How Alcoholism Damages the Liver
The effects of alcoholism on the liver cause devastating and often irreversible damage. For chronic alcohol abusers, their health is deteriorating every time they drink as alcoholism affects not only the liver but can also cause many medical issