Alzheimer`s Disease/can't figure it out.

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Question
Hello!

I'm in a panicked and hope you could help.
My 21 year old fiance is in a bit of a scary situation. He's having hallucinations- where he sees a moose or the grim reaper in the corner of his eye but does a double take and its gone. I guess I felt these could be an exaggeration of a shadow but he has been seeing this thing he fears so much. It sounds silly, but it's called Slenderman and it's from a game. It scares him so much and he has hallucinated seeing him, and also "Slenderman" having its hand in my fiances shoulder. A walk in clinic doctor told him to call it and it, rather than a him and to own the fear and say it isn't real when he sees it. This happened onc while on the phone and I could hear the fear in his voice. Also the other day he hallucinated that he woke up to me sleeping beside him and him kissing my cheek and telling me he loves me. We've lived apart for 2 no the for jobs and we visit often.
The 2nd thing is he has also started to "lose time" as he calls it. He functions normally while "backing out" (gaps in his memory) and he describes it like blinking and finding himself in conversation/on the bus/in the car with no memory of how he got there.
Doctors have suggested mild scitzophrenia, stress, etc. Nothing was found in brain scans.
He is very stressed out being in collections and not making enough to pay everything off. He also has an anxiety disorder (anxiety attacks) and bipolar disorder runs in his family.
I feel like everyone is acting like its no big deal. But I'm scared we may not have a future together.
Your help would me much appreciated. Thank you so much!

Answer
Hello Catie:
I'm so sorry to hear of your finance's mental stresses.  I'm sure it's very upsetting for both of you.  I'm guessing he's about your age, and I was glad to see that he has already consulted with physicians.  When it comes to diagnosing a problem in the brain, it's very difficult, but with the aid of scans and a list of the symptoms, the doctors can often come close to a diagnosis.  If he has not yet seen a neurologist, I would recommend that he take copies of his scans, a list of his symptoms and how long they've been going on, and another person with him to get a full work-up that would include blood work to rule out things like metal toxicity and severe vitamin or mineral deficiencies.  I'm not a physician, but it does not sound like a type of dementia to me and it would be unusual for someone that young to have dementia.  
It is not something to take lightly, and I hope he agrees to get a full work-up as soon as possible because if it is something that a medication can help, then he will soon be on the road to feeling much better, and will have some answers to these troubling symptoms.
I wish you much luck Catie as you and your fiance' seek answers.  Cindy  

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner

Expertise

As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.

Experience

I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Organizations
Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Publications
Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Education/Credentials
Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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