To think that this doctor let me down..

(33 Posts)
Letdownbydoctor Wed 18-Dec-13 09:40:47

I have been drinking more than I should for over a year now. Generally about half a bottle of wine a night and more that the weekends. I know that this is wrong and want to do something about it, but am always so stressed at the end of the day that I reach for a glass. It has been a really tough year, but most of the pressures have now eased and it is a good time to focus on this.

My DM was an alcoholic and was bi-polar. She committed suicide in a drunken stupor 6 years ago.

I get private health care with work and every 2 years get a full 'health check'. This involves lots of tests, including blood tests and an hour with a GP. They send you a 12 page 'health and lifestyle questionnaire' t complete before your appointment.

I have never mentioned my alcohol intake to a healthcare professional previously, but decided that this was the time to address this and get some help. Even if nothing practical the doctor could do, I felt that just talking about it to someone about this would be a first step.

So, for the first time I was honest on the form about my alcohol intake. I also put on my mums history (previously I had put the bi-polar, but not the alcohol abuse). I also put down 'concerned about my alcohol intake' down as an area I would like to discuss with the GP.

When it got to the GP session, she skipped over that section and then at the end asked if there was anything else I would like to discuss. I pointed out my alcohol intake and my DMs history and said that I was worried that I was now drinking wine every night. The GP said 'you and every mum in Surrey'. I think that your alcohol intake is normal for a busy mum in a stressful job and she basically then moved on and made it impossible for me to raise again (it had taken me so much to raise it the first time).

My blood tests came back and my liver function is fine…I was almost hoping there was something physically wrong so that I could raise this again.

I feel really let down and not sure where to go next….

OTheHugeManatee Wed 18-Dec-13 11:25:41

And you don't really need to be referred for addiction counselling just to stop drinking on school nights. If you put the kettle on first thing when you get in, and have something to eat as soon as possible, you'll be fine.

quesadilla Wed 18-Dec-13 11:33:30

Mumsy you're right that its down to the individual to set goals and stay on top of it, certainly at that stage of a drinking habit.

But I do also think its surprising, given how much public health PR is going on about alcohol at the moment, how little support is available to people who fall short of the technical definition of an alcoholic but for whom drinking is beginning to be a problem.

Sure, GPs are over-worked and probably not qualified to provide the sort of support someone like the OP wants. But surely in a case like this it wouldn't be that difficult to prescribe a course of counselling to enable the OP to work through feelings about alcohol etc and work towards the next steps.

I was really angry when, having battled for more than 20 years to get my dad to acknowledge that his drinking was a potential problem (and it having contributed to a stomach illness for which he was hospitalized) his GP dismissed it as normal when he raised the question during a routine visit. My dad is the kind of person who really trusts what his GP said and had she given him a bit of a talking to he would have been much more inclined to take it seriously. As it is he just thinks I'm a bully when I mention it and carries on regardless.

People like the OP who take it seriously enough to ask for support should get that support.

Letdownbydoctor Wed 18-Dec-13 11:34:30

Mumsy - all I wanted really was to talk about it. I was definitely not expecting any treatment or even any advice. It took me a lot of mental preparation to write it on the form and then raise with the doctor and i just felt completely dismissed.

Green - I would hate to have no wine in the house…

I do feel that I have now taken the first step just by posting here though. I have never talked about this or written it down before and it feels like I have confronted myself for the first time.

Thanks for comments and support.

Letdownbydoctor Wed 18-Dec-13 11:35:56

Sorry, and to be clear, it was not my GP it was a GP who I had an hour with as part of a 'Health care check' with I get with my private healthcare through work.

HopeClearwater Wed 18-Dec-13 11:51:28

You might want to think about attending an Al-Anon meeting - plenty in Surrey. They are for relatives and friends of alcoholics. Your upbringing has probably affected you and your relationship with alcohol and Al-Anon might help you make sense of both those things. It might also help you decide whether you have a dependency on the stuff.

HopeClearwater Wed 18-Dec-13 11:52:50

...which you might - you seem to have trouble not having something to drink when you have promised yourself not to.

Hermione123 Wed 18-Dec-13 11:58:58

You shouldn't drink more than every other day usually for your liver. You should complain about that dr. You clearly could benefit from a therapist. Agree you need to address it now as it'll only get harder. If you need to have something in the house to feel ok, you need to get a therapist on your private health, 6-8 cbt sessions could make a huge difference. Goodluck op!

Percephone Wed 18-Dec-13 12:01:46

Really, your GP cannot do much other than advise you to cut down and attend your local alcohol service or AA. You self refer to those. It's like me going to the GP and saying I can't stop eating cake.

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