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Can I have my alcoholic father sectioned/seen to without consent?

(31 Posts)
fiddlemethis Sun 03-Feb-13 08:43:15

Hi all, my father has drank all his life but over the last few years it has seemed to got worse, he looks completely vacant, he doesn't have any interest in anything apart from booze. He has also been collapsing (due to his weak hip of course confused) and falling down the stairs. He gets very out of breath if he walks anywhere so as a result he sits in his chair, drinking his wine and does little else. He takes various tablets and I'm sure he shouldnt be drinking anything let alone 3 bottles of wine a day.
My question is this, could I get someone to assess him and take him off for treatment? I think he will die soon unless someone intervenes and forces him to stay off it for a period of time. Hopefully that would make him assess how much he has been under alcohol's control.
Todays episode has been my mother calling me up in tears because he is collapsed on the floor upstairs (conscious) and can't get up and has shit and pissed himself.....nice.
My mother won't go for any help, she seems to think that talking in groups isnt for her but I think she is actually worried about my dads reaction to it.

Unfortunately, it's very much a case of him having to want to be helped. However, your mum can get support and help to cope and there are resources available.

The national drinkline can give help and advice and guide her to what services are available in her area, as can her GP.

If your Dad does not want to be treated for his alcoholism, there is absolutely nothing you can do to help him. He has to want to help his own self, the will to change has to come from him. Having him taken to a rehab clinic is doomed to failure (particularly if the move is forced on him) because he does not want to go there in the first place.

The 3cs of alcoholism are ones you would do well to remember:-
You did not cause this
You cannot control this
You cannot cure this

Who buys the wine?. His wife?. His wife is also playing a role here in his alcoholism; she is enabling her H and is not helping at all. All enabling gives her is a false sense of control. I note unsurprisingly that she won't seek help either; she is as caught up in her H's alcoholism as he is.

You cannot help anyone who does not want to be helped. Sorry but that is fact.

Hard as it is you really need to detach from them and I would suggest that you speak to Al-anon. They can help you.

chubbymomie2012 Sun 03-Feb-13 09:09:53

Im so sorry to hear this Fiddle, i know how frustrating it can be. My Godmother was an alcoholic. She used to be a vibrant social butterfly then as she got older the grip ofnAlcohol tightened until she got so bad she couldnt leave the house and her Bitch of a sister used to feed her the booze so she would sleep and be no bother. My aunt used to fall over and slur speech all the time and we put it down to booze but we found out last year after a bad fall that she had a brain tumour, alot of the problems were down to that and we thought she was drunk. we tried on various accasions to get her help as she was actually a danger to herself but like the previous poster said, if she didnt want the help there was nothing we could do.
i think ou need to help ur mummy be strong and not give ur daddy the booze. easy for me to say i know but my aunt (godmother) died last year and mum and i wish we had done more to stop her horrible sister giving her the booze.
good luck.

fridayfreedom Sun 03-Feb-13 09:21:23

You can't use the mental health act and section someone for alcohol misuse.
As said before he needs to want to stop and accept help for something to be done. Alcohol services will only accept those who want to stop and accept that they have a problem.

I am sorry, this must be really hard for you.
I am actually half fuming at your mother on your behalf. sad
How dare she ring you up and inflict these troubles on you, when she does little to help the situation but has been enabling an alcoholic for years. If I were you I would have a proper rant at your mother for enabling an alcoholic and not getting a sick person the help he needs, for alcoholism is an illness.

izzyizin Sun 03-Feb-13 09:28:51

If your df has collapsed, has urinated and defecated, and is unable to get up unaided and/or clean himself up, your dm should call the ambulance service.

If the paramedics decide not to take him to hospital for physical assessment of his mobility/breathing problems etc, they will forward a report to his GP which should alert him/her to the difficulties your df and, by default, your dm are experiencing and this may pave the way for some intervention.

In short, no help will be forthcoming unless various agencies are made aware of the situation.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 03-Feb-13 09:33:31

You can call the local ambulance yourself. You can even call the GP yourself. Explain everything and have them go round. Your mother is clearly not up to doing anything herself and you'll have to circumvent her.

