YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Coping With a Workaholic Father : Full-Time Provider Inc. Makes a Limited Family Partner

November 28, 1986|DR. NEIL SOLOMON

Question: I have heard women complain that their husbands don't make a decent living or else they don't work at all. I have the opposite problem. My husband is always working, and I mean seven days a week.

Once in a great while I'll get him to take me and the children to the beach or something like that, but even when he agrees to do so, he'll sit in the car and work while the children and I are by ourselves.

He thinks that working all the time proves he's a good father, but I think he enjoys work more than he enjoys his family. He does take time to read your column, and I would appreciate any advice you may have that would help us in this situation.

Answer: A man who believes that his only responsibility to his family is to provide financial support is sadly mistaken. Moreover, he is losing out on a period of life that can never be experienced at any other time. A father who is not a part of his children's growth and development is depriving himself of a rewarding experience.

The term workaholic has been coined to describe individuals who devote most of their time to their work. Some of these people require professional intervention before they're able to lead a more balanced life. This doesn't mean abandoning their work, but placing it in the proper perspective.

You don't mention the ages of your children, but no matter what their ages, I'm certain they would settle for fewer material things in return for a little more of the relationship that only a father can provide.

Q: If a man is impotent, isn't there any kind of a drug that he can take for it? There seems to be a pill for just about everything else, so why not for this?

A: Injections of papaverine have been used in the treatment of impotent men. Papaverine was used initially in men with organic impotence, but it has since been used for others as well.

The treatment is not without side effects, and anyone contemplating its use should make certain to be clear about what the treatment can and cannot accomplish, and the risks.

Q: I have read about methadone clinics for drug addicts and the cold-turkey method of kicking the drug habit. What I would like to know is whether individual psychiatric treatment has any place in the treatment of drug abusers.

A: Individual counseling or psychotherapy can help an individual maintain his or her recovery after giving up the use of drugs. Former drug abusers must learn new methods of coping with day-to-day stresses without turning to drugs for relief.

Q: If a vaginal spermicide is strong enough to prevent a woman from becoming pregnant, is it also possible that it might be strong enough to prevent her from getting venereal disease?

A: Some vaginal contraceptives may also be effective against venereal disease and some vaginal infections. The results of some studies have suggested that spermicides may protect against gonorrhea as well as against pelvic inflammatory disease and its complications.

Q: I'm not a kid any more, but I still play handball and I like to cool off with a beer between games. One of the people I play with is a doctor, and he says it would be better to pass up the beer. Is there any reason for this?

A: Alcohol impairs sweating and should be avoided. I would stick to water; it's refreshing and you can't beat the price.

Q: Would you please explain the difference between dieting and anorexia? It seems to me that they generally are one and the same thing, except that anorexia goes a little further.

A: Anorexia may start with dieting, but it is a form of self-starvation, and that definitely is not what is meant by dieting. Anorexic patients have a distorted self-image and may think of themselves as being fat and needing to lose more weight even when they are emaciated.

Q: Even though I eat as much as I ever did, I am having a problem in keeping my weight where I would like it to be. I feel all right and I don't have any pain or anything like that, but my weight has been dropping a couple of pounds a week. Can you recommend what I should do about it?

A: Without meaning to alarm you, I would recommend that you see your physician. Weight loss despite a normal appetite may signify a number of disorders, including diabetes. In this case, the weight loss would result from the loss of nutrients through the urine.

Rather than speculate, however, it is important that the cause of the weight loss be determined, and this can only be done by your physician.

Los Angeles Times Articles