Posted by: Concerned daughter | 2008/07/02

Please help it's my mom.

Hi CS, I am hoping that could perhaps shed some light on what is happening to my mother. Six months ago she became aggressive and angry with everyone close to her, but to strangers she was pleasant and nice. About a month ago, the aggression became worse and she began to swear at her employees, she is a financial director; she became confused and forgot passwords on her PC. My brother picked up something was very wrong and he took her to the doctor, he put her in hospital where she was diagnosed as having severe low salt levels, she started having seizures and hallucinating, cutting a long story short she survived and was discharged but was still very confused, while I was with her to help her recuperate she stated having manic episodes, as an example Getting up at 2 in the morning to tidy her cupboard or "The NGO phoned her and told her to take all her money out of Zimbabwe and the UK and invest it in SA, we must get a bodyguard for when she arrives at OR Tambo because her life is in danger" another example, "she blames my brother for the power outages in Zim because he has the power to turn off the sunlight" For the last week my brother has said she talks non stop and all through the night, the doctor wanted to admit her but my brother said she was calm yesterday afternoon, and he didn't have the heart, she thanked my brother for being there to talk to through the night, and she felt alot better but again today the non stop talking has started again, she wants to do outrageous things, she's 67, wants a face lift, a boob job etc. I am at my wits end CS, I live here in SA and feel so helpless because they live in Zim. Please what could be wrong with her. The doctor in Zim said she will have episodes of paranoia psychosis because of the salt level problem, but that is sorted out now, she weighs 38kg's!. I don't know what to do anymore.

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Our expert says:
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You seem to be describing someone who is psychotic, and / or in a toxic confusional state, and, while all sorts of variations in our body chemistry can indeed addle our brain function. mere salt levels seem inadequate to explain the duration and complexity of this. SHe should be seen as soon as possible by a fully trained psychiatrist for a thorough assessment, possibly including a brief spell in hospital for further tests to check out various possibilities. The talking all night sounds like a manic episode, and both manic and depressive episodes within a bipolar disorder can include psychotic episodes. Is there any possibility of bringing her to South Africa for asessment and treatment ? There are many possibilities, but Bipolar Disorder sounds like a fairly good bet. She could get better assessment and treatment here, and could then continue her treatment on return to Zim, if she can get the necessary meds there or if they can be sent to her. A continuing uncontroled manic episode has significant risks including exhaustion. The doctor there could try calming her with a medication like Risperdal or Haloperidol to prepare her for travel.

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Our users say:
Posted by: piet | 2008/07/03

get her out of zim as soon as possible for better treatment is SA.

Reply to piet

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