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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am so worried about my husband. A parasite event 3 years ago triggered his issues. His pain has been on again and off again for those 3 years. It has been on and severe for the last 4 or 5 months. He had full gastro testing - diagnosis is IBS. He has been on several anti-spasmodics such as Donnatol and all the others. They worked great, but had bladder/urinary side effects so had to go off of them.. It was determined that his issues are probably anxiety driven. He is definitely a worry-wart! So, he went on Lexapro a month ago. Half dosages for the first 10 days, then full 10 mg dose for the last 20 days. About 2 weeks ago he decided he "can't take the pain" anymore so decided to supplement with shots of vodka. He is a drinker anyway with a tendency towards addiction, so that is of course a huge concern! He says the vodka helps the pain and he can get through important days and events with it. Thankfully, he is retired so does not have to hold down a job.. He now says his pain is the same if not worse than it was prior to the lexapro AND he takes shots of vodka every few hours. BUT, now he barely leaves the bedroom all day. He always would come out and get a few things done around the house.. But, not now.He is now saying he just doesn't want to live. I tried to figure out if he truly is suicidal (I don't think so) or if he is just feeling sorry for himself. I think the vodka is bringing him down further mentally. I just don't know what to do other than drag him to a psychologist unwillingly.I know there is hope in that the lexapro can still "Kick In" in the next couple of weeks. I also bought him a self-hypnosis for IBS CD program... He is on Day 3..I just got done "reading him the riot act" and am now sorry that I added to his anxiety. But, I just don't know what to do for him. I told him to stop the vodka immediately to see if that is aggravating his mental and physical condition, but he obviously doesn't want to go that route..I could use some guidance now. I don't know whether to do an intervention, ignore the alcohol for another week or two, or just let him be and get counseling for myself. After all, he is an adult. Suggestions would be so greatly appreciated!Thank you!!!
 

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Yeah stopping the vodka would be a good idea. (I wouldn't buy it for him either if I were you.)Alcohol can make symptoms worse for many IBS'ers. And if he is taking shots of vodka every few hours... ???? That's quite a bit. And his Dr should know that.. as the alcohol probably should not be mixed with the Lexapro or antispasmodics in all likelyhood. You can help yourself by going to Al-Anon meetings. See here for more info: http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/english.htmlAll the best to you and I hope he gets the help he needs.
 

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This sounds very distressing. He sounds so depressed and I know what it feels like to feel so overwhelmed and nothing you do makes it go away. Alcohol in this case is being used as a maladaptive way to cope with this and it should stop...but that is easy for us to say than for him to actually do. I think you need to be careful with your words around him and ensure that you are fully supportive and let him know how much he means to you and how much you want to help him through all of this. Has he been to this website, because there is a great deal of support here. It is easy for us to say he needs to talk with a doctor but you can just outright tell him that his behaviours are scaring you and that you love him and want him to talk about his feelings with a doctor and that you'll go with him and be there. I don't know what else to say. You can't force anyone to stop or to do a certain treatment, but can be supportive and be open and honest about how you feel when he drinks and how afraid you are when he says things like he doesn't want to live. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your responses! He agreed to cut down on the vodka as of today. And asked for my support as he goes through this phase of his recovery. I agreed and confirmed how much we are in this together. I still may talk to a therapist without him. He refuses to go.Part of his problem is he is taking a passive and "being the victim" role. I have read 4 books on IBS, thousands of pages on the internet, including this forum, and whatever I can get my hands on. He has read and done nothing to help himself. He usually goes along with what I suggest..Thanks again for your responses!
 

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So sorry to hear your story. As the sufferer I understand a fair bit of his perspective, but I don't get the bit about not looking for help.I can see why he drinks the vodka. Short term, alcohol certainly helps pain and in particular anxiety. You trade it off, knowing that it may cause problems later. The thing is long term it probably wont help.Are there any things you can do together near the house? Walk? Play cards? Some kind of sport? Just get his mind away from it, even for an hour or two. When you get stuck into a mindset, anything that lifts you above it helps. Gradually this behaviour can become more normal....... Good luck girl...
 

