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Dementia = Paranoia = Medication????? - Carers UK Forum

Dementia = Paranoia = Medication?????

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hello I'm pretty new here and I'm desperately seeking as much advicce as you are able to give. I must apologise straightaway because I'm going to post a few questions in separate posts

I'm going to be the main care-giver for mum, who was taken into hospital three weeks ago suffering from confusion and paranoia. She had a urinary tract infection (treated with antibiotics) which doctors have said could be the cause of the confusion and paranoia, but they have also found widespread Small Vessel Disease, which they think could indicate dementia. As time passes, it seems that the doctors are focussing more and more on dementia as being the main cause (although they are still investigating possible infection and medication-induced liver problems).

The doctors have said that mum is very anxious and may need to take a small dose of medication to address this. Her memory is largely intact, but she is easily distracted by her fear of strangers and is unable to focus on any conversation when anyone else is around.

I basically wanted to know if anyone has experience of people with dementia being given medication for paranoia? I'm worried that this medication could harm her memory?
Hello Jim,

I am sorry to hear about your mum...
I am not a Carer for Dementia but things what I know is:
If it is Dementia, it will show on CT scan but, if the condition is very early stage this may be not very clear (that happend with my nan). Also, I heard about a special clinic for Dementia called "memory clinic (or something)" in the UK, so your mum should see a specialist asap. Dementia can cause paranoia but I have no info about medication - sorry Image

There are Carers with Dementia on this forum so hope they will drop a line for you.

Take care.
Hi Jim,

Welcome to the forum - very friendly and supportive folk on here; many of us caring for relatives with dementia.

My 85 year old Mum was diagnosed with dementia two years ago ; paranoia can be one of the symptoms, but the confusion could also be due to an urinary infection. My Mum is on Aricept (a recognised Alzheimers drug used to slow the progression of the disease); but her confusion / fantasies have recently got a lot worse so her GP believes that it is no longer having an effect and when her current supply runs out will probably not be prescribing any more.

You need to ask your Mum's doctors what medication they are proposing and what it is for - if it is to relieve her anxiety then it will probably be a mild anti-depressent. I doubt if it will further affect her memory; many people (lots of them on here) function perfectly well taking them. But her Doctors' should be your first point of call for information related to any side effect of any drug that they prescribe.

If the end result is that the Doctors do diagnose dementia then do visit the Alzheimer's web site; they have lots of useful information on there; plus there are a number of publications available that explain the disease and it's progression and give helpful ways of coping with it. Forewarned is forearmed - so to speak !
Hi Jim

I care for my Mum who has Vascular Dementia and I would just like to add my support to what Susieq has already said, I hope that her advice can help you.

try visiting this site for more information


UTI's definitely have a very negative effect on my mothers vascular dementia, it is also worse when she is tired, stressed etc

i'm no medic but my understanding is that vascular dementia is the result of damage to the brain tissue as a result of TIA's......if someone already has had a TIA maybe they have an increased risk of other TIA's....is it not reasonable to assume that the disease progresses as a result of these further TIA's

there may be lots of generalisations and errors in the following but its my opinion based on actual experience and observations so i dont know if this is relevant to your situation but here goes..

my mum has vascular dementia and my mum-in-law has frontal lobe dementia...although their dementia has different mechanisms, they both share the symptom you described

....in the very early stages the patient is aware they are struggling with failing memory and will hide or cover up their symptoms...this may be years before anyone else notices....but it means they are already disposed to being secretive

....more and more often as the illness progresses they start to forget things as well as ideas...they move something....but because the dementia destroys their short-term memory, they then cant find it...now imagine how many times they are doing this each day...its easy to see why they think "somebody is hiding stuff or stealing their stuff"

The sufferer's usual solution is to squirrel stuff away and of course they know they hid it but they can no longer find it...so to them thats proof that someone was watching them hiding it and stole it... they may start to look closer to home for the culprit and blame the spouse , a relative or a carer or any visitor but the end result is a cycle of unwillingness to talk, unwelcoming attitude to visitors coupled with anger etc and a deep unwillingness to leave where they feel safe......in my mother-in-laws case...only i noticed....but she carried on pleased that she was keeping up a facade of normality

This gradually worsens until it almost becomes paranoid and delusional..my mum kept saying that bastard stole my fags...my dad had emphysema and they had both given up 20 yrs earlier.....both my mum and mum-in-law would rather die than voluntarily leave their possessions to be stolen....they would literally have to be dragged out...it took 4 police officers to get my mother-in-law to hospital..with her screaming that my wife was trying to get rid of her so she could get her stuff....the house is up 12 stairs and my wife is confined to a wheelchair with MS....

this paranoia and suspicion coupled with reduced reasoning and empathy can lead the sufferer to respond in inappropriate ways and can result in violence and aggression.....you mention concerns about medication but my advice is that although her symptoms may not seem to you to warrant this JUST NOW, in our experience (and of your GP TOO NO DOUBT!) the risk of progression and violent outbursts far outweighs ANY impact on her memory......aeicept can slow the progression and antipsychotic drugs such as trazadone may actually stabilise her to the point where she may better tolerate social interaction...we recently took my mother-in -law out of the care home to the seaside for an ice-cream....a great day out for everyone

its a sair fecht but the rare flashes of them as they were become more precious than gold...hang in there and please keep in touch to let me know how you are coping