OeufsEnCocotte Sun 03-Feb-13 09:39:23

OP, you have my sympathies. My late father died from his alcoholism. Six months before he died I visited his GP specifically to ask if DF could be sectioned in a last ditch attempt to try and stop him from drinking himself to death.

The answer was no, as I wasn't DF's next of kin (despite being his eldest child). DF's wife (his "official" next of kin) wasn't interested in trying to help him and refused to consider a section.

I second what other posters are saying about calling an ambulance when things are bad. Sadly by the time my dad was hospitalised it was too late and he died 3 weeks later from cirrhosis.

Good luck OP.

PolkaDotsandPumpkin Sun 03-Feb-13 09:49:01

OP, I'm sorry you have to deal with this. It's such a complex situation - alcoholism is extremely destructive. I don't have any direct experience or any wise words but you have my sympathy.
One thing to consider - your DM may be enabling the your DF by supplying booze, but if your father were to suddenly stop drinking it could very well kill him. He would need medical supervision and probably hospitalisation to stop drinking at this point.

fiddlemethis Sun 03-Feb-13 12:37:45

Thank you all so much for your replies. I think my mum definately "fannies around" my dad, she makes sure he eats and will try to coax him into eating whenever she can. She has stopped going to the shop for wine over the last few months so he struggles there each day and comes back wheezing and barely able to breathe. Every time I see her she gives me a run down as to what he has eaten and drank and how he has behaved.
I actually went to al anon a few months ago and did find it useful, I think my mum would really benefit from it but she is unwilling to go because she doesnt want other people knowing her business, stupid I know. As if they can't see my father is an alcoholic!
This sounds terrible but I feel like I'm waiting for him to die, I know its going to be soon.
My mother has said she will be visiting the family GP but she has been saying that for months. I don't give a stuff about my dad being upset with me so when we have had ambulances out in the past its always been me who calls them. Maybe I should just call the doctor direct. Only problem is that my dad will look him in the eye and swear he only drinks a bottle a day.
I feel like I dont want to see him anymore but I have 2 little ones who he wouldnt get to see then. I feel like if he and my mum were separated I wouldnt be as bothered, I'd leave him to destroy himself but its driving my mother into an early grave. Its just awful.

drizzlecake Sun 03-Feb-13 16:49:24

Your father has to decide to stop drinking and your mother has to decide to step away and get herself a life.
I don't think you can do much in either case.
Very sad but I would say the best you can do is reduce contact as things are not going to end happily and why would you get dragged into this, you have your own family to look after.
Just give your mum the number of Al-Anon, if you aren't there for support she might turn to them.

I feel like I dont want to see him anymore but I have 2 little ones who he wouldnt get to see then

I feel like I dont want to see him anymore but I have 2 little ones who he wouldnt get to see then

fiddlemethis,

Re your comment (that I repeated in error, sorry about that) re your children and your alcoholic dad.

Does he deserve to see them at all, what's he going to be like if you take your children around there?. You'd have to watch them all like a hawk and besides which its a bad idea.

I would think very carefully about them seeing either of your parents at all now; they are not exactly bringing anything positive into their or even your lives are they?. They are both negative role models. Do your children really need to see their drunkard of a grandad and his enabling wife, your children certainly won't thank you for doing that to them.

All you can do re your parents is leave them to it; they do not want your support or help and your mother just wants to sound off on you because she can and she knows that you're soft and you'll listen. It remains grossly unfair on her part that she called you in the first place to offload re your Dad; she should be talking to Al-anon instead. But she will not so leave her to it.

Detach is all you can do and concentrate primarily on your own children.

tribpot Sun 03-Feb-13 17:08:02

Yes, I'm sorry. You are not doing anyone any good by taking your children to see your father.

I would tell his GP - you can declare it to him/her, it's just not possible for the GP to discuss any details of your father's medical record with you.

Your mother is making her choice, just as he is making his. She will probably be mortified if you push the issue with the GP but it's the best thing you can do to help her now.