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My wife was fantastic when I went through my IBS two years ago. I felt that I was such a burden on her in that we weren't able to do things that we used to, and I was just so miserable.All the scans and examinations confirmed that there was nothing physically wrong with me, so I knew it was in my head and emotions, but I couldn't work out how to fix it.I was on the brink of taking valium, when the answer finally came.I've put a note in your profile and I have to say I admire anyone that stands by their partner through thick and thin, and I most certainly admire you, diplady.Cheers,Jackmat
 

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The inability to take action, especially effective action, is often a part of having depression or anxiety and the alcohol doesn't help with that (it numbs out of the feelings but it also adds to the depression in the long run). Cutting down (or cutting out) the vodka is a good idea. If he has been drinking heavily he may need to taper off depending on how much and for how long. The DT's are relatively rare, but can be serious if you are one of the unlucky ones.So the "won't do anything to help themselves" may not be just a character flaw but a symptom of the depression. Hopefully the Lexapro will help with that but if he would do cognitive behavioral therapy with the medication that is more effective most of the time than medication on its own, but a lot of people will not do therapy at all no matter what. If he can't cut down the alcohol on his own, maybe getting him into treatment for that may get him some of the other support he needs.You seeking help even if he won't go is a good idea as they can help you be in the best place you can be and what you can do that may be effective to help.
 

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Thank you for your responses! He agreed to cut down on the vodka as of today. And asked for my support as he goes through this phase of his recovery. I agreed and confirmed how much we are in this together. I still may talk to a therapist without him. He refuses to go.Part of his problem is he is taking a passive and "being the victim" role. I have read 4 books on IBS, thousands of pages on the internet, including this forum, and whatever I can get my hands on. He has read and done nothing to help himself. He usually goes along with what I suggest..Thanks again for your responses!
 

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Hopefully when he told you he would give up the vodka, he meant it. But be careful, he may start sneaking it. Being an alcoholic myself, I used to lie and say I quit and then hide booze all over the house. I was mainly lying to myself. I'm not saying spy on him, but just look around the house for hidden bottles. But, hopefully he means it and by giving up the vodka will help his IBS symptoms. Your support helps a lot as well. Good luck to you both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all who posted previously... I have an update... At the suggestion of the professional help I received, I went about my own life. I actually went out with friends a couple of times and had wonderful evenings. The second time when I returned home he came out of the bedroom and said "I think you'd better take me somewhere..I am going downhill and don't see an end to it". I jumped on this, got on the internet and found an alcohol detox center in a hospital about 30 miles away. The entire way in the car he was sobbing and crying about how much pain he was in. We got to the ER, he was helped with the pain and severe nausea and admitted to the detox center.He spent 4 nights there. He was taken off the Lexapro and given Zofran (generic ondansetron) for the nausea and pain, and Lorazepam for the anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. He was also given an anti-seizure med for a few days. His prescription when I took him home yesterday was the Zofran / ondansetron for the long term IBS symptoms. And, they gave him just 15 lorazepam for the remainder of the withdrawal and anxiety. If he needs to go back onto an anxiety med he is to make an appt with the psychiatrist or his Gastro doc who prescribed the lexapro.I have been doing internet research on the zofran, and it does indeed have a use for IBS. I don't see it on any of the literature I have printed off before, so I guess it's new. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with it? I am going to start a separate thread with this question. He is being helped with it. He is taking it as needed instead of a twice a day routine.. But after about an hour of taking it he gets relief. Before taking it at 4:15 this afternoon he last took it at 10 PM last night.We are also hoping that having no alcohol in his system will let his bowels heal by making his system more alkaline. The hospital folks said it was like drinking battery acid!Thanks again to all!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ziggy, thanks for your reply... For my hubby it is believed to be anxiety and the brain/gut disconnection. It really doesn't seem to matter what he eats. Several times he ate nothing for several days and he had the same horrible pain. Of course there was alcohol in those two days. So, if alcohol is the only culprit it should have been better. He has been alcohol free for 6 days now and if he does not take his newly prescribed zofran he has major nausea and pain.
 

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If you need extra guidance, free support does come with the IBS Audio Program - you have done a fantastic job of looking after your husband... there IS hope. You can call 877-898-2539, or go to the contact page on http://www.healthyaudio.com if you have any questions regarding the mind-body aspect of IBS - you are already taking care of the physical aspects - no amount of hypnotherapy will address some of the extra challenges you are going through, but it does address the mind-gut part. I myself was on every med there was - including anti-depressants, valium, SSRIs too for the IBS, (had it since 1983) and having symptoms ongoing certainly can cause depression - so I can relate. I was down to crackers and water, and still had horrific D and pain before the hypno helped me - it was a long journey.All the best to you - I hope that things turn around...
 
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