611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

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AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

I think my mom has mental health issues or alzheimers


my mom is 65. her dad died around 1977 at 67 of what we now think was Alzheimers (I was 12), he slowly lost his ability to remember anything, was ultimately committed and passed away a year or so later.

My mom has always been excessive compulsive (smoking, gambling) and a creature of habit, which is why none of us really thought anything of it when she slowly and continually started acted odder and odder over the last 10 years or so.

2 years ago she moved with my dad to live in an in-law with my youngest sister and her family in NC, and I haven\'t seen her much - until recently.

Now she is effectively agoraphobic, she only drives to 3 places, which are within 1 mile from the house. She smokes non-stop. She has lost significant weight in the last few years, and is skin and bones. She is now insisting that my dad and she move back to Boston, for no reason, which my dad can\'t financiallydo - nor does he have any desire as the grandkids are his joy in the world. My dad has been covering for my mom his whole life - literally staying with her early on because he knew she would be a problem for us, his children. She has never been able to get on an airplane. Since she was about 40, she will not go to a doctor (she believes if she isn\'t diagnosed with anything, nothing will be wrong).

Her behavior now has caused enormous strain on everyone in the household down south, and has finally made myself and my siblings step back and look at her logically.

I believe she either has a serious mental illness, possibly in addition to alzhemiers or some other physical brain issue. We all agree that something is very, very wrong and we need to have her diagnosed by the appropriate people - but we know she will not even consent to that.

I have the legal aspects understood, and my dad is willing to do whatever must be done. We are trying to figure out what type of professional is the best first line to begin this diagnosis, but it is confusing as how to determine that. I\'m hoping you might offer suggestions on what type of professional we should seek, and then any suggestions on how to deal with the fact that she will never agree to go.

She hurt her back last year and couldn\'t physically move for several days. When my father phsyically forced her to go to the car and brought her to the doctor (not a hospital, a nice rural medical building), within minutes upon entering the waiting room, they had to medicate her because her heart rate became alarming. She will not go, period. Therefore we need to understand possible alternatives because not having her diagnosed and treated is not an option. As hard as it is, I will have her physically restrained if I must, but am looking for any other suggestions you might have - she really cannot even speak about it - she \"can\'t\" go - it wouldn\'t matter if she had a gun to her head, she just can\'t go. I don\'t know why, and she doesn\'t know why, she just knows she can\'t. It\'s the same with an airplane.

Thank you- I know this is too long and it probably won\'t be used, but I\'ve been on the internet for 8 hours and simply can\'t find anything other than the law, which is not what I need. I appreciate even if you can point me somewhere.




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