I think you need to return to Al-Anon to help deal with the terrible truth that Atilla quoted in her first post. You cannot help this situation.

fiddlemethis Sun 03-Feb-13 17:45:45

yes, you are all right....its a very sad situation but after speaking with my brother my mother has always protected my father and excused his ways, sometimes just denying that they ever happened in the first place. Do you know, she took my brother to the doctor as a little boy because he was getting so distraught at the fact my father wouldnt give him a kiss or a cuddle. My mum wouldn't even confront him on this so had to use the doctor as a go between, getting the doctor to pull him up on his behaviour.When I mentioned this to her a few days ago she just put it down to "the way he is".
I am going to tell my mother that she is welcome to come around to my house but I won't be taking my children there anymore and she is only welcome if she does not mention my father and his behaviour. I really couldn't cut my children off from my mother, I think they are the only good thing that brings her joy in her life at the moment.

dondon33 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:40:16

Sounds like your mum will always protect him - he knows this. Even now if he's struggling to the shops by himself at some point he will deteriorate and won't be able to do that - who's going to have to go then? yup! your mum.

Regarding what some people are saying about not supplying him with alcohol - yes it's enabling but it's very dangerous if he suddenly stops after a long time abusing - Alcohol withdrawal seizures are not pleasant to witness but can happen, usually after an alcoholic is over 12 hours dry and the GABA receptors in the brain wake up, hence why during a medically assisted detox - some form of benzodiazepine drug is used.

I hope your Dad manages to sort himself out soon.

Unless a person is a serious danger to others, I'm afraid you have no legal or moral right to force unwanted medical treatment on him/her. All you can do is detach yourself as much as possible.

Flojobunny Sun 03-Feb-13 22:18:57

This is so frustrating. Have you tried tough love with your mum? Giving it to her straight? Telling her to stop being a bloody martyr and leave him?
I suspect she wouldn't listen anyway but no harm in planting

Flojobunny Sun 03-Feb-13 22:20:37

No harm in planting the seed anyway. She might just find the strength one day.
Have u invited her to stay with you? Given her options to leave that are less scarey? Would she not go on holiday without him?
As for him, nothing you can do.

Flojobunny Sun 03-Feb-13 22:22:35

Or maybe go for the emotional angle. Explain to your mum that she's facilitating his death by supporting this terrible behaviour and that she'd be helping him by leaving as it might just be the shock he needs to change.

Muminwestlondon Sun 03-Feb-13 22:34:22

fiddlemethis,

I am sorry that you and your family are going through this - my own father died as a result of alcoholism aged 48.

Unfortunately I agree with other posters in that unless he wants to seek help himself there is nothing you can do. It sounds like he is already quite ill - perhaps he is drinking more because he is worried about his ailments. To be blunt I think it is too late to help him and it sounds like he is not willing to stop drinking - even if he did it is unlikely his health will improve significantly. There is absolutely nothing you can do, you need to accept that.

Do not blame your mum for being his "enabler". You both need support over the coming months. Perhaps you and your mum can visit the GP together about support for her and you. If he is ill she will not want to leave him. At the very least counselling might be an idea to get you through the day to day misery you are experiencing.

Pilgit Sun 03-Feb-13 22:54:51

I am in a similar situation. Me and my Dsis refuse to take our DC to see our dad. He can come and see them whenever he wants. He has seen my DD once in the last 2 year (she isn't 4 yet). He is an alcoholic, enabled by his, quite frankly, mad partner (I just don't get why she does the things she does - eastenders has nothing on her!) and we won't have them subjected to their cat piss and alcohol infested hovel. It is totally understandable (and right in my opinion) to not take your DC there. You cannot help him unless he wants to be helped. All you can do is not close the door and be there when/if he decides to accept the help. I hope that he does decide the accept the things he cannot change, change the things he can and learns the wisdom to know the difference.

