My mother has been acting really strange. She used to just have an attitude that was pretty normal. However, the last few weeks she has been acting worse. She argues a whole lot now and has to know everything. For example, today she called me about 5 times in just an hour to ask where I was. She also calls my dad constantly wondering where he is at. My grandpa was put in a nursing home a few weeks ago and now when we stop by to see him she gets impatient and rushes us off saying she has better things to do. Is something medically wrong with her or am I just over reacting?
- Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
There is no way of knowing if something is medically wrong with your mother without getting her examined by a physician. However, it does seem that something has caused your mother to become more anxious and aggitated than usual. The cause could be a medical problem, so encouraging your mother to get a medical checkup to talk about her behavior changes would be a good idea. However, the cause of her anxiousness may be a simple reaction to life stresses, such as the admission of your grandfather (her father?) to the nursing home. The fact that he is ill (and may die?) may be very threatening to her, so much so that she can’t be around him, and has become generally agitated. There may be other important sources of stress you don’t know about either, or have neglected to mention in your message. There are a number of ways to help your mother handle her increased stress, if stress is the cause of her difficulties. Any doctor can prescribe anti-anxiety medication, for one thing, and that is a convenient way to go for many people, even if it isn’t the healthiest or best way to go (the medicines used for this purpose are often addictive). Encouraging your mother to talk about her stress, with family, friends, or a therapist, could also be helpful, as could simple physical exercise and relaxation exercises and a variety of other interventions. You may benefit your mother simply by calling her attention to her agitation in a loving way, in the process showing that you are concerned for her welfare.