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Topic Alcohol and Parkinsons Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By dear On 2011.10.02 12:22 [Edit]
My husband drinks vodka almost every night now. It scares me what this is doing to him as he is already unsteady and falls easily. Any information you can share on this topic is appreciated.

By susger8 On 2011.10.04 09:51
Obviously steady drinking has potential bad effects on any person, with or without a chronic disease. With PD, when a person already may have problems with balance, dizziness, cognition, etc, this has even more potential for issues. I'm sure you already know that.

But, a person has to want to stop drinking. If your husband doesn't recognize the bad effects or for other reason doesn't want to stop, there isn't a lot you can do.

You might want to try to attend some Al-Anon meetings. I have attended some because of a relative with a drinking problem (not my PDer). The meetings were really very helpful.


By karolinakitty On 2011.10.04 11:19
I have to first say I am not a drinker.....

You don't say how much he drinks or if he drinks until he's i will say this...

I contacted a Parkie I know whose culture it is to have vodka daily... he hasn't stopped because of the disease..he has maybe 2 "shots" per day and has no adverse affects ....

We are probably the only culture that does not have some type of tradition with daily alcohol. Most cultures have some type of alcohol with meals..It is in their daily a disease coming on will not necessarily change that routine....

I guess the thing is everything in moderation...If he is over doing it then that is cause for alarm...

Then we have to think about the controversy of medicinal helps a lot of PDers but others think it is wrong.....

By LOHENGR1N On 2011.10.04 19:34

This can become a worrisome subject and thread. Many sides can be brought up pro's and con's. Relaxing effect vs balance problems compulsion vs cordial. Family history and coping. With a disease such as Parkinson's we are in a constant state of change, the progression of the disease and side-effects of our drugs. Depression, feelings of inadequacy, uselessness, frustration or just wanting to have a drink and feel like a "normal" person. It could be a "stage" of coping or grieving over the loss of so much of what we were.

I don't know the answers, what I do know from a patient's view is it doesn't matter if I quit smoking or if I drank and kept drinking or stopped I'm going to die from Parkinson's Disease. This is a fact, Parkinson's Disease is fatal. It's not a chronic condition or chronic disease. I'm not an otherwise healthy person. One can philosophize life is fatal and everyone is going to die in the end but when a terminal disease enters the equation everything changes. Perspectives change. Each copes in their own way. To a Caregiver/Partner drinking or smoking might upset you, to the patient it is another enjoyment that we're asked to give up. Parkinson's Disease rips away so much from us that many will cling to what little they can control. We can cling to things so much it looks like compulsion to others.

From a patients view a couple of drinks watching a game on the tube or sitting drowning a worm waiting for a bite. The few moments of escape and doing normal everyday stuff is worth it. The horse is out of the barn and locking the door won't do any good. Self destructive? I hope not, but to some, many perhaps a year or two less of living but marginally enjoying that time is a better life than quitting everything trying to gain a couple years bedridden with nil for a quality of life.

We're terminal, a couple of drinks might make us fall more? We're going to fall anyway if not in excess really where's the harm? We're barraged with information of the harms of things, We're a nation of this or that is bad for you and you better stop doing it. Should We use this fact of our dying to abuse tobacco or alcohol no not at all. We have enough wrong without adding to the situation but if We're not abusing them We shouldn't be subjected to over worry or having them taken away from Us either.

Communication and finding the why should be the key. Then calm discussion can ensue and a medium struck. To do otherwise amounts to kicking one when they are down. I know firsthand it is a hard road to walk inside this disease. I know at times communication breaks down. I know this disease affects the whole family and not just the patient. I know many mean well and want only the best for each other. I know this makes it hard because the view from inside at times differs greatly from the view outside looking in. I know that there seems never enough time to say all that you want to say. I also know there will be I wish I had's after the fact. I know the lines blur between the you know it's not good for you and the little enjoyment We have left. I know that now I have better communication skills left than some of my fellow patients so I tread on controversial ground and subjects from a different angle to lend voice to some who can't voice or explain things they once did. I know I rattle some and ire others but I gladly shoulder the feedback and responses. I know that We here are all in this together and that in the name of helping and looking out for one another We sometimes in the name of that will reach out and snatch a small enjoyment away without even realizing it. Leaving one feeling less like Who they once were and puzzled as to actions of withdrawing into themselves. As I said I don't know the answers, I'm just looking at things from a different perspective. Be good to each other, take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By dear On 2011.10.04 20:14 [Edit]
Thanks for your thoughts and perspectives. I should say that we both agree that if he is going to drink with the guys when we gather together for a barbecue, I do the driving now. Driving and drinking has at times been a bit of a battle ground. His rationale is that he knows his limitations and can judge when he shouldn't drive. With 22 years of Parkinson's symptoms working against him, and having been in the car while he's driving, he's lucky to be still driving at times. I have taken the position that it's best not to mess with the priviledge of driving by complicating it with alcohol and potentially putting other lives in danger. He will let go and let me do the driving under these circumstances, but presents his argument. I think I can understand where his argument comes from much better, after reading your posts. Thanks so much.

