Thursday, September 27, 2012

Suicide Due To Alzheimer's?

Don't worry. I'm not giving you a heads up, and wouldn't anyway.

No. That isn't what this entry is about.

What it is about is my wondering, "How many of us diagnosed with Alzheimer's Dementia kill ourselves because of it?"

The "short and dirty" answer is, no one knows. No one can know for sure, because depression  is so prevalent in many of the diagnosed cases. Especially with those of us diagnosed as "Young Onset Alzheimer's" patients.

Consider the following true story: A friend of mine, with whom I once worked in broadcasting, had a Grandmother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's by her doctor, went home and promptly blew her brains out with a double barrel shotgun. How can you attribute that to Alzheimer's and be sure?

The answer is, you can't.. You can't because there's no way to blame it. Not even if one leaves a "suicide note". You can say, "Well, he or she was so depressed because of the Alzheimer's and its hopelessness, he/she decided death was the only way out", but that is all you can say, because there just isn't any way to pinpoint the cause. You can make it an adjunct, I suppose but the fact remains a decision was made and carried out.

This may be a good time to let you know that what I am writing here is opinion, okay? I did google "Suicide due to Alzheimer's Dementia Studies", and got a few morsels, but the consensus seems to be "we can't be sure." I urge you to go to the Alzheimer's website and take a look at the "10 signs", "The 7 Stages" and "The Virtual Tour of The Brain". See anything definitive there? Neither did I. No definitive figures, I mean. There's just no way to know.

There is, however, a PDF from a recent Symposium in which Kim Bell, LPC-S gives us a very nice snapshot of what can happen if the depression gets bad enough. It's for the patient and the caregiver and is a very good and informative read.

Before I close out this entry, I'll provide a caveat of sorts.

Here's the scenario: A patient arrives DOA in an Emergency room and is a known Alzheimer's Dementia patient. This can be noted in the chart and the hospital could keep a record  the results of which can be sent yearly to the Alzheimer's Association. This way, we could at least speculate.

So there you go.

Do you agree or disagree? Am I full of it? Do I need correcting? This blog is a two-way street and always has been, so your input is needed. Please don't write me a note and tell me why you don't contribute. I understand, I promise I do, and don't dislike you for it. In fact as always, I thank you for coming here and reading. It means a lot to me to write this blog, because it is one of the few ways I have left to communicate.


PS: Blogger is having some problems, so I am unable to link you to the rescue animals site. Just use one of the previous posts' links, thanks!

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