What causes sudden onset of depression, confusion and memory loss?

Posted on Tue, 21 Jul 2015 in General Health
Question: My MIL age 73 and highly educated (she's a judge) suddenly has become depressed, anxious and confused. Very confused. She can't remember how to get to places she has driven to hundreds of times, can't remember that a waitress just took her order, can't remember people she has know for years, I could go on an on. She's so confused...and tired. She won't see a Dr. What could it be? She cries every day and is afraid to be in her home alone. This is very private and independent women....
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 13 minutes later
Brief Answer:
This is suggestive of dementia and needs a thorough evaluation!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about what your mother in law is going through. These symptoms are suggestive of dementia. The sudden onset of these symptoms mens they may not be cause by a degenerative process as this is often progressive and over a long period of time. I will suggest that you go ahead and get her evaluated for possible causes of rapid onset dementia such as fluid in the brain, low vitamin B12 and hypothyroidism. f any of these is identified, a plan to address them would be

However, if this has been happening over a long time, then it is most likely dementia. There are promising drugs on the market now to slow down the progress. In anyway, seeing a doctor is the most important thing to do at this time. At least, there is is something that may prove helpful to her irrespective of the disease type, cause and severity. The best doctor to see at this time is a neurologist!

I hope this helps. I wish you well. Thanks for using our services and do feel free to ask for more information and clarifications if need be.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Ivo Ditah 11 minutes later
Yes, dementia...the hard part is trying to get her to agree to go to the Dr. I tried to discuss this as an option and she flatly turned me down. I'm afraid something bad will have to happen before she sees a doctor. I'll try again. I've also thought of trying to get someone else in the family to talk to her. She's not opening up to me or my husband. Because she is in such a powerful position at work people are afraid to bring it up. She can't be having an easy time at work. Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
I understand you fully!

Detailed Answer:

It is always difficult to admit we need help when we are in such authoritative positions. Also, she must have been a very imposing personality and cannot easily see that escape within a short time.

I will encourage you to get other family members or her good friends to talk to her. The earlier the better. There is no need wasting so much time going around this as it may lead to missing an opportunity to help her regain her full cognitive state.

I wish you well. I hope you find ways to convince her about this.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Ivo Ditah

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 3922 Questions


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