By susger8 On 2011.10.05 07:47
I do agree with you, Lohengr!n. I don't think there's a problem with a reasonable amount of alcohol -- people should have something to enjoy in their lives! I was getting the impression that the original poster's husband was overdoing it.

My dad was never much of a drinker, but he does like a small glass of wine now and then. I don't have any problem with that.


By dear On 2011.10.13 21:49 [Edit]
Nuvigil was added in November to my husband's regimine, so it may not be the effects of alcohol that are at the root of his changed behaviors. The staying up most of the night, in hyper mode, slurred speech, and balance problems that result in falls, also happen with the use of this drug and when he hasn't had any alcohol. He has a couple or so tall glasses of vodka and soda, sometimes night after night and behaves like he is drunk, slurred speech, falling and stumbling. This is so confusing.

By parkinit On 2011.10.30 16:53
Something that must not be ignored is the PD person may (when taking certain meds) become easily addicted: to gambling, to pornography, to drugs, to smoking, to alcohol, to shopping! Make sure he is not taking any meds that may his personality more susceptible to addictive behavior. Drinking until you are stumbling drunk every night is not good for anyone.

By LOHENGR1N On 2011.10.30 19:23
The original post said drinks vodka almost every night. Not sneaking it constantly daily, not finding empty bottles or bottles squirreled away in the woodpile. It scared Her because He is already unsteady and falls. Nothing was said about drinking until "stumbling drunk" every night. The mention of stumbling or the like was in reference to being unsteady even while not drinking anything or any quantity of alcohol. Yes there are medications out there that cause addictive behavior but that is what they cause a daily and most time several times daily if not constant craving for that behavior that becomes addictive.

By parkinit On 2011.11.02 18:32
Al, I was reading the above post where sometimes he is stumbling and acts drunk after drinking.

The mixture of alcohol with PD drugs is not a good mixture. I stand firm on that, Al. As a caregiver, I don't NEED this extra element of unexpected outcomes when alcohol is added to the mix. I have enough already. Thankfully, my spouse agrees that the mixture of alcohol with his PD drugs is not a good mixture - as the medical fact sheets state on some of the drugs he takes.

As a caregiver, I feel for dear because she is getting another "unknown" outcome added to her already "unknown outcomes" of her spouse on PD drugs and with Parkinson's in general. I know about addictions, so I don't need them spelled out for me. My spouse was addicted to porn - another of the side effects of the Parkinson's wonder drugs.

I heard fear and confusion in the post. I know that feeling and I want to reach out and tell her we hear her and know what she is going through. I'm trying to help the ORIGINAL poster, and if I have offended HER, my deepest apologies. I meant not to insinuate that her spouse currently is stumbling drunk every night, but that may be something to be wary of in the future.

By LOHENGR1N On 2011.11.02 23:51
parkinit, I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. However I have noticed that some posters have a habit of altering or shortening their posts on the forum lately when discussion ensues. Why, I'm not sure maybe it is so as not to offend anyone or fear that what was brought up might cause disagreeing views? Whatever the reason it robs Us of a chance to talk about and gain insight from the different sides of a problem or what might develop into a problem. By editing out most of an original post it confuses the readers who join in later and clouds the issues brought up leaving some to scratch their heads wondering what the heck are they talking about. On a few threads there were long posts and long answers only to return to the post to find the long post edited to a paragraph or two with long winded answers seemingly out of place with the original post.

Yes your answer to watch out for addiction as side effects of med's is timely and NEEDED. I was voicing a view from a patients perspective and I do believe that voice is needed to be heard from time to time to help caregivers/partners understand not only what they may be up against but why they may be experiencing what they perceive as resistance on the part of the patient. In that vein of thought I'll add to some of the great advice given here with a caution to Our loved ones. By all means keep an eye out for addictive habits, for side effects from our medications for decline in our performance but in so doing please try to watch covertly. If you catch something just jot it down or make a mental note, see if it keeps up or is repeating. We patients are always feeling self conscious when around anyone, We think all can see our shakiness, drooling, poverty of movement, shuffling gait, stooped posture and the list goes on and on I loathe to use the term paranoid but we do many times feel everyone everywhere we go is watching Us. So be sneaky, don't let on you're seeing more to our disease (or medicine side-effects) until a couple of days go by or We ask. Down play it a bit and don't jump to the worse case scenario right away. I know your life is very hard, tough however you want to describe it, I'm not saying it isn't and I'm not saying anyone is guilty of doing this but please try to remember We Parkinsonians are shying away from public outings because We feel we're being gawked at. The last thing we need is to feel that we're being observed constantly at home. If I've offended any with this it wasn't my aim. There is enough sorrow and loss with this disease without heaping on things before they come. Be wary be on guard but also enjoy what You have in the moment because in life in general We never know what the next moment will bring. Be kind to each other, take care. best of luck and hang in there.

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