Because the liver is the organ that filters toxins from our bloodstream, it takes a lot of abuse when someone is struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Alcohol liver disease (ALD), also called alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD), is potentially a serious, even life-threatening, illness. If you are concerned about your drinking or if your physician has mentioned that your liver is in an early stage of disease, it’s time to seek an addiction treatment center where you can begin recovery and reclaim your life.
Promises Behavioral Health offers comprehensive programs for those with an AUD, starting with medical detox all the way through rehab and aftercare. If you are wondering, “What is alcoholic liver disease?” don’t wait. Call 844.875.5609 today or use the Promises online contact form to connect with us and ask any questions you may have about the symptoms of severe alcohol addiction.
What Is Alcoholic Liver Disease?
Your liver, a large, two-lobed organ that is found on the right side of the abdomen, tucked partly under the ribcage, is vital for cleansing your system of toxins. Although alcoholic liver disease is common among heavy drinkers, it can be prevented and treated up to a point.
A healthy liver is quite hardy. Though liver cells die every time the liver filters alcohol, it can develop new cells. However, prolonged alcohol abuse diminishes the liver’s capacity to regenerate. When permanent damage begins, you have alcoholic liver disease.
The three types of liver disease related to an AUD are:
- Fatty liver – The most common alcohol-related liver condition, fatty liver is characterized by fat building up in the cells of the liver and leading to an enlarged liver.
- Alcoholic hepatitis – This severe inflammation of the liver means liver cells are dying. This often leads to permanent scarring of the organ.
- Alcoholic cirrhosis – Destruction of healthy liver tissue becomes severe when scar tissue replaces the parts of the liver that are working until, in the most advanced cases, the liver tissue that takes care of toxins is no longer there. The scar tissue that remains cannot perform the function of the liver.
Once ALD takes hold, treatment options become fewer. The best way to stop the disease’s progression is to stop drinking.
Symptoms of Alcoholic Liver Disease
Often, the symptoms of this disease go unnoticed. They also often overlap with symptoms of numerous other conditions. If you know you drink to excess and have any symptoms, don’t wait to seek advice from your doctor.
The first stage of ALD, fatty liver, often has no symptoms, but sometimes:
- Fat building up in the liver causes enlargement and belly discomfort on the right side
- Exhaustion and weakness
- Weight loss
The second stage of ALD, alcoholic hepatitis, can present with the symptoms above as well as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing in the eyes and skin)
The final stage of alcoholic liver disease, known as cirrhosis, exhibits all the signs above and also:
- Enlarged spleen
- Portal hypertension (resistance to the blood flow through the liver due to scar tissue)
- Intestinal bleeding
- Fluid build-up in the abdomen
- Edema (fluid in the extremities)
- Kidney failure
- Confusion, poor focus, and inability to think clearly
Because toxins are building up in the body, some of the symptoms of advanced-stage alcoholic liver disease are the same as signs of poisoning. It is very important to seek help if you or a loved one show any of the above symptoms.
Call Promises to Halt the Progress of Your Alcohol Liver Disease
You can stop the progression of this disease by stopping all alcohol use. That is easier said than done. Do not try to do it on your own—the risks are too great. Being under medical supervision while you withdraw from alcohol in order to begin addiction treatment is the safest way to mitigate painful symptoms and monitor your health. Any signs of alcoholic liver disease mean that medically managed detox is necessary.
We will help you begin recovery so you can heal your body and treat any co-occurring physical illnesses like ALD. Reach out today via phone at 844.875.5609 or by using the Promises online contact form. We are here to answer your questions.