fiddlemethis Tue 05-Feb-13 09:02:43

Dondon, would withdrawing involve hallucinating? When my dad went into hospital about 7 years ago he didnt have access to alcohol and had about 3 days of hallucinations, of course it was all down to something else as far as he was concerned. I am going to have a chat with my mum, we are going to see the doctor together but that is as much involvement as I want with him now. My mum seems to buy all this "I'll cut it down" nonsense but until he tells me he is going to get professional help I don't want to know. And that includes from my mum. I'm going to have to tread carefully with my mum though, she has got very bad nerves and I fear if I was too scathing on her contribution to my dad it might just tip her over the edge into a breakdown.
Its her I feel sorry for, she has not enjoyed any of her life, she grew up in an abusive home, then married my dad (to escape I think) and had a father to her children who had no involvement and offered no support, his alcoholism developed more year by year (the pub always came first, he spent his entire inheritance from his mum on drink) and then my brother had heroin addiction and both used and still use cannabis. She retired from work and now she has to be a carer to my dad. She will go to the grave having never enjoyed any aspect of her life.
Sorry for bumbling on.

Flojobunny Tue 05-Feb-13 09:11:56

OP there isn't much u can do. For whatever reason, your mum has chosen to live this life. She could walk away at any time. She obviously gets something from it that she doesn't want to walk away from.
My grandmother was an alcoholic, not that those words were ever use, she got progressively worse and for years everyone tiptoed around then when we tried to help her she cut us off. I felt sorry for my grandad as he was stuck in the middle between his daughter/grand daughter and his wife. But one day I realised that he is a grown adult and has chosen to put his wife before the rest of us and at the moment it changed everything as I realised he had chosen to fuel her alcoholism.

Snorbs Tue 05-Feb-13 09:40:12

Alcohol withdrawal can indeed cause hallucinations. My ex gets them when she periodically dries out. Three bottles of wine a day is a huge amount of alcohol. He's permanently drunk; all that changes is just how drunk he is.

If he stopped drinking overnight he'd be at significant risk of seizures if not worse. Alcohol is one of the few drugs that can kill you during withdrawal.

The sad truth of the matter is that no matter how much better you think his life would be if he stopped drinking, he doesn't agree. He can stay permanently pissed for the rest of his life and provided he didn't cause a public nuisance or tried to drive he'd be breaking no laws.

For whatever reason your mother is wrapped up in his alcoholism almost as much as he is. This kind of co-dependency is desperately sad and can be all-consuming. It's very hard to break out of that kind of lifetime habit. And it's very easy for additional bystanders such as yourself to get dragged into it too.

You do have the right to re-define your relationship with your father and your mother to protect yourself from the effects of his drinking. Eg, when she phones you to talk about him being passed-out drunk, do the broken-record thing: "Your father's on the floor and I can't wake him up!" "Call an ambulance." "But I don't want him to..." "Call an ambulance." "But then everyone will..." "Call an ambulance." "You don't understand, it's just..." "I'm going to put the phone down now so you can call the ambulance." Same for when she wants to just complain about his drinking, but substitute "Speak to the GP".

You have my sympathies. Alcoholism is a horrific addiction and the fall-out on friends and families can be severe. It distorts relationships into groteseque parodies of what they should really be about. You cannot change him. But you can change how you react to the chaos and drama he creates.

dondon33 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:35:43

Fiddle - Snorbs just answered that question. So yeah the hallucinations your Dad suffered were most likely due to no alcohol. It's part of the withdrawal process called Delirium Tremens (DT's) and typically happen between 6-48 hrs after stopping alcohol - then the risk of withdrawal seizures kicks in around 3-5 days after withdrawal, although it can be earlier/later.
It's for this reason that high doses of Diazepam or Chlordiazepoxide are used during a medical assisted detox - these drugs quieten and substitute alcohol in the GABA receptors in the alcoholics brain so it's not such a shock to the system - hence why the body doesn't have the above symptoms during the treatment. It's usually around 5-7 days in hospital to do a detox properly and safely.
Some of these symptoms could possibly be relieved if your Dad is not deficient in Thiamin (vit B1) but many many chronic Alcoholics are. I'll let you look for yourself if you want to, there's too much info about it and most, for the Alcoholic, doesn't make pleasant reading.

