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My father-in-law is refusing medical help

Discussion in 'Questions About Treatment' started by anne16, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. anne16

    anne16 Active Contributor

    My father-in-law is an alcoholic (at least, that is how we see him and which he doesn't want to admit). His children, including my husband, is asking him to seek help but he won't listen. He's been like this for years, as far as my husband could remember - he's been drinking everyday since he and his siblings are still little children.

    Most of the time, they leave him on his own to avoid heated arguments. However, just recently, he was diagnosed with gallstones and have to undergo surgery to remove them. But he won't go, not even to go to the hospital for further tests. The only time he did was this instance when they found out about the gallstones.

    As of this posting, not one of us can convince him to get medical attention.
  2. AFKATafcar

    AFKATafcar Community Champion

    Some people refuse medical attention for one reason or another, and it's nearly impossible to convince them otherwise. I would speak to his doctor in order to see what options there are for getting him the care he needs, whether he wants it or not. Various state laws cover people that refuse medical treatment that's deemed necessary. Otherwise, there's not much that you can do.
  3. anne16

    anne16 Active Contributor


    My sisters-in-law are setting up an appointment with the doctor sometime this week. We need to know what options are available and the time frame involve. They are also contacting their aunt (my father-in-law's only sister) to help us convince the old man. Hopefully, before the end of the week, we have some sort of action plan.
  4. jbbarn

    jbbarn Active Contributor

    He is probably afraid that if he's hospitalized, he will experience withdrawal symptoms from the alcohol. Since he is a fully functioning adult, I don't know if there is anything your family can do to force the issue. I sure hope you can somehow convince him to get physical help, and get him to agree to detox.
  5. anne16

    anne16 Active Contributor

    We are doing some research right now on how to best help him. And you are right, we can't just drag him to the hospital, one time his daughter did that, he made a scene and yelled at people in the hospital, even to the poor taxi driver who just happen to stop at them when his daughter called for one.
  6. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    What stands out here is "how to best help him". It sounds like you're trying to help him, but he does not really want to help himself. If you're going to try and force the situation, like I have had to with my father, you are going to have to make life miserable for him until he does what he needs to do. It sucks. It seems juvenile and like something that you should not have to do, but in order to push the situation, which may be life threatening, you need to present it in a way that there is no other possible option.
    Joseph and anne16 like this.
  7. jbbarn

    jbbarn Active Contributor

    I agree. It's very hard for them to accept any help that they have not asked for. We tried this for a family member once, and all it did was alienate him further. He did finally get off drugs and alcohol, but he had to hit rock bottom, and decide on his own that it was time.

    I LOVE your Ayn Rand quote!:)
    Nick W. likes this.
  8. xSentaru

    xSentaru Active Contributor

    As @jbbarn said, maybe one of his reasons is how alcohol will affect him if he stops using it. In my personal view, this is maybe one of the most reasons people fear/refuse help from medical centers or even support groups. You've got to convince him nothing bad will happen and you need to be here for him at all cost.
  9. Thejamal

    Thejamal Active Contributor

    It sounds like everyone around him has done all they can to try and get him the help. At some point, he has to be willing to help himself and it doesn't sound like he's willing to do that. There's only so much you and your family can do; all you can do is continue to try and get him to go get the help he needs or eventually just walk away from the situation. From personal experience with my grandmother who treated my dad like absolute crap, it just gets to a point where its not even worth it anymore, family or not.
  10. anne16

    anne16 Active Contributor

    I hope it doesn't end up that way, though there is a big possibility that it will come out the same. You are right, he needs to want to be helped, because whatever we do will be futile if he doesn't want to help himself. It is frustrating and feel hopeless.
    Nick W. likes this.
  11. smartmom

    smartmom Senior Contributor

    My uncle is the same way. He's been hospitilized before and doctors told him that if he does not stop drinking that he would kill himself. Guess what, he is still drinking. I believe he wants to stop but he has a serious problem that he needs help with. I feel bad but all I can do is pray.
  12. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    This must be so hard to deal with. The only possible way around this would be to see if he can be admitted on an involuntary basis. I'm not sure how the laws work in your area but here in the UK, we could argue that his alcoholism is affecting his judgement. It could be worth looking into.
  13. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Well, personally, I agree with him. I am sure this can be taken care of without surgery. I don't know but I certainly would try holistic before surgery. I think I remember something about lemon juice or lemon water dissolving the stones. Drink a ton of it to flush the system or like a glass or two in the morning. Maybe olive oil too. It was some kind of mixture.
  14. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    Yes, my sister's father in law was dying of cancer and refused medical assistance too. It wasn't until two of his son's insisted he go to the hospital that he did. He died actually just two days after that. In the case of your fatherinlaw. Gallstones aren't fatal and he would no doubt feel much better if he had them out...Maybe talk about him being a good example for his grandchildren, anything that would work.
  15. To Get a medical treatment still wholly revolves around the patients' choice. So you have to tweak his choice more. Sweet talk him into seeing the benefits. Understand his personality; likes and dislikes. Leverage on some of the treatment benefits that correlates with his likes; use that as a Unique selling point UPS to sell the idea to your father in law. He will cave in with time but I must mention that success here hugely depends on your patience and strategy.
  16. jeremy2

    jeremy2 Community Champion

    Your father in law clearly has some serious issues which need to be solved urgently. His state of health is not good and he requires professional help. May be a counselor might be able to talk some sense into him and make him realize that he needs urgent medical attention.
  17. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    You can't help him if he wont allow it. That is not a pleasant prospect but it is the only real answer I can give. Unless you can persuade him to make the decision for himself it can not be forced.
  18. doatk22

    doatk22 Community Champion

    I'm sorry that's the case. That's really sad and if he doesn't get help he'll end up seriously injured or worse. I say keep trying to persuade him, especially his children.
  19. Shenwil

    Shenwil Senior Contributor

    I'm sorry to hear but this is usually the case addicts. Most times they are not willing to admit they have a problem. It would have to take a life threatening situation or him accidentally hurting someone to realize that there is a problem. something may have happened in the past to make him totally give up like this.
  20. GettingBetter

    GettingBetter Senior Contributor

    I'm so very sorry you are going through this. I have been through seeing someone close to me absolutely refuse treatment even when it is obvious they could die without it. There is not a lot that's been harder to see, it all seems to confusing and senseless. It sounds like you have done all you can think of to help, sometimes there's not a lot to do but wait unfortunately. :(