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Wed Dec 14, 2011, 07:50 PM

Alcoholism in the elderly.

There was an interesting post today in GD that got locked because it was off topic. The poster was looking for information to help deal with her (or his?) 80 year old mother with a serious alcohol problem. There were a number of interesting responses. I thought I would post it here. Here's the link:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/100216857#op

I'll be curious to see what people's experience is with this. I took care of my father, who died with Alzheimer's at 88. It took us a long time to understand what was happening to him because we assumed that his difficult behaviors were because of his life-long drinking problem.

I even had a doctor tell me he had "geriatric alcohol syndrome" while he was being delusional, paranoid, hostile and violent during a hospitalization for a medical problem. This MD told me to get him home and let him return to his normal amount of alcohol and he would calm down. He did, for a while.

Several months after we got the Alzheimer's diagnosis (he was 85), he became so difficult that it was going to be impossible to take care of him at home. He was a tall man with undiminished strength, and the rage was too much to contend with. At that point he was prescribed Seroquel (an anti-psychotic) which calmed him down to the point that he was able to live out another year at home.



The amazing thing to me was that on DAY ONE of taking the full dose of Seroquel he completely lost interest in alcohol. He never had another drop, never asked for one, never wanted one if someone around him was drinking. This is a person who had been drinking as heavily as he could daily for probably 70 years.




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Reply Alcoholism in the elderly. (Original post)
enough Dec 2011 OP
pnwmom Dec 2011 #1
elleng Dec 2011 #2
enough Dec 2011 #4
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2011 #3

Response to enough (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 08:02 PM

1. Thank you, enough.

One of the people who replied mentioned the concept of "harm reduction" in treating alcoholics -- a philosophy of caring for alcoholics that doesn't aim for sobriety (but isn't incompatible with it, either).

So I googled that term and found some useful information.

Your post is interesting, too. There IS such a thing as alcohol induced dementia, so I'm sure it's difficult for families and doctors to sort everything out when an alcoholic is developing Alzheimer's disease. Also, my sister today was telling me that people can develop rage and other symptoms like your father's while going through alcohol withdrawal.

Interesting, too, about the Seroquel. I'll put that in the back of my mind.

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Response to enough (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 11:43 PM

2. VERY interesting.

Inform Milam about Seroquel?

http://www.lakesidemilam.com/

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 02:14 PM

4. Seroquel is very controversial when used for dementia. People feel that it impairs the patient.

My experience with my father was that it alleviated his suffering and allowed him to continue to live at home cared for by his family. Others see it differently.

I have never seen any mention of Seroquel used for alcoholism. I just have this one very dramatic experience to go on.

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Response to enough (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 09:04 AM

3. Post appears unlocked now.

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