What medications are effective in minimizing angry outbursts?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother's quickness to anger and upset are difficult for all around her, but it is particularly difficult for my young children. My mother's time with the children is supervised by other adult family members, but her behavior is unpredictable thus subjecting the children to these outbursts. My parents have a close relationship with my children, as they were actively involved in their early childcare. We cannot cut off my mother from my children -- it would be cruel to my mom and hurtful to the children. She is resistent to taking any medication, even for a headache, but if there are medications that can mellow her out, perhaps she will be able to respond to her environment and interactions with others on a more even keel.

Expert Answer

Ladislav Volicer, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized as an international expert on advanced dementia care. He is a courtesy full professor at the School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, and visiting professor at the Third Medical Faculty, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Twenty-five years ago, he established one of the first dementia special care units.

I appreciate very much that you are trying to maintain contact of your mother with your children. Unfortunately, there is not a specific medication for angry outbursts. However, people who are depressed are very often angry and have a short fuse. You might want to get your mother evaluated for possible depression that is quite common in individuals with Alzheimer's disease.