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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Does excessive intake of alcohol or stress cause dementia ?

My mother-in-law is 63 years old, she has a collapsed spine and vocal chord, on oxygen machine, and liver disease but drinks alcohol heavily. All last night, part of the day today, and all tonight, she has had dementia! My husband and I thought maybe it was because she took to many pain medicine but tonight she had taken none! What she has been doing She will talk into her hand as if it were the phone, pick invisible things up off the floor, take invisible pills , ect. She will hold her hand as if she were smoking but she has no cigarettes, and brings it to her mouth as if to inhale. When I asked her if she needed anything her response was I m scared I packed my cigarettes too tightly, they stick together. The motels are too close together, you know where Kmart is, I saw a dog like ****our dog*** Why is this happening? What do I do? Could the dementia be cause by... 1.) Stress?...We recently had our Gas and our Water cut off, about to be evicted. Could this just be a mental break down?? 2.) Drinking alcohol?...She has liver disease from her past drinking habits and now she drinks HEAVILY! She won t stop and says she is grown and can make her own decisions!...now, she thinks it s 2001! 3.) Old age? Alscheimers? Not sure how to spell that sorry. I am 23 years old and too young for this, if someone could please help me!!
Mon, 23 Jan 2012
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Hi Amanda,
Welcome to Health Care Magic.
Your M.I.L. may be suffering from Alzheimer Disease or as you put it she may have had a mental break down.
Please try to prevent alcohol reaching her and be especially careful to keep all medications out of her reach. She should be given medication under supervision of a medical expert and by a responsible person in the household and do not permit her to take medicines on her own. Incidences are known when they take too many pills not remembering that they have already taken the pill, leading to very serious conditions.
She needs constant monitoring and do consult a Doctor for her ailments.
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