psychotic break

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carolinagirl12 carolinagirl12
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psychotic break

by carolinagirl12 on Wed May 30, 2012 02:41 AM

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My mother is being treated for breast cancer and physically her treatment is going extremely well. Emotionally she has gone over the edge. She only has 3 more chemotherapy treatments, a lumpectomy, and then radiation treatment. She has a chemo treatment tomorrow and I'm scared about how she will act.

She won't eat unless we pester her. And then she only has a few bites. She will push away the food and say that it hurts (but won't say where) and that her body is "no longer digesting" the food. She has lost around 30 pounds since February. I have tried making/buying her favorite foods. We have tried 6 small meals a day. Smoothies, soups, and nutritional shakes. She just refuses to eat. I know chemo can mess with appetite but I think this is more psychological than physical.

She believes that EVERYONE except my sister, stepfather, and I are in a conspiracy to get her. She calls my sister multiple times a day to make sure she hasn't been kidnapped and tortured. The neighbors made a dinner and brought it over for us. She begged us not to eat it, claiming it had drugs/poison in it. She no longer takes calls from friends or family. She stopped an MRI she was getting and claimed it was a "farce". She pulled out her chemo iv from her port last week and they warned us that if she does it again, they will stop treating her. She said they aren't giving her chemo but trying to sedate her to take me away. A family put up missing dog posters and she claims those were planted to "psych me out". My sister is getting married in September and she called a cousin to take over Mother of the Bride duties because she thinks she will die soon.

She doesn't sleep. Instead she lies on her bed, fully dressed, in the dark for hours. No longer wants to watch tv, read, garden, shop, or go out anywhere. We have a few cats that she used to treat like her babies and now she wants to get rid of them. We have to push her to take her meds or she won't take them.

We were referred to a psychiatrist, who she saw last week. A counselor at the psychiatry center called us a few days later and said that if they had known how disturbed my mom was they wouldn't have even seen her! I've called hospitals, the ACS, and talked to anyone who will listen and no one can help. Even after I give them the examples above and more they say things like - Appetite loss and depression are normal. And give the same suggestions every ACS flyer provides. A couple nurses have mentioned having her committed but no one will take her with her cancer. I don't believe her behavior is "normal". She does have mental illness problems but nothing on this level. I've been doing some research and I think she may have Decadron Psychosis. I believe she gets this before her taxol/herceptin combo.

Has anyone had an experience like this? Any suggestions or tips? I don't know what to do. My stepfather and I are exhausted trying to keep her under control. She needs nearly constant watching. It seems like no one can help.

RE: psychotic break

by Jesikamay on Thu May 31, 2012 05:27 PM

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On May 30, 2012 2:41 AM carolinagirl12 wrote:

My mother is being treated for breast cancer and physically her treatment is going extremely well. Emotionally she has gone over the edge. She only has 3 more chemotherapy treatments, a lumpectomy, and then radiation treatment. She has a chemo treatment tomorrow and I'm scared about how she will act.

She won't eat unless we pester her. And then she only has a few bites. She will push away the food and say that it hurts (but won't say where) and that her body is "no longer digesting" the food. She has lost around 30 pounds since February. I have tried making/buying her favorite foods. We have tried 6 small meals a day. Smoothies, soups, and nutritional shakes. She just refuses to eat. I know chemo can mess with appetite but I think this is more psychological than physical.

She believes that EVERYONE except my sister, stepfather, and I are in a conspiracy to get her. She calls my sister multiple times a day to make sure she hasn't been kidnapped and tortured. The neighbors made a dinner and brought it over for us. She begged us not to eat it, claiming it had drugs/poison in it. She no longer takes calls from friends or family. She stopped an MRI she was getting and claimed it was a "farce". She pulled out her chemo iv from her port last week and they warned us that if she does it again, they will stop treating her. She said they aren't giving her chemo but trying to sedate her to take me away. A family put up missing dog posters and she claims those were planted to "psych me out". My sister is getting married in September and she called a cousin to take over Mother of the Bride duties because she thinks she will die soon.

She doesn't sleep. Instead she lies on her bed, fully dressed, in the dark for hours. No longer wants to watch tv, read, garden, shop, or go out anywhere. We have a few cats that she used to treat like her babies and now she wants to get rid of them. We have to push her to take her meds or she won't take them.

We were referred to a psychiatrist, who she saw last week. A counselor at the psychiatry center called us a few days later and said that if they had known how disturbed my mom was they wouldn't have even seen her! I've called hospitals, the ACS, and talked to anyone who will listen and no one can help. Even after I give them the examples above and more they say things like - Appetite loss and depression are normal. And give the same suggestions every ACS flyer provides. A couple nurses have mentioned having her committed but no one will take her with her cancer. I don't believe her behavior is "normal". She does have mental illness problems but nothing on this level. I've been doing some research and I think she may have Decadron Psychosis. I believe she gets this before her taxol/herceptin combo.

Has anyone had an experience like this? Any suggestions or tips? I don't know what to do. My stepfather and I are exhausted trying to keep her under control. She needs nearly constant watching. It seems like no one can help.

I'm so sorry to hear your family is going through this terrible ordeal. Ive heard that chemo often effects the brain and emotions. It is literally a poisen so its interesting that your mom has thoughts of being poisoned. She is actually correct. I would look for help outside standard western medicine.

RE: psychotic break

by bethface on Fri Jun 01, 2012 05:35 PM

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I have a son with schizophrenia so I know more than I would like to know about psychotic breaks.  You are right to be concerned.  Many doctors know very little about these sorts of things so it's important to educate yourself and the doctors.  It's not likely you'll be able to convince your mother that what she is thinking isn't correct.  I live in California and state laws and treatment options vary from state to state but in CA a person may be hospitalized on what is called a 5150 if he or she is a danger to self or others.  Not eating is a danger to her.  You will need to document all of her odd behavior.  I am not saying your mom has schizophrenia but the medications may be causing her psychosis.  You should also contact your local NAMI office.  National Alliance on Mental Illness.  They may be able to coach you on what to say and what your state legal issues may be.  Also, contact the psychiatrist she saw.  This can be tricky if your mom has not signed a release form but give it a try.  I know how hard all of this can be so be sure to take care of yourself.  One more thought:  write everything down and keep a log on everyone you talk to about your mom.  It's work but it can make a difference.

Don't give up hope.  There is help for your mom.

RE: psychotic break

by cwild7903 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 09:10 PM

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My husband had RCC mets to his brain.  After removing the tumor from his brain he had radiation to kill off anything that remained and it worked.  But after almost completing the radiation treatment he had a terrible seizure that lasted almost 4 hours.  They treated him with Decadron among other meds to stop his brain swelling.  Decadron Phsychosis is horrible.  He thought there were people and sometimes clowns in his room laughing at him.  He thought there were bombs under the bed.  He threw things at the nurses, had to be tied to his bed.  He has never suffered any type of mental illness, but this drug sent him crazy.  It was so hard to try to convince him that this was all in his beautiful mind.  The Doctor told me that his reaction to Decadron was not unusual, but the severity was alarming. 
After about 8 days of me telling him that it was the medicine that was causing the problems he was having I think it began to make sense to him.  He then started to refuse to take it, and began to slowly improve.  Now I don't know if there is an alternative medicine that he could have tried, but he refuses to ever take Decadron ever again.  Talk to your Mom's Doctor about the psychosis, tell him that you think it might be caused by the Decadron because from what you say it sounds like it to me.

All the very best of luck to you, hang in there

Carole

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