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Stress Dementia?

Posted by @bevsearching in Brain & Nervous System, Nov 14, 2011

For the past two years approximately every six months, I become a zombie. As much as I can piece together, I become extremely tired, lose all color in my face, become irritable and can barely function. The physical symptoms last about a week, mainly I am in bed unable to cook, drive,or barely take care of my personal hygiene. When I come out of the physical aspect of this, I have lost about 4-6 weeks of memory. As I start to regain my mental head aches as if there has been no blood circulating in my brain and as it comes back, it feels as a muscle feels after it has been "asleep".

The memory loss extends back before there is any physical signs of distress, and lasts through the physical symptoms and doesn't start to return until the physical signs start to subside. The memories I lose do not return, no matter how hard I try to remember...the harder I try to remember, the worse my head aches. A year ago, I had my gall bladder removed. I can remember going to the hospital, being admitted, and was waiting to talk to the anesthetist. I lost all memory at this point. I do not remember the anesthetist, the surgeon, or the surgery. I was released from the hospital the same day, so apparently was not showing any signs of distress. I never became aware until about a week afterwards. If it wouldn't have been for my scars from the surgery, I wouldn't have believed that the procedure had occurred.

The first physical symptoms started in about 1994 as what was diagnosed as fibromyalgia. I'm not sure the diagnosis was correct as my symptoms were not confined to certain tender was as if every muscle in my body became tense and tight.. I felt as if my sympathetic nervous system turned on and refused to stop. I had digestive symptoms. I had knots in my stomach., constipation (as if I couldn't relax enough to go). I constantly grit my teeth. This continued until 2002 when I became so weak that I was unable to even stand up long enough to work as a hostess in a restaurant..

I went on disability in 2004. Gradually, I became stronger physically but the stress and anxiety continued and got worse. Every doctor I went to put me on anti-depressants which only served to muddle my thoughts. As much as I can remember, the memory losses started to occur in 2009. At this point in time, I have no warning as to when one of these attacks is going to happen. I have questioned everyone who has had contact with me when this happens and no one can tell until I end up bedridden. my only symptom is my extreme paleness and fatigue. When my brain starts to function again...I return to my normal self with no leftover symptoms except for the memories I have lost of my actions before the attack.

When I first return after the attack...I am calm...the anxiety appears to be released during the attack. Gradually though, the anxiety returns...I worry about everything. The only solution I have found that works is meditating to brain entrainment tapes. The past week I was tested by a neuropsychologist for early onset alzheimers. I passed all the tests with ease. The psychologist said that there was no way it is alzheimers because of the coming and going of symptoms. He diagnosed my condition as stress. I asked him what I should do and he replied "get rid of the stress". Much easier said than done. Now, I am making a point of meditating daily and trying to avoid becoming over tired. I exist scared to death because I have no idea of when and where this will reoccur though now I have accepted that it will. Has anyone else experienced these symptoms and what on earth can I do to stop the progression of this disease, whatever it is.

Tags: mental health


Posted by @alexsimon, Dec 30, 2011

Hello -
I don't have any experience in your conditions. But If you would like to request an appointment to see a Mayo physician at one of the 3 sites, please click on the "Request an Appointment" link in the upper right hand corner.

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