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Anger And Irritability In My Husband's Behaviour

Question:

My husband over the past 6 years has gone through what he calls "phases" where he drinks daily for about 5 months. He is 32 and hangs around with 20 year-olds mainly, claiming they have the same interests. He has drank and drove, more than once, and with his child in the vehicle. He becomes angry and irritable daily mostly with myself, his wife. He recently threw our keys and his cell phone off of a staff cruise ship party for his work, and spent over 120 dollars on alcohol on the boat. He has barely any recollection of the evening. Since, he has not had a drink, not that I’m aware of, in 4 days. He is very hostile. he yells, doesn’t eat right, won’t talk to me, and wants this 20 year old lad over constantly, claiming the boy is his friend. We have some solid friends together, and some of our own, too. He thinks he may be bipolar and need medication. Can you help us?

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Answer:

There is no question in my mind, based on what I have read of your situation, that your husband is engaging in dangerous and irresponsible behavior. There are many things that could be causing this behavior and one of them, in my opinion, is alcohol. Drinking and driving is dangerous, as you well know. Drinking and driving with his children in the car is beyond dangerous. He is putting your children at risk, as well as other drivers and pedestrians, when he is driving under the influence.

It seems to me, and others may disagree, that the first thing he needs to day is stop drinking. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous groups may help with this. There is also medication that he could ask his medical doctor about that could take away his craving for alcohol.

As to Bipolar Disorder, it is possible that he has that diagnosis. I cannot say because I do not know him. That and other disorders are often accompanied by alcohol and drug abuse. For example, major depression, dysthymia and Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, are also frequently accompanied by substance abuse.

Be aware that alcoholism stands by itself as an addictive disorder and needs no other disorder to bring it about.

I want to suggest that your husband, in addition to starting AA and going to his medical doctor also see a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist for an accurate evaluation of whether or not he has a behavioral disorder. If he does then he can be started on medication, whether he suffers from bipolar or any other such disorder.

Having said this, no amount of medication will do any good at all unless he stops all drinking.

Finally, when he has his diagnosis he also needs to enter psychotherapy to help him learn how to cope with life without resorting to drugs and alcohol.

For you, I would urge you to attend ALANON groups. These groups are for the spouses or relatives of those with drinking problems. It will help you learn how to cope with him and how to avoid making it easy for him to drink and to avoid taking responsibility for his drinking. In other words, it is not your job to make him stop drinking. Only he can do that.

Best of Luck

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Comments
  • pat butler

    i am 50 year old single mother i keep getting really lots of energy speaking fast really excited for no resson then i get mood swings crying angry deppresed tierd making silly dessions

  • Anonymous-1

    I can relate to a lot of things this woman has written as I have gone through similar situations except that I dont have kids. What is the right thing for this woman to do? How can she help her husband? Can she help him at all? If he refuses to seek help from AA and asks her to accept him as he is.... What is the right thing for her to do? Lets say, this woman leaves her husband for good and gets divorced, why would she feel depressed even though she has called off the marriage? She wants to help her husband overcome these abberations and get back to normal behaviour. Is he unhappy with this woman? How can she get over all this? What is the best thing for her to do in these circumstances? ALANON does not exist in my country. Can you suggest something suitable that is available globally?

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