DH peculiar behavior changes...

postumJuly 9, 2006

Hi -

this is my first time posting to this board. My dh has ADD and it seems to be getting worse - or maybe it is something else altogether. He is 45 and aside from overweight and high blood pressure is in good health.

He keeps forgetting things - he has left pans on the stove to burn at least 10 times in the past month. He is late for everything - he looks at the clock and will say "It's only 3:30, I have plenty of time to pick up dd from school" when the clock is clearly showing 3:50. He has lost all interest in sex. He frequently forgets words or uses them incorrectly (condensation for consequences?). He has lost the ability to spell. He simply acts irrationally at times (getting very upset because dd isn't hungry; showering many times a day; overreacting to traffic - road rage, really.) DD (7) is asking what is the matter with daddy.

He is a musician and this doesn't seem to be effecting his work (as long as I make sure to remind him of gigs and deadlines.) I have to write him notes about everything, and it is becoming an hourly thing to email him from work to remind him of stuff and check in.

He doesn't drink or use drugs, and is not on any medication. He has always been a heavy snorer, and I suspect he has sleep apnea, but our HMO has not followed up on that. Could that cause these problems? Can ADD get worse with age? It is getting scary - I'm really afraid he is going to burn the house down.

He claims that I am imagining things, and won't go to the doctor. I'm also worried because his brother had a heart attack at a young age - can behavior like this be linked to heart disease?

I have researched this, and it seems like it could be anything and everything ("ask your doctor" - he won't!) so I'm hoping that someone with a similar experience will be able to help.

Thank you so much,


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What you've described is way beyond ADD...and way beyond your waiting another day to get him into a Dr. Don't waste your time worrying what it may be or may not be. What you've described is dangerous. You must act immediately. Bring to bear whatever influences you must in order to get him seen. Do NOT accept an appointment 8 weeks from now. You've described a man in crisis. Strongly suggest you treat it as such.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 12:29AM
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I don't want to sound scary, but those symptoms could even be one or more small strokes. Seeing a doctor and getting some medicine could be the difference between recovery and having a massive stroke. I agree with Asolo that whatever it is, it sounds dangerous. High blood pressure and a brother with a heart attack at a young age ups his risk, too.

What does he have to lose? If it is dangerous, very likely something can be done about it at this stage, and if it isn't, you'll be out the money for a doctor visit, but have peace of mind. I hope he will agree to go. If necessary, you might have to speak to the doctor first, yourself to get help judging the seriousness of it. That might make your husband listen.

It was a slightly different case, but several years ago, a friend told me her (then middle-aged) husband had gone to work, but somehow couldn't find the gate to the place and wandered around and around for an hour or more. He had been working there for some time and he had not been drinking, so this was inexplicable. I forget when or how he got home, but I urged her to have him see a doctor and she just shrugged the episode off and said, "He's OK now." Not long after that, he had a stroke that left him paralysed and unable to speak, and he spent the rest of his life--several years--in bed.

We care. Please let us know what you do and how your husband is. I sure hope you can get him to see a doctor.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 1:43AM
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When language is affected...forgetting words or using them out of context sounds as if he is having mini strokes. Everyone is right...he needs to be seen by a doctor immediately...before there is a serious stroke that causes major damage.

The stove part reminds me of a man on a program who was in his 40's and was a college professor, I believe. He was in the early stages of alzhimers...and would do the same thing...leave things on the stove, forget the refrigerator was open, etc. There are medications that can head off some of this but you must catch it early!!! Simply get him in the car and take him to a doctor. If it is something as serious as it sounds, he will thank you later.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 9:58AM
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Thank you so much for your prompt responses, although I have to admit I'm now pretty frightened. Our schedule this summer has him driving dd to day camp, and I'm on pins and needles - of course he forgot to turn his cell phone on.

I was thinking I was overreacting - but last night he did the stove thing again , and when I told him, he was quite upset because he had absolutely no memory of putting the pan on the stove, or what he was going to cook. This morning he did the thing with the clock again. He's always been spacey, but this is clearly a different level.

Our HMO has you go through an advice nurse before you can see a doctor (of course you have to see your primary care doctor before you see a specialist) but I will call the advice nurse today and tell her what is happening. I don't know if they will let me make an appointment for him or not - but perhaps the advice nurse can give me more info. I hate to feel that I have to scare him into going to the dr. by saying it may be strokes, but if that's what it takes, I'll have to do it.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that it's sleep apnea or something benign. Thanks for your support.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 12:09PM
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My husband has ADD and sleep apnea (which has been treated), and as others have said, this sounds much more serious. Although I do know that if you have high blood pressure, sleep apnea can make it worse, and sleep apnea (untreated) can lead to strokes. When my husband went to the sleep clinic and found out all the scary things that could happen to him if he didn't treat his sleep apnea (he's younger, 28 but it still scared him), it finally scared him into dealing with it and getting a breathing machine. I hope you can get your DH to a doctor and they can help you out, in the meantime, I probably wouldn't let him drive your DD around, could be dangerous. Keep us posted and good luck!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 1:07PM
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Thank you for caring enough about your husband to ask for information here -- please try to sweet talk him into going to the doctor and also be assertive with the HMO so that he can be tested.