When a person is physically and chemically addicted it goes above and beyond just the need/want to have a drink and be pissed.

Many if not most large Hospitals in the UK have an addiction ward and an Alcohol team but you must be referred by the GP and you must work with them - the alcoholic must reduce their intake while they wait for the detox, begin counselling sessions too sometimes and have appointments with the alcohol team. When they are happy then the person can be admitted into hospital to begin. As you can imagine your Dad would have to be 100% committed to this for it to work.
If your Dad was taken to hospital in an emergency alcohol related situation and your Mum said he wants to detox, he's an alcoholic (of course your Dad would still need to agree if he was capable) then some hospitals would begin it immediately (where I've worked in some places not 2 miles apart, 2 hosps had different policies)

Is your Dad aware that there's so much help available to him? from the actual detoxing, counselling to medication he can take to help keep alcohol out if he doesn't feel strong enough to resist temptation at first.

I do think your Mum needs to take a look at the bigger picture and maybe educate herself in some of the darker stuff like mentioned before but don't be too hard on her- yes of course she can walk away - but something keeps her there, be it love, worry or fear. She's lived with this for a long time and has been complicit in helping your Dad hide it - it's probably become a 'normality' to her now. Maybe she could speak to her own GP and get all the factual information of how to help without the enabling, if not the GP would be able to put her in touch with a local Addictions counselling service which family and friends can also use for advice.

I really feel for you fiddle it's not an easy place to be but ultimately whatever you decide is acceptable or not in YOUR life and therefore your own family, is the most important.

Lemonylemon Tue 05-Feb-13 13:53:40

OP: My Mum is a recovering alcoholic. Much like your Dad, she was having falls. After a couple of years, her blood levels were through the floor. I think her haemaglobin level was about 5.5 or something. She was thiamin deficient too. She was fobbing my brother, sister and I off with different stories, so my sister rang my Mum's GP. It turned out that my Mum's GP (who is my GP also) was also very worried about my Mum. My Mum at this stage had had a second bad fall.

My Mum got taken to hospital where she partially dried out as the consultant ignored the liver and concentrated on diverticulitis. Mum was discharged and drank again to a lesser extent. She had another fall where she fell down the stairs, banged her head on a radiator and lay there for about 9 hours.

My sister found her and got her taken to hospital again. This time, they took us seriously and listened to us telling them about her drinking. She had a blood transfusion, a saline drip, a calcium drip (to counteract high potassium levels), had the ascites drained off from her abdomen and was put on high vitamin B shots.

She was told that if she didn't stop drinking, she would be dead quite soon. In fact, she was given 6 months to live in March last year. She has had intensive counselling and has carers going in twice a day (set up by the council through the hospital).

We have prepared ourselves for the worst, but hoped for the best. Mum has made it through Christmas, which is better than predicted, but it is one day at a time. She's an adult and as such, has the choice to look after herself or not.

The ripples run wide. At the end of the day, you can only do so much and then your little family comes first before someone else.

Lemonylemon Tue 05-Feb-13 13:55:01

Oh, forgot to say that my Mum was also delusional and bloody argumentative about it too. That was down to withdrawing from alcohol.

fiddlemethis Tue 05-Feb-13 14:06:38

Thank you all for taking time to talk and share your knowledge and experiences, I am finding it a huge help in staying afloat right now. My dad won't even accept he has an alcohol problem, let alone think about seeking help about it, I think he is never sober enough to see it. If you mention about him drinking too much he just looks at you like you are crazy and shakes his head like he can't fathom why you might be saying it. I guess that gives me my answer doesn't it, I can either be in his life and keep being a part of the drama and upset that it causes or I can withdraw and protect myself and my children.
The silver lining on the cloud is that I myself am now very aware of how much I drink, I have got a tendancy to drink for a few nights in a row then stop myself but I have had enough of it, I don't want any part of it in my life anymore. I dont think my dad chose to be like this, he has used it for so long and now it controls him instead of the other way around. I dont EVER want to be controlled by alcohol.
I will try to get the doctor to speak to my mum about some support for her, she might take more notice if it comes from him

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