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I have a question related to drinking alcohol. I am 58 and

HI Dr. B I have a...
HI Dr. B
I have a question related to drinking alcohol. I am 58 and have been drinking for about 17 years, I tend to binge drink. I have had liver problems in the past, and have had occasional rectal bleeding. From time to time it looks like coffee grinds and other times it looks bright red. I have tried to quit drinking but have not been successful. I heard that there was medication that I can take that will help me to stop drinking, is that true? Also what do you think is wrong with my bottom
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
10/2/2013
911DOC
911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5,094
Experience: Emergency Medicine Physician
Verified
911DOC :

First of all, if the colonoscopy was done in the recent past ( 1 year or so) you can stop worrying for a bit about the bleeding, though you should have one every two years to make sure this is nothing more than hemorroidal bleeding (most likely).

911DOC :

The bleeding could also be a consequence of the drinking, especially if you have CIRRHOSIS

911DOC :

If you have this (usually diagnosed by ultrasound) you are more prone to hemorroids AND enlarged veins in the neck called VARICES

911DOC :

which can be life threatening if they bleed

911DOC :

so I really strongly suggest that you see your doctor to find out about the cirrhosis question

911DOC :

also

911DOC :

regarding the drinking

911DOC :

most people can not simply stop on their own

911DOC :

most need treatment and ongoing support

911DOC :

therer are many programs including alcoholics anonymous

911DOC :

and many that are inpatient to guide you through the discomfort of quitting and in maintaning sobriety

911DOC :

as to a medicine to help you quit

911DOC :

many doctors are advocating for a drug called NALOXONE

911DOC :

and there is some evidence that it helps in becoming abstinent and in maintaing abstinence

911DOC :

again, your doctor would be knowledgable about this

Customer:

I also had to have a blood transfusion last year because of the bleeding. They said that time that I did not have CIRRHOSIS, but my liver was damaged and I needed to stop drinking.

911DOC :

okay

Customer:

I have tried to go to rehab on numerous occasions and have not been successful. I am currently looking at different programs, but just want a little more help.

911DOC :

by the way, the all caps, blue lettering above are links to learn more about these issues

911DOC :

AA didn't work for you?

Customer:

umm not really, it helps in the sense that I can talk about what I have done while I was drinking and the people I hurt, but I have tried to do the 12 steps and it hasn't worked. Like I said I have been to over a dozen rehab facilities over the past 2 decades, and within a matter of hours of leaving the centre I am back to drinking

911DOC :

okay, common story... there are alternatives... there is mounting evidence on the failure of 12 steps

911DOC :

I need to go out of the office for a few minutes

911DOC :

while I am gone, take a look at the following link

911DOC :

I will let you know when I am back and we can continue

911DOC :

okay?

Customer:

Ok thank you

911DOC :

ALTERNATIVE ALCOHOL TREATMENT PROGRAM (and example... i have no affiliation with these folks but have had patients succeed here.

911DOC :

will be back shortly and will let you know when i am

911DOC :

stand by

911DOC :

okay

911DOC :

back

911DOC :

are you there?

Customer:

Yes

911DOC :

what questions do you have for me about all this?

Customer:

So when I go to the doctors, what am I asking for? I get embarrassed telling them how much I drink so I tend to down play just how bad of an alcoholic I truly am.

911DOC :

time to come clean with your doc. he/she needs to know so that he/she can take appropriate steps.

911DOC :

for instance, it might be time to repeat a colonoscopy and do an upper endoscopy along with ultrasound and labs to see if your drinking now shows signs of damage to these areas

Customer:

ok

911DOC :

did you look at that website on alternative treatment ?

Customer:

I have and I have also emailed then asking some questions. I really like their approach.

911DOC :

the reason I think that programs like that are gaining in acceptance is that AA's record of success is, quite frankly, terrible. they don't publish their results... the vast majority of people who go to AA do not succeed in quitting.

911DOC :

good

Customer:

I agree.

911DOC :

Personally, I have a problem with calling alchol addiction a disease... this puts me at odds with most of my colleagues

911DOC :

but my thinking is this

911DOC :

diseases can't be cured by putting someone in prison, for instance... you get cancer, you go to prison, you still have cancer

911DOC :

you have a desire to drink which is strong

911DOC :

you go to prison and you stop

Customer:

My daughter feels the same why. She has a hard time thinking that I was born with this and that she also is a carrier for the gene

911DOC :

you may start the day you leave, but this is not a disease

911DOC :

there is no gene for alcoholism, there are suggestions that you may be genetically predisposed to addictive behaviors

Customer:

I agree.

911DOC :

but if there were a 'gene' for it identical twins would always be alcoholics... it's simply not that simple

911DOC :

also

911DOC :

AA teaches that you have a disease and have no power over your addiction

911DOC :

this sets you up for failure, in my opinion

911DOC :

and they also teach that relapse is part of recovery

911DOC :

makes no sense to me

911DOC :

the success rate for people who quite 'cold turkey' is acutally higher than the success rate for AA

911DOC :

sorry for the typos

Customer:

Yes, and it almost gives you a reason and a justification for when you start drinking again. It does set you up for failure, but I have struggled with finding a place that could offer something different to me

911DOC :

the link i sent is a good one... there are others, and I would search the net for 'alternative alcohol recovery programs' in Canada.

911DOC :

find one you like and go do it

911DOC :

there IS a way out

911DOC :

but it IS hard work

911DOC :

I know you can do it

Customer:

I will, this gives me hope.

911DOC :

hope is good to have!

911DOC :

so please talk to your doctor about this, your doctor can make sure you are medically 'okay', the quitting is on you, but you can find a way to do it

Customer:

yes it is especially when you haven't had it for many years.

Customer:

Thank you, ***** ***** been very helpful

911DOC :

great

911DOC :

do you have any final questions for me?

Customer:

No I think thats it.

911DOC :

stand by one second

911DOC :

hardly a ringing endorsement of AA

Customer:

ok, I will

911DOC :

if you have nothing else I will bid you good day

911DOC :

standing by for your last

Customer:

Thank you and have a great day!

911DOC :

you too

911DOC :

Thank you so much for your question. It was a pleasure talking with you. Should you need my assistance in the future simply start your question with ‘for 911doc only’.

Positive feedback is always appreciated.

Be Well

911Doc

911DOC :

Best

Customer:

Thank you

911DOC :

you bet. to close out the question simply hit the 'leave feedback' button and it will close. you can always read the question again under the 'my questions tab at the top'.

911DOC :

thanks

911DOC
911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5,094
Experience: Emergency Medicine Physician
Verified
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911DOC
911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5,094
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