Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

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Zoldyck
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Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

Post by Zoldyck » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:15 pm

A friend of mine who I help provide care for has been diagnosed with MS for about 5 years. For a while after their diagnosis, even though they had more difficulty getting about than before, stayed involved in activities around the community and I thought they were doing well. They had to leave their job but got involved in volunteer organizations and clubs to fill the time and seemed very happy. And I in turn was happy for them, because I saw they were finding meaning in their life.

However, sometime around 6 to 8 months ago, they dropped out of their activities for reasons I do not know (I have asked, but never given an answer that sheds any light), and increasingly spends most of their time laying in bed, drinking hard liquor, and talking to themselves. I frequently find myself walking by the bedroom and they are just laying there talking away. Mind you... this person was always a drinker, but never used to do this. They would drink a glass or two near bedtime and that was it. I actually spotted them drinking after waking up in the morning so I know it's getting bad.

They drink an obscene amount... large empty bottles are frequently found. I can't get them to stop drinking or seek help, I have tried many times. Their drinking also makes them fall more, and they have had to go to the hospital or get EMT assistance for falls related to drinking.

I'm just really frustrated and don't know what to do anymore. I feel like this person is not the person I knew a few years ago and I'm worried they are on a rapid deterioration. One of my concerns is this is not merely depression but some sort of mental decline. Their hygiene has suffered too. They clean their teeth regularly but I don't think they are showering/bathing. When they do leave the house for anything more than just a trip to the store, they use a huge amount of cologne which I think they are doing to hide body odor. This is a person who used to bathe semi-daily in their hayday, and at least once or twice a week after their diagnosis.

I have reached out to their closest friend (who admittedly they don't see in person too often) but was told they didn't notice anything strange or new about their behavior, so either it is being hidden well to people other than me, or the friend is just a loon. I can't tell anymore. As for family, I don't have any of their family information and they seem to have very little contact with family.

What options do I have here. I'm not a licensed caregiver or under any sort of contract with them. I don't have access to their doctor information, and have almost no access to their friends/family. How do I know when they need outside help and who do I talk to about that, when it comes down to it?

Has anyone dealt with something like this... any and all input would be appreciated.

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jimmylegs
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Re: Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

Post by jimmylegs » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:45 pm

i don't know if this could be any help?
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=30664
take control of your own health
pursue optimal self care at least as actively as a diagnosis
ask for referrals to preventive health care specialists eg dietitians
don't let suboptimal self care muddy any underlying diagnostic picture!

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NHE
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Re: Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

Post by NHE » Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:18 pm

Zoldyck wrote:What options do I have here. I'm not a licensed caregiver or under any sort of contract with them. I don't have access to their doctor information, and have almost no access to their friends/family. How do I know when they need outside help and who do I talk to about that, when it comes down to it?

Has anyone dealt with something like this... any and all input would be appreciated.
It sounds like your friend has developed alcoholism secondary to depression. Left to their own devices, they may very well drink themselves out of existence. The best thing you could likely do is to find a health professional that can assist in conducting an intervention. Your friend may need to go to a residential treatment center for a reboot. An addiction/recovery professional should be able to help you help your friend.

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Zoldyck
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Re: Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

Post by Zoldyck » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:18 pm

Thanks for the replies. Well. I'm still here, and still at it. And their drinking has continued despite constant pleas from me.

I appeciate the advice about the addiction/recovery professional. I don't know how to go about getting them to agree to that. What I have done up to now is be clear with any of their doctors/nurses that I talk to that they have a severe drinking problem that is having an impact on their MS. It's clear on his record that the drinking is an issue. But after many conversations they are not willing to accept any form of treatment at all.

So a current situation update: They just returned from a nearly one full month stay at a rehabilitation center to work on their walking/stability. They had great improvement while there, and were walking better. They did not drink while there of course because it is not allowed. I noticed how much more aware they were and even some determination on improving their body. Then they got released.

They started drinking right away once getting home and want to just stay in bed and drink. It's sad really, they can go all those long weeks without drinking and it seems to not phase them (no noticeable withdrawal, etc.) but the MOMENT they have their free will back they buy huge bottles of whisky and start drinking it like water. They are supposed to arrange in-home help to continue the physical therapy and even though I'm reminding them daily they are not getting it arranged. I can already sense some of the progress is falling away.

There is now a new problem in addition to the existing issues. They began having incontinence issues a few months ago and I finally convinced them to start wearing diapers to protect from accidents. But now they were having an accident 1 or 2 times per day and sometimes won't even wear the diaper, messing the bed. They seem to think this is not an issue and downplay it all the time. I have been trying to help them clean up and manage it but it is becoming too much, especially when they don't seem to think it's a big deal.

While they did have some family issues that contributed to some depression, we are constantly in conversation and I can tell they are mental-health wise doing much, much better. Their drinking is not linked to depression I am sure of that now. And when I have tried to explain to them that their behavior is causing me great distress, despite them being a friendly person and all, they just don't get it or seem to think that it's for me to have an opinion about. Even though I'm the one helping them with their problems?

I'm just so lost and helpless. I need to just leave this person but i'm in a difficult spot right now and don't know what I would do or where I would go. I feel like I am wasting my time on someone who doesn't want to live a fulfilling life, and instead only cares about drinking.

I've searched online for hours over the months trying to find similar stories and how others might be dealing with it. But I don't come up with anything useful or insightful for a situation like mine.

I have told them they need to hire someone to help because I can't be dealing with all of this on my own. They agree but aren't putting effort into getting it done. That is where I'm at right now, trying to push the matter.

I'm sorry, I don't want to just share a sob story. It's just so hard. I wish I could just escape this situation. If my friend was just willing to give it their all I would have infinite support, but that's not what is happening at all.

I envy those people with MS who actually want to take care of themselves and value the people around them that are helping. I want that so very much.

Anyway I would love to talk to anyone who is a friend/family member or caregiver dealing with alcoholism in people they know with MS.

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NHE
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Re: Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

Post by NHE » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:09 pm

Hi Zoldyck,
I've sent you a private message. You can read it via the Private Messages link at the top of the page or click the link below.

ucp.php?i=pm&folder=inbox

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Zoldyck
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Re: Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

Post by Zoldyck » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:04 am

Thank you. I have read it and am following up on your advice.

Taking everything day by day right now.

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jimmylegs
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Re: Friend with MS drinks, talks to themselves constantly

Post by jimmylegs » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:15 am

hi z i just noticed the link i had posted was broken so i switched it for something likely similar
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=30664

my only experience in this area is arm's length and a distant memory but i'm afraid that memory is of a friend of an ex who used to deliver the hard liquor to the parent who in that case was an ms patient in care and who ultimately died before time. these were people from whom i distanced myself more than a decade ago because of their generally delinquent behaviour. i hope you will put yourself first in the caregiving department and devote plenty of energy to figuring out your own next steps.
take control of your own health
pursue optimal self care at least as actively as a diagnosis
ask for referrals to preventive health care specialists eg dietitians
don't let suboptimal self care muddy any underlying diagnostic picture!

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