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 Dealing with patient's anxiety and irritability
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Calycu
Rookie

7 Posts

Posted - May 06 2018 :  12:53:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My husband has reached a point where he can't control his reactions to certain situations ; he becomes very anxious and agitated if things don't go as planned or as expected, like if a service tech is late for an appointment or if we get stuck in traffic. Any one have techniques for dealing with someone in that state? we have talked about trying to get some anxiety meds but neither of us are keen about more drugs.

He also gets irritable when tired, or when he's had a lot of SOB. He gets very negative and finds fault with everything including me. I know in my head why he behaves that way but can't help feeling hurt by it. Seems like in the morning everything's fine, but by the end of the day ... I've got to be on my guard. Any suggestions of how to be more Teflon-like and let these things slide off?

I'm afraid I am not empathetic enough and I am trying to learn how to be that way. ... But I don't know if that's a skill one can learn ?

Cathy

jmrommes
Contributing Member

1842 Posts

Posted - May 07 2018 :  08:44:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I do have a couple of suggestions. I would try to find a really good cognitive behavioral specialist who might take you both as clients. I'm not sure how well your husband would respond to one, but a good one could teach him some ways to try to recognize and then manage his own anxiety. If he's not receptive, a good one would have a relationship with a psychiatrist who could prescribe and then monitor the meds. Please don't make the mistake of going to your family practice doc for this; they're all willing to prescribe, but they have no clue how to monitor these meds and they should be monitored.

You see the therapist for yourself. You're in a situation that's very difficult and you need a sympathetic ear, along with suggestions of things you can try to help reduce his anxiety or at least help you cope with the aftermath.

I know how this works. My husband had a short-term memory loss due to a brain injury and then developed Alzheimer's. He was furious about it. He had started seeing a therapist years before when the brain injury showed itself and continued to see her through the Alzheimer's. As things progressed with him, she saw me more and more and would see me individually if I really needed some new tricks and ideas of how to manage his anger. When he died 11 years ago she simply kept me on as a client. I can't tell you how supportive that is. I highly recommend finding someone you can see regularly.

You need the help; go find it!

Jean

Exercise not only lets me live, it enables me to have a life.
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Jocopd
Member

USA
121 Posts

Posted - May 07 2018 :  9:15:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another option might be to have his heart checked if you haven't already. One of the signs of heart failure can be sob with irritability and anxiety. Or perhaps its a side effect of his medication. Just a couple more options to throw on the table that would not hurt to have checked out. Since it gets worse as the day wears on could indicate something getting elevated.
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Calycu
Rookie

7 Posts

Posted - May 07 2018 :  9:19:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting thought, Jocopd. He did have a heart attack about 5 yrs ago (after the cancer treatment).


Cathy
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JR WA
Rookie

USA
9 Posts

Posted - May 09 2018 :  4:32:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Cathy, For what it's worth I'll throw in a few other possibilities to consider too. Your term 'reached a point' suggests a recent development rather than longstanding issue. You might ask yourself if anything else changed timing-wise. Like a bad report or other life stuff. Irritability can come from a lot of different stressors. Named already - fatigue, low oxygen/circulation, medication side effects (that's a biggie!), psychological stress. Also consider low blood sugar, metabolic disorders (thyroid, adrenals, etc), nutritional deficits, pain, physical brain or neurological stuff that can go wrong, etc. It's tempting to go right to anxiety/depression but why later in the day than in the am? Maybe up and about is too much for him, but if cause and effect isn't obvious - it might be worth a closer look toward physiology before pursuing treatment for psychological stress.

In your shoes, I'd run this past a GOOD medical doctor to be sure you're not missing something correctable and then go into considering support for mental health. Just a thought.

Either way, it's a good self-building consideration to improve your own reactions to stress! God knows if I could do things differently I would have started working on my own reactions to stress about 3 decades ago... if I'd known I had choices there. :-) I thought it was normal to lose my cool when life got out of hand. So either way, you finding a repertoire of ways to cope, seems to me, would be a blessing. You're in for a bit of a ride here.
Wish you the best - this truly sucks, but I gotta say there are the occasional silver linings worth appreciating.
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Calycu
Rookie

7 Posts

Posted - May 09 2018 :  7:07:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thx for the thoughts, JR WA. The anxiety episodes have been coming on for a long time, but it is true that just the last couple of weeks he's having some serious back and leg problems. We have an appt with his PCP in a couple of weeks, so we'll discuss it then. He hasn't had blood work done in a long time, so it is definitely time to do that and have an overall checkup.

Cathy
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PennyPA
Contributing Member

USA
5858 Posts

Posted - May 10 2018 :  3:20:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm wondering why his pcp hasn't ordered bloodwork on an annual basis? Also, as was suggested and you confirmed, pain can cause the problems you're seeing now. And worry. Is it possible to sit down and have a talk with him in the morning re: how you feel when he acts like a jerk (but don't use that word!) I'm living with much the same type also and it surely isn't easy!

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Calycu
Rookie

7 Posts

Posted - May 10 2018 :  5:10:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
PCP hasn't ordered bloodwork because PCP hasn't been visited! Hubby's got a low tolerance for non-emergency doctor visits, when too much time has been filled up with cancer-treatment followups and pulmonologist visits. Can't blame him, really ....

Cathy
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