Does anyone have any experience with a parent being an alcoholic and having mental health issues?



My mom seems to do well for a while doing the sober life for a few weeks, maybe months but then something happens and she goes right back to her destructive ways. My uncle says she’s been diagnosed with manic depressive disorder and even one doctor said bipolar but she won’t accept treatment. The whole family has tried for years. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that she just might always be like this. Wandering from friend to friend, sometimes just sleeping in parks. It’s hard to know where she really is. I don’t even know how to bring it up to her. To tell her she needs professional help. I’m sure she knows, she just doesn’t want to acknowledge it. Is there even anything I can do?

Mental Health - resources and conversations

Hey @carolzevallos - I so wish I had a better answer for you. I believe my dad also struggles with mental health issues and I can’t tell if they started before, during, or after his periods of heavy alcohol and opioid use. I’m posting really just to tell you that you’re not alone in the feeling of helplessness, and with the hope that someone else may be able to weigh in here!


Thank you for sharing your story. It does help to know I’m not alone. We just got to hold on to hope and take it day by day.


Hi @carolzevallos, thanks for posting this important question. My mom currently deals with depression and bipolar on top of struggling with alcohol use. Strangely, she seems to have a better attitude of acceptance over having what she likes to call “mild depression” than having bipolar, which she seems to stigmatize more. She actually isn’t fully aware she has bipolar, to my knowledge, but my siblings and I found out she did through her associated medical professionals. They prescribed her a medication for bipolar and depression, telling her it was for symptoms of irritability. Since then, her periodic outbursts have pretty much disappeared. Before the prescription, we’d have some really good days with her, feel super relieved again to see everything was going much better, only to be experiencing another outburst the following week. Now, it seems like those irritable, aggressive outburts are gone and have been replaced by less-frequent and less-aggressive, but still tough, days she has using alcohol. I’m grateful it seems like some of her mental health issues are being treated, but we’ve had to help her implement more recent solutions to her alcohol use on top of that.

My mom had a lot of trouble getting help initially, but she actually enjoys seeing her therapist now and is vocal about it. This had to come with a little interference from my siblings through their own primary care doctors, who became connected to her psychologist. Are you seeing a therapist or MD at all? They might be able to get in touch with your mom or, if your mom is seeing a therapist, get in touch with her (depending on privacy restrictions).