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Alcohol support

Alcoholics and the nhs

3 replies

pumpkinandpecan · 26/02/2019 19:32

We've been battling this for a while and I'm just wondering what the experience of others is.

My dad has been a functioning alcoholic for about 30 years. Within the last 5-10 years he has been unable to keep up with work due to a couple of accidents that slowed him down a lot physically. His latest accident left him with spinal injuries which has drastically changed his mobility. Aside from this he also has heart problems which he takes medication for. He regularly visits the doctor for all these issues and they seem on top of it.

However, he has mentally declined drastically over the last year, it looks like dementia and I suspect it started around 7 years ago when he was 59. The doctor is unwilling to investigate or diagnose this and We are all struggling with it. We suspect Korsakoff syndrome but they will not test for or diagnose this. Aside from a joke about how he must have "addled his brain with alcohol" we've been left in the dark and it means we're unable to care for him properly or get the support and information we need as a family. My mum is suffering with stress and doesn't have the strength to keep on at them.

I've been to visit today and he's a shadow of his former self, completely vacant, put his clothes on the wrong way round, forgets basic tasks like boiling the kettle.

Is this how alcoholics are generally treated by doctors? Genuine question, because I can't understand why they would refuse to test or diagnose serious mental decline.

OP posts:
qwerty3 · 26/02/2019 19:46

Hi, sorry to hear about your experience. We have been having a similar issue with a relative. Their GP refused to refer them to the memory clinic unless they cut down their alcohol intake.
They recently saw a different GP for something unrelated and the new GP suggested that they were referred to the memory clinic for an assessment. They are now on the waiting list. Same doctors surgery, but a different outlook depending on which GP they saw.
Perhaps worth seeking another opinion from a different GP?

pumpkinandpecan · 26/02/2019 21:10

Thank you! That's good to hear.

I have advised my parents to change surgery, hopefully that will help.

OP posts:
LaFreaka · 01/03/2019 08:38

This has not been our experience - Dad went through an emotional stressful time a few years ago which triggered his normally very heavy drinking to go completely out of control, he was behaving in a very uncharacteristic manner - the gp took the family’s concerns seriously and had a conversation with my dad about getting tested for dementia - he passed and when the stressful trigger had been dealt with dad’s drinking went back to normal for him, which was still excessive but manageable.

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