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Can my mother-in-law be faking pain?


Question: I care for my mother in law who has with Alzheimer's. She is in the early late stage of this disease. My question is: can someone with Alzheimer's have episodes where they seem to be faking pain? Other family members are wondering this also. The doctor has done x-rays and other tests and hasn't found anything wrong.

Dr. Amy: Pain can sometimes be very difficult to diagnose. And people sometimes find it hard to properly explain what they are feeling. The fact that your mother-in-law in has late stage Alzheimer’s may make it harder for her to describe her pain. And yet studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients feel pain just as much as healthy people--and that the feeling of pain can last longer. I would not dismiss your mother-in-law’s pain. I encourage you to consult another doctor—perhaps one that specializes in pain.

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