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kerrielou

So my dad and I see the same shrink....

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I know I'm going to get a lot of "don't see the same pdoc as a relative" and "you need to talk to your dad" advice and while it's all true, it's also not realistic.  Anyway.... here goes.

My dad and I are both bi-polar and we see the same pdoc.  It's been close to 10 years ago now that I finally got him to go, but I was only able to convince him if he could see mine.  There's a massive shortage of psych providers here so I've had a hard time switching, but that's another story and not the problem I need help with.

My dad is pretty well medicated, but he's been abusing Xanax for a few years now.  It understandably drives my mom bonkers that our pdoc continues to prescribe it, but we know what he is and isn't saying in his appointments.  It's gotten bad enough that my mom finally confronted him and they made a deal wherein he would stop and he has, but mostly because he ran out even faster than he usually does.  When she made a point to make sure this "deal" included no longer getting the prescriptions, he had to really think about it, but agreed.  Well, I'm sure many here can relate to how difficult it is not just to stop taking a medication you know you are abusing, but to tell your pdoc you're doing it and turn down a prescription.  We all know once that cat is out of the bag that prescription isn't ever coming back.  Neither she or I trust him that he will tell our pdoc he's been abusing it, doesn't need it (he doesn't), and\or doesn't want it.  He barely tells him anything as it is.  He's in his late 60's and is from the generation that just never talked about mental health, much less got treatment for it.  It's huge that he's gone so consistently and is so compliant with his other meds.  He and I bitch about our pdoc sometimes and he's even told me he just goes in and tells the doc everything is great, gets his prescriptions, and leaves until time for a refill.

My dilemma is that my mom has asked me to say something during my next appointment so he'll stop giving him the prescription and maybe try something else like Inderal, which has been part of my cocktail for at least 10 years.  I feel like the abuse has escalated to the point he might accept the script and have it filled without my mother's knowledge.  It's going to be especially difficult, because he's actually going to have to TALK to our pdoc about not wanting it.  If he doesn't, our doc is just going to hand him the same scripts he always does.  I know it's going to be very very difficult for him to turn that script down, even more difficult not to get it filled, and virtually impossible not to take it if he does.  I should probably also mention he's a recovering alcoholic, but has been sober for 42 years.

As his xanax abuse isn't really affecting me directly, I'm not sure how or if I should bring it up.  It's affecting me in that it's affecting my mother, but I'm not there when he's doing it.  He takes one every couple of hours all night long.  A couple of weeks ago he peed on the kitchen floor in the middle of the night and it had nothing to do with old age and everything to do with being xanax-drunk.

So what do I do?  Say something to our doc?  Say nothing and leave it up to my dad?  Best case scenario if I did say something, would be to get sentence or two out, then let our pdoc take it from there.  I think he would probably be able to gracefully and diplomatically stop writing the prescriptions without accusing him of drug abuse.  I don't know if our doc would feel like he had to disclose I or anyone else said something.  On the one hand I feel like our relationships with our doc need to be totally separate.  On the other, I feel really bad for my mom.... and him.

He and I only really see our doc every 6 months, so if he gets the script it's going to be a two 90-day supply where he can fill the xanax once every 30 days.  This means I have to decide whether to say anything before my next appointment or hope that he doesn't walk about with another 6 month supply.  If our doc doesn't stop prescribing it for him, then we're faced with the whole "intervention" thing, which I really don't want to have to do with my 67 year old father.  If our doc stopped writing it and gave him something like Inderal instead, I do know he wouldn't try to find someone else to write it.  My mother would see it on the insurance statements.

Edited by kerrielou
spelling\grammar

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Maybe your mother should be the one to talk to the doctor. Since she asked you it's bothering her too and then you don't compromise your own therapy.

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This is your moms battle, not yours. She should not be pushing this on you. She should ask your father if it is ok to accompany dad to the appointment.

Edited by notloki

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Since this is about your dad, I'm going to move this to family feud.

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I agree with the others that your mom should be the one doing the contacting for several reasons. First, you've said that this is affecting your mother primarily, so it makes sense that she would be the one to bring it up. Second, your time with your doctor should be about you and your needs, not what your mom what you to discuss. Even if you did feel the need to let your pdoc know about your father's drug abuse, I would not do it during your session. Legally, he can't acknowledge to you or your dad - or your mom for that matter - that he sees either of you as a patient, but he is allowed to listen to a family member. If you approach him, he'd likely want official permission from you to speak with your father and would have to be very, very careful about what he would and wouldn't say. With your mother, he would be freer to consider her concerns and talk to your father about them. 

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Thanks for the advice everyone.  This is my mom's battle, not mine.  She's not insensitive to the issue which is why she's not asked until now.  She will respect my decision, which will be to not bring it up.  I'm glad they are at least having some kind of dialog at this point.  It's just better all around to leave it to them to work out.

This kind of thing is going to start happening more and more.  He's difficult, stubborn, and just getting older.  It's getting to that point where she's going to have to have some difficult confrontations with him, but we've always known that.  It's this in between period where he's got the beginnings of some very mild cognitive issues, but not enough that you can just make decisions for him or take away his "stuff."  It's hard to know how to help him without challenging his dignity and freedom of choice.

I'm going to suggest she talk to him about going to his next appointment.  It won't be an easy conversation, but it's one that needs to be had.  Either way, it's not my problem............ yet.

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