Partners ill health

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1 ur ago my partner was diagnosed with cirrosis of the liver an given 1-5 yrs. he is 52 an only drinks 2-3 times a week, problem is on nights out it can b 30 pints a night. At first he stopped, then he would have a couple. I got him to try 0.0% alcohol free beers which only seemed to make it worse. After 1st 6 months it had improved slightly but I know next app in Aug it's gonna b so much worse. I have tried every senario ie cry, shout, plead, but it's not working. The doctor has given him nothing but I get him to take milk thistle. However I don't think it helps if u stil drink. He is a social drinker as am I. But he is very over weight(20 stone). I suppose I am just looking for some advice or input into what the doctors should b doing or treatment he could b getting? Sorry for rambling on I just don't know what I should b doing to help an trying to prevent any more damage.

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  • Posted

    Hi Strpey. I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2006. I am sure it was from deity needles. I also am an alcoholic. As long as I drank the worse my liver enzymes were. The doctor wanted be to do treatments. The unfortunate part was they could not give me a 50/50 chance it would give me alive, so I turned it down(not to much I watched my sister in law go through shell while she took them) they say it is worse the being treated for cancer. From what I seen it's worse. Anyways I did a lot of praying and asked that every time I smelt or drank I would get sick and not drink again. I asked for the taste to be nasty and to not want another drink. I also asked that I would not have any side effects. Well it worked, I went to drink a glass of beer and wine and got sicker then a dog. I can not stand the smell of either. I haha no withdraws. I praise the Lord every day! This August i will be clean and sober for 7 years. My blood work is coming down on numbers. Last year at this time they were 71,Went to do blood work and they are down to 68.I have been drinking since I was 11 and now I'm 56. Plan on continuing with pray, because there is days I think I need a drink,but God gives me something else to do. Before I know it temptation is gone. If social drinkers don't help them with your prone. Not drinking can help in the long runs.f pray and hope you are able to stop (as I did d : love and pray for both of you.

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    • Posted

      So glad to hear a story like yours, which is that u are fighting an getting through it. Bless u an may u continue to get stronger. My prob is my partner isn't alcohol dependent. That's probably why it's hard for him to deal with. In his eyes he only does what his mates do at weekends an what me an my mates do at weekends. Does the herbal/ milk thistle do anything positive if he still drinks ? Thanx also for your kind words.

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  • Posted

    Find someone to sit down with him to talk. Try as
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  • Posted

    I can probably give you a detailed answer, but before I do, I just want to check that you are still following the thread. If so, please give a short response to confirm.
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  • Posted

    Okay Stripey, there is two parts to this, one the psychological part and second the physical part. Once you've read my answer, you will probably have more questions and some responses, plus it is sometimes difficult to answer everything in one post.

    I'm not a doctor, but a little over two years ago, I ended up in hospital with jaundice and suspected liver failure and at the same time, a massive stroke (bleed on the brain) brought on by unchecked high blood pressure, brought on by years of heavy drinking and I've spent the last two years as an outpatient at various hospitals plus a visit to an alcohol recovery centre/charity, so I am somewhat qualified in that respect.

    On the psychological side, the shout, plead, cry, every emotion in the book is a tricky one. The first thing to understand, is don't think an alcoholic doesn't recognise the seriousness of their situation, it is very few and far between that are oblivious. It is not that they don't want to change, it is that they can't change (more in the physical reply). It is very depressing to know that you are killing yourself and the body starts to pack up and he will know these warning signals, even if he pretends everything is alright.

    My advice, is do not try confrontation or being angry, this will only push him away and give him more justification to go and drink - because it 'is your fault' for always giving him a hard time. The best thing is to try and work with him, however hard it is. Sorry to say soemthing so 'dark' but if the doctor is right and he carries on as is, he has an average of 3 years left and would you want them to be full of rows and that would be your memories.

    Before I start a second post (to discuss what should be done), a bit about why people end up in this situation. people start drinking for a reason, it may be that they suffer from anxiety, it may be how they cope with a stressful job (me) or it could be something mundane, such as boredom.

    The problem comes with prolonged drinking, alcoholism then becomes a disease. The two parts of the brai, GABA (acclerator) and NMDA (brake) go out of synch, because alcohol retrains the brain. This is why they say alcohol is a depressent and yet nearly everyone says it makes them happy. The balance is altered and where being sober was normal, being drunk or mildy intoxicated is the new normal.

    So when alcoholics are sober, their body and brain crave alcohol, just to get back to normality. It isn't only the neural pathways side of it, it also affects the body, by affecting the central nervous system (CNS) which is why alcoholics have the shakes in the morning, or when the alcohol has disappeared from their system.