My husband had become very groggy in the mornings, with slurred speech and forgetfulness. I noticed he would seem to hold his breath while sleeping for 20-30 seconds at a time, then suddenly snore very loudly as he gasped for air.

I saw a feature on the news about sleep apnea and we asked his HMO doctor about it. Testing was done, he did have it, and he now uses a CPap machine to keep him breathing all night. It took him a couple of nights to get used to using it, but was well worth the adjustment.

It is not, unfortunately, a benign condition. I went to the HMO's informational class with him and learned that, as emmhip said, it can lead to strokes, and that it can also cause brain damage and even a heart attack.

High blood pressure also puts your husband at risk for strokes and heart attacks.

A couple of people in my family have had mini-strokes called TIAs and they had high blood pressure as a contributing factor.

Both had disorientation and forgetfulness as symptoms of the TIA and went to the Dr. about it, fortunately, found out what was wrong and got their blood pressure under control.

Whatever the cause, it could be extremely serious so, as the others have said, call the HMO doctor or advice nurse today!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 3:36PM
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I do not want to scare you about the sleep apnea either, however a woman I know lost her husband this way. Turns out he just never woke up in the morning. Evidently he stopped breathing for too long durning the night. He was in his 40's. It is important that you make sure they are aware of the significant and recent changes in your husband so they understand that it is critical that they squeeze him in NOW. We all wish you the best as you uncover what is going on. I do not know enough about this so i will ask those on the forum who do know...whould she get a quicker, better evaluation if she went into the emergency room with her husband?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 8:54PM
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If my DH was acting like that, I would take him to the emergency room. At least they could do an EKG and monitor him for a few hours, maybe refer him to a sleep specialist, or figure out if he is in some sort of cardiac distress.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 11:38AM
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I agree with emmhip and would take your DH to the emergency room, where hopefully they may give him a CAT scan. Tell them that he is experiencing sudden unusual disturbances involving memory, (pans on stove) language and comprehension, (mixing up words, loss of spelling ability) in addition to irrational mood swings. Mention that his brother suffered an MI at a young age and you're worried your DH may be suffering from TIA's and be at high risk for a stroke. If I had to white lie a bit and imply that he was confusing words and misreading the clock just before you brought him in, I'd do it. Otherwise I'm afraid they may send you home with the suggestion you ask his doctor for an appointment with a specialist, and this may delay his being assessed by weeks.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 9:32PM
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Back again - I spoke to the advice nurse, who seemed to think that this was not at all important!! However, he hasn't had his blood pressure checked in a while and so she set him up for an appointment with the dr. on Monday. I'm going to have to drag him in, and what I'm worried about is that he'll convince the doctor that I'm exaggerating. I'm going to start writing everything down now.

My fear is that they'll say it's stress or something and give him antidepressants (which he would never take.) My HMO takes that approach - I don't know why they don't just give everyone a prescription for Zoloft when they walk in the door. Aaargh!!

Well, I'll let you know how it goes. He seems a bit more focussed today, but all the discussion of strokes has me very concerned - and the more research I do on this, the more it sounds like this is what is happening.

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond -

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 10:58PM
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How is he doing Amy?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 11:23PM
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I think sleep apnea is something you should discuss with his doctor. When a person's sleep is disrupted it causes all kinds of problems.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 4:40PM
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Amy - What was the result of your Monday appointment?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 7:47PM
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Also wondering.....and thinking of early onset alzheimers.
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 1:30PM
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Lindac's post sent shivers down my spine. Please, please, please don't let your health care professionals dismiss a potentially serious situation. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when he was in his early 70's. This was in the mid-1970's before anything was really known about the disease. He was a college professor, and for years we would call him the "absent-minded professor" when he did 'odd' things. My mom and I always thought there was something more to it than simple forgetfullness, but at that time there were no studies being done, no research to speak of. He started exhibiting this unusual behavior while in his 50's, while I was an adolescent. When we would mention it to freinds/family/doctors, they would tell us it was nothing to worry about. They attributed his behavior to stress, overwork, and more often than not, to his 'artistic temperment/personality' (he was a muralist/artist and art teacher). He eventually went in to a nursing home in NYC affiliated with Mt. Sinai hospital. He was there 2 1/2 years until his death. After he died (in 1981), Mt. Sinai started some of the first research on Alzheimers. Do not settle for casual answers, dismissive responses, or lack of urgency on the part of his doctors. And don't let him be the one to decide if or when he seeks medical attention. Whatever is causing these symptoms needs to be taken seriously, and done so without delay. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Please let us know how you're all doing.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 1:19PM
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postum ~ hope all is okay.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 2:56PM
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Hope everything is ok...A friend of mine's husband had simular things happen, to the point he would forget where he was going when he was driving. They discovered that he had Dimensia. I'm sure I spelled it wrong but her husband was in his mid 40's when it hit. If a doctor won't help try a mental health specialist, they can do different memory test to help determine if this is what it could be.

Good Luck and God Bless~


    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 10:01AM
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