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Partner refusing to see doctor

(9 Posts)
Jillybird Sun 08-Sep-19 17:09:01

I'm seeking advice from those with experience of dealing with early signs of dementia in their partners - who refuse to discuss it or to go to the doctor. My partner is bipolar, so I'm used to highs, lows and irritability. He won't take any medication because it has a reputation for making people put on weight. He is also an alcoholic and unusually agreed to seeing the doctor and allowing me to attend the visit with him last time he was on a bottle of vodka a day. The GP said there was a massive waiting list for rehab and could I handle it. I did, he did and it was hell - I lost all of May, but he was sober. He refuses to go to AA Meetings (on the grounds they are religious) and has kept slipping off the wagon since May, usually managing to stay sober if one of his own children are visiting. (Not with mine). In the last few days I have begun to realise that he is actually showing more signs of dementia than of bipolarity and drunkenness. Every time I ask him to go to the doctor, he sneers, "What can they do?" Threatens to leave if I push it (it would be a relief, but I know he's really ill so I can't say what I feel like saying!). Has anyone got any clever method of persuading their partner to see a doctor when they don't want to? He refers to them as "jumped up garage mechanics" and "useful as a chocolate teapot"...

MissAdventure Sun 08-Sep-19 17:27:20

How about the doctor calling both of you in for a health check?
Blood pressure, heart, checking out any aches and pains... memory issues...

tanith Sun 08-Sep-19 17:27:39

Not helpful I’m sorry but I would run for the hills.

Nannarose Sun 08-Sep-19 17:29:02

This is very difficult, and I think others will be along with wider advice for you, but I wanted to flag up one simple thing you can do.
Write a letter to your partner's doctor, explaining your concerns. say that you will be trying to persuade him to get an appointment, but in the meantime would like your concerns recorded - you can add 'please do not mention this letter if he does attend' if you want to. The doctor cannot actively do anything, but if your partner attends for another reason, they may ask certain questions or suggest certain tests because of what you have written.
I would also suggest (and forgive me if you have already tried this) that you find a support group for the families of alcoholics. Dementia is common in alcoholics. You could also go to the GP on your own account, to ask about support for yourself, and consider telling partner why.

MiniMoon Sun 08-Sep-19 17:55:02

When I trained as a mental health nurse, I encountered several alcoholic men suffering from Korsakoff's psychosis or dementia. It is very under diagnosed so I was just wondering.
Here's a piece about it.
It is very difficult to persuade addictive personality types that they have a problem. I can't think of any way you could persuade your husband to visit his doctor unless he sees the need.

jura2 Sun 08-Sep-19 17:58:23

Do you have children and family you could meet up with to discuss and find support?

MiniMoon, thanks for the link.

stella1949 Sun 08-Sep-19 18:07:03

If he is an alcoholic it's possible that he has Korsakoff Syndrome, ie the dementia related to alcoholism.

It is hard for doctors to diagnose the early stages of dementia with a cooperative patient, but with someone like your partner I can't see any way it could be done.

My husband had these tests done last month, and he had to have blood tests, a mental quiz-type test, and a CT scan of his brain. Obviously all of these things required cooperation on his part. I doubt that your partner would agree to any of these tests.

Your partner sounds like a nightmare to be honest. Dementia will only add to your already huge problems. I wish you luck.

Tedber Sun 08-Sep-19 18:18:58

Jillybird Toughie because professionals can only help people that want to be helped. IF your husband flatly refuses help I doubt anyone will help. He has to realise he needs to do this for himself.

Difficult to know for sure if he has any other condition as alcoholism in itself presents with many signs/symptoms of other conditions.

Tough as it is; you are probably 'enabling' him to continue as he is.

All I can advise you to do is look after yourself. He will just drag you down further and further. Be kind to yourself and tell him you have had enough and then make the move! Can't pretend it will be easy but actually it is your only option in the hope to save him. Stay strong - make plans and don't for one minute feel this is your fault or you are responsible for him. He needs to work this out for himself!

He will take one of two routes if you leave. It will either shake him up so he seeks help of his own accord OR he will kill himself with drink. No matter how hard this seems - think of yourself first and foremost. YOU only have one life too.

Feel it so much for you.

BlueBelle Sun 08-Sep-19 18:20:04

This sounds a nightmare for you and it seems you have had a rough ride with this partner a cheeky question I suppose but is he worth it do you love him enough as it is only going to get worse if he does have dementia
When my mum had dementia but was still making her own a
Appointments I did at times write to the doctor to help him know what was hoped for or needed seemed to work for us
Good luck this sounds a sad tale for you