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Social withdrawal, sleeplessness, suspicious, imagining things. History of viral encephalitis

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Posted on Thu, 4 Oct 2012
Question: Hello! My mother aged 71 yrs has been showing some signs of social withdrawal and sleeplessness. Tending to be suspicious also at times and imagining things once in a while. She had an attack of viral encephalitis in May and was in hospital for 10 days. After discharge from hospital, she is showing these signs. Diet is normal. Cognitive functions seem normal except for occasional recent memory loss.
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Answered by Dr. Rajeev Chavda (33 minutes later)
Hi XXXXXXX
Welcome to HCM!
Unfortunately, there are many long term side effects that can appear after any kind of encephalitis. Patients may have many cognitive problems, like lose of memory or certain learning disabilities, poor concentration, speech problems and social withdrawals. Because of that many of them become depressed or angry. As your mother had viral encephalitis, she can have personality or mood changes that last for a year or longer. For example, viral encephalitis patients may develop depression, a mood disorder that causes severe sadness and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. When depressed, patients can have changes in sleep, appetite and weight. Depression patients may develop suicidal thoughts, in which they consider harming or killing themselves. Patients may also become irritable or apathetic. Will recommend you kindly get her examined by your clinician who would prescribe her appropriate medications to alleviate her symptoms. Kindly revert for any clarifications. Thanks

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Rajeev Chavda

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 324 Questions

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Social withdrawal, sleeplessness, suspicious, imagining things. History of viral encephalitis

Hi XXXXXXX
Welcome to HCM!
Unfortunately, there are many long term side effects that can appear after any kind of encephalitis. Patients may have many cognitive problems, like lose of memory or certain learning disabilities, poor concentration, speech problems and social withdrawals. Because of that many of them become depressed or angry. As your mother had viral encephalitis, she can have personality or mood changes that last for a year or longer. For example, viral encephalitis patients may develop depression, a mood disorder that causes severe sadness and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. When depressed, patients can have changes in sleep, appetite and weight. Depression patients may develop suicidal thoughts, in which they consider harming or killing themselves. Patients may also become irritable or apathetic. Will recommend you kindly get her examined by your clinician who would prescribe her appropriate medications to alleviate her symptoms. Kindly revert for any clarifications. Thanks