An Elderly Depressed Woman with Signs of Dementia

Helen presented to our offices as an attractive and eloquent 82-year-old woman. She was feeling agitated and depressed over “problems with my memory.” Helen had retired following a long and successful career as an attorney. She and her husband (now deceased following a lengthy illness) had accumulated a number of significant assets over their many years of marriage, including three homes, a sizable stock portfolio, and valuable works of art. The couple had no children, and it had always been their desire to donate their assets to charity upon their demise.

 

During the period when her husband’s health had been deteriorating due to Parkinson’s disease and dementia, Helen had become depressed, and her condition had worsened in recent times due to persisting struggles family member (her legal guardian) over the disposition of her assets. Two years prior to first being seen by us, she became the victim of a telephone fraud scheme, whereby the caller had convinced her that he was her grandson and was in dire financial straits. The “grandson” had pleaded with Helen to wire him money and, sadly, he fleeced her out of $25,000. Helen’s unfortunate lapse of judgment became apparent to her family, who filed a petition with the courts to have a guardian appointed to assist her in managing her affairs.

At the time Helen presented to us for evaluation and treatment, she was depressed, anxious, had memory impairment, and resented having a guardian. “It makes me feel like I am a small child once again!” We evaluated her dementia and depression, and uncovered evidence that Helen had a number of vitamin deficiencies, and an untreated thyroid condition, that contributed to her dementia. Appropriate vitamin supplements were prescribed along with two additional supplements that improve brain function and cellular energy production. Brintellix, a medication that treats both depression and cognitive impairment, was also prescribed. The consulting endocrinologist placed her on thyroid medication. Helen’s mood and memory function began improving on this regimen. If Helen’s mood and cognitive functioning continue to improve, she may reach the point where she can once again manage her own affairs. We will do everything within our power to return to Helen as much of her dignity and autonomy as possible.

Contact Potomac Psychiatry

Please contact us at 301.327.0172 to schedule a preliminary evaluation or a free 15 minute consultation. Our experienced professionals look forward to meeting you.