How do you know if /when you've done enough? I am brand new to this site--never blogged/commented on any forum...and I just really need perspective. My mom and sister died 5 months apart in 2012 and it totally has destroyed my father. He's severely depressed, isolated, and just has given up. My younger brother and I will do anything for him, but he refuses. He cycles through major depressive episodes not getting out of bed, drinking to excess, sleeping all day, etc. Not a big deal, right? But, he had a neurological disorder so when he doesn't take care of himself, he starts to fall, drinks more, becomes belligerent and so dejected. We have care that comes every day to help, life alert, and my brother has moved in temporarily, and I drive 2 hours ( one way) a few times a week. He won't consider any treatment, outside help, or even leaving the house! Each time we suggest or encourage this he shuts us down. He's a physician and we will never be able to "know" more than him. I want us to salvage what's left of our family but how do you convince someone who just doesn't want to go on? Sigh.

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You don't say how old your dad is, but he can't be very old if you're in your 30s. He's much too young to just give up on life. I agree with Jeanne Gibbs if you can get a colleague of his to talk to him. Or maybe a trusted minister or another relative (brother/uncle/aunt/relatives of your late mom) who might be able to talk some sense into him. Even if he doesn't want to live for himself, he needs to be aware of what he's putting you and your brother through. Is he still working? Does he still drive?

And alcohol is a depressant, so drinking will only make things far, far worse. Your dad as a physician should understand that. Has he ever gone to AA? The other thing you can your brother could do is to attend Al-Anon meetings, so you can understand what you can reasonably do to help your dad without enabling his downward spiral.
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I can understand your father's grief. I know that you also had much grief. People handle grief in different ways. Some people become depressed in an unhealthy way and need help working through it. You can talk to him, but he does need more. From the sound of what you wrote, he needs the support of a professional and, if he is sociable, a grief support group when he is up to it. You can be there for him as he works through the depression and grief.

One thing you can do right away that may help is to try to get him to cut back on the alcohol. While a person who is depressed may feel a little alcohol makes it better, drinking to excess can help deepen depression. It will be hard to make him care enough to give up the alcohol, but maybe you can help there. And do whatever you can do to get him to a therapist that specializes in unhealthy grief. Your father needs help accepting what has happened so he can move on with the rest of his life. He has my sympathy, because he has been given a triple dose of losses. I hope that he is able to find hope soon. I am glad that he has children who care about him.
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Your father MIGHT (or might not) listen more receptively to an "outsider" than to his own children. Was he particularly friendly with any of his physician colleagues? Could you contact that person and ask him or her to intervene?

Treating the depression seems to be key.
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