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Personality Changes

 REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA
REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA

Q: MY brother has been in and out of hospital for testing and different kinds of treatments of mental illness and the doctors still cannot find what is wrong with him. All of the medication we have tried has not helped. He is a completely different person. He is not the brother we have grown up with. One doctor says dementia, one says mad, one says FTD (we don’t know what that is), It is just that he is getting worse. He can’t talk and now he is not eating. Is there a dementia that causes this? If so what can we do?

A: I am so sorry and I can sense your pain and frustration. I would need to see all of your brothers testing to be able to help you read and understand the results. You mentioned FTD and I would ask you to go back to the results that mentioned FTD as that is a type of dementia. Look for the words Frontotemporal dementia. If so you should have a CT scan somewhere and it should show that there is shrinkage in the brain in the area of the frontal lobe and temporal lobe areas. This type of dementia is very hard to diagnose as the symptoms are similar to a lot of other disorders. The frontal and temporal lobes are responsible, according the Alzheimer’s Association, for controlling emotions; planning; judgment; speaking and understanding speech; and types of movement. This may be why they are thought to be “mad” and really they are not. The persons personality changes in the beginning of the (FTD) disease where as Alzheimer’s may have some personality changes but towards the later part of the disease. (FTD) also develops in patients in their 50’s. This is a devastating disease and is about 10 to 15% of all dementia cases.

Regarding your brother not talking and eating: How long has he not been talking? Is he able to understand your speech or body language or gestures? Not eating? Does he have trouble with swallowing? Or is he refusing? In the U.S., I would refer to a speech pathologist that could do testing with swallowing. This could potentially be a hazard if he begins to swallow food or fluids into his lungs. If St. Lucia has a nurse or doctor who can do the test then this is my recommendation. If he does not eat or drink it is only a matter of time and he will not live. Feeding tubes would be the other option. You and your family will need to decide if that is best and decide which type, through the nose or surgery or comfort care. I am so sorry. Please research all that I have mentioned here. This is just responding to the little information you provided. A lot more information is needed to really understand what is happening to your brother.

A few facts to think about:
1) Every 4 seconds someone develops dementia in the world
2) Almost 2/3 of people with just Alzheimer’s disease are women
3) In the US only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s are told of their disease (imagine the rest of the world)
4) In 2015, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the US $226 Billion
5) Alzheimer’s is in the top 10 causes of death that cannot be slowed, prevented or stopped
6) More research and studies are pointing toward our diet and environment for causes and not sharing what they find. Wake up world lets learn more and make changes to save our people.
7) Approximately 40% of caregivers suffer from depression from physical and emotional stress.

Silly brainy quote: No man has a good enough memory to be a successful Liar ~ Abraham Lincoln
http://www.internationalcaregiversassociation.com/
www.angelsofthewestindies.com
Send questions to angelsofthewest@outlook.com or call/text to 486-4509

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