!

 

 

so wonderful!!!! 🥰

Share this post


Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy