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Bedunton

Father with PD coping with alcohol

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Hi new family,

My father was diagnosed with PD 7 years ago at the age of 45. Over the years, I have noticed that he has been turning to alcohol to “self medicate”. 

He was pushed out of his company and forced to retire early about 3 years ago, and this is when I began to notice the largest change in his drinking habits. By no means does he wake up at 9am and crack open a cold one, but he drinks daily. The drinks range from a couple of beers to 4 or 5 large vodka drinks. 

In social situations, he is not able to pace himself to match those around him and often ends up making my mom and I uncomfortable, leaving us to cover any awkward situations such as irrelevant comments, etc. 

My dad and I have had a wonderful relationship and I have reached out to him numerous times regarding th situation. He is always defensive, stating that he feels better when he drinks, that it helps relieve some of his symptoms, and that others just simply can’t understand. He explains that he wants to live and do what he wants. I can’t begin to imagine how he feels day to day, and It all breaks my heart. I suggest he speak to a professional about it, but he refuses. 

I am getting married in a month, and I am more worried about my dad drinking too much and doing something foolish than anything else. I love him dearly, but I am worried for his long term physical and mental health. I’m also worried about our relationship. He’s always been my best friend, but as time goes on it is harder and harder to have a healthy relationship. 

Does anyone have any experiences similar to this one, or any advice? 

Thank you!

 

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I hesitate to give advice bc I am not a professional and know so little about this series of unfortunate events.

But I wouldn't want to leave you with nothing. Perhaps some research on loneliness would help.

"Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection"

Aug 10, 2009

by John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick

and,

 "Leaving Loneliness: A Workbook: Building Relationships with Yourself and Others" January 15, 2014      

As my own in-house professional says, your Dad is the identified patient, but you and your mom (and others) are patients too,  also in need of psychological help. If he won't let you help him, help yourself in such a way that he is not excluded but can rejoin. The alcohol needs replacement with something else - a circle of friends, a volunteer job, travel with his true companion. But he will do none of these until its his own idea and not perceived as an external control. 'Nuf said; hope your wedding is a combination of happy event where dad has an important role requiring sobriety.                           

 

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Oh, and Wait, Wait! I just saw this below your post and it looks worthwhile investigating!

 

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Alcohol will likely aggravate PD progression. Alcohol affects digestion and PD is very closely related and might even result from poor digestion in the gut according to new studies. Keep gut healthy. Probiotics type foods might help. Thripala , wonderful fruit herb, also improves digestion.

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Hi Bedunton,

I know lots about dealing with chronic illness and also about alcoholism. Seems like your Dad is facing two problems - although they may look like one.

Is his PD under control with meds? or is he choosing to mix PD meds with alcohol, or is he skipping PD meds entirely and just consuming alcohol?

Seems like, from your description, that his alcohol use could be a result of his loss of employment status, or it could be tied to his health status. Either way, as an adult child, you are going to need some counseling on how to deal with him in this state. I'd look into an ACOA - adult children of alcoholics program which are usually local and free - to get a grip on how you react to him. It's easy to fall into a cycle of despair and anger, but you really want to have self control over your emotions and reactions. 

You have no control over your Dad's actions. But once you get control over yours, then you will have the courage to set the right boundaries for how you will deal with him.

-S

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I have both personal and professional experience with alcoholic relatives and spent 30+ years in the drug and alcohol treatment field as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Master's level Social Worker before being sidelined by PD.

I suggest that all family members attend Al-Anon meetings. As for your dad, a professional intervention may help him become willing to seek the help he needs.

Drinking increases the chance of a serious fall. It adds stress to PD for both the PD patient and family caregivers. Stress worsens PD symptoms.

Both alcoholism and PD have specific treatments. They are best treated simultaneously by the specialists in each field. At a minimum, the neurologists or MDS needs to know about the drinking. Some PD medications can lead to compulsive behaviors that weren't there before.

Dianne  

 

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