One of the most common questions I’m asked is how did I know something was wrong with my husband? How did I know it was Alzheimer’s disease?
The red flag for me was the change in personality. Marshall is a happy, easy going guy. He always was, and thankfully, has been again since we figured out what was wrong and how to fix it.
Anytime someone makes a radical change in personality should be a signal to loved ones that an investigation is needed. Something has triggered this change, be it physical, mental, or emotional. We begin by asking questions:
- Is medication appropriately prescribed or being abused?
- Is there an underlying health issue that is causing distress on a major organ or system?
- Could it be due to alcohol abuse?
- Is it time for a full medical exam?
- Should a neurologist be consulted?
- Is clinical depression the problem?
- Was their a recent emotional trauma such as the loss of a job or loved one?
- Has there been physical abuse?
It can take months or even years to fully understand the underlying issues. Testing may include physical and mental evaluations, blood work, x-rays and scans, and several specialists. If Alzheimer’s is the reason, such investigations will be ongoing as the loved one will no longer be able to express what is wrong. We have to figure that out for them every time something changes.
Medication and behavioral modification brought Marshall back to his normal self. He continues to enjoy being around people and is content. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t give up hope. A good problem solver and medical team can get things back on track, or at least a new manageable one.