    On to the second post and advice on what to do. I don't spell check, so expect some, with typos.

     

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  • Posted

    I would first question the drinking figures. If someone drinks 30 pints on a night, they will become alcohol dependent, that means that tehy can't get trhough a day without a drink, their body and mind will not let them. So I suggest it is more regular than that, just because that is all you see, doesn't mean that that is all that is consumed. I would question the 30 pints in a night, I'm 6'2" and built like a rugby player and i don't think I've ever managed more than 10 and even that is going some for me, normally 8 would be my max.

    First thing to understand is most GPs will not help much, they don't see alcoholism as a disease, despite so many medical reports stating that it is. They also do not seemed to be directed by the GMC to deal with it, rather, refer you to an alcohol recovery charity (government funded).

    If the GP has given 1-5 years, then some tests must have been done? To be that definitive, ask him what the Child-Pugh category is and what the score in that category is.

    The doctor should have done a complete set of blood tests and you should ask for a copy (you are entitled to your own records) and learn what they mean - ask here if you can't understand them. The doctor should have sent him to the hospital to have an appointment with the gastroenteroligist, who should then have arranged for an abdominal ulatrasound to check liver, gallbadder, pancreas and kidneys. The gastro should also have arrange for a gstroscopy (camera down the throat, to check the oesophagus and stomach, particularly for portal hypertension and oesophageal varices which are quite often prevalent in people with cirhosis.

    You need to take charge of the situation and start asking, forget the usual doctor-patient role of parent-child - you must start asking for things to happen, asking for an explanation of what the results are and what is the next plan, do not leave it to the doctor.

    That's the action side discussed, now medication. I'm basing this on the doctor's prognosis of life expectancy (and what kind of condition your husband would be in). Thiamine, needed for memory and concentration. Vitamin B compound strong (not any old vitamin b, exactly as I have written it) to replace important vitamins lost/not produced through drinking that help main and support many body functions. Folic acid to help metabolism. Many people with cirhosis, have the liver damaged so that it does not do all its required functions, one of which is removing toxins such as ammonia from the bloodstream whcih can cause hepatic encephalopathy for which lactulose should be taken daily. Last time I looked, those four were avaible OTC.

    Depending on what other things could be wrong, the following may be required. Omeprazole for acid relux/gastritus/oesophgeal varices (again OTC). If he has portal hypertension, something like Carvedilol. With his weight, I imagine he has high blood pressure and if that is the case, he may need medication to bring it down, plus alcohol pushes blood pressure up, in which case a CCB like Amlodipine would be warranted. And if he suffers from peripheral oedema (swollen feet & ankles) then a diuretic like Spironolactone.

    I would advise asking your doctor about medications and print this out for reference. Although 5 out of the 8 are I think OTC, you should really be getting them on prescription. If you pay for prescriptions, you can get a yearly prepaid card for less than a tenner a month that covers all NHS prescriptions for whoever's name is on it.

    If, you get some sense and direction out of your GP and your husband agrees to do something, your doctor is likely to want to direct you to an ARC, which is normal, but doesn't absolve him from everything, he is still responsible for your husband's health.

    ARCs are rubbish, filled with staff who really have no understanding of how to help someone, other than talk inane rubbish to them and I speak from experience of having been to two, the first I just walked out of. But, if you want medication to help with cutting down/stopping, then unfortunately, that is where you have to go. Being armed with knowledge and being forceful is the key, I had to learn the hard way, you don't have to.

    There are two main types of medication. Nalmefene/naltrexone and Campral.

    The former affects the GABA/NMDA which release the dopamine and endorphins which thereby takes away some of the craving for the alcohol and reduces the consumption.

    Campral usually follows a short detox - usually diazepam (vallium) given at home for about a week, so that the bottom can cope without alcohol. Campral tries to return the GABA/NMDA back to normal, so that the overwhelming craaving to have a drink is gone. Almost a reboot of the brain and it actually works, it stops you thinking about alcohol - I know because I used it.

    Your husband would be better off with the latter, but telling someone who likes a drink, never again, doesn't usually work, so probably the former for him, at least to begin with.

    Right, I think I've covered most of it, my brain is becomming frazzled now. I'm sure you'll have questions. BTW, there is also an alcohol section on the forum.

    http://patient.info/forums/discuss/browse/alcohol-consumption-23

    You find a mix of people there, some good, some average and some not so. Very supportive though and it might be good for you to post on there just to listen to other stories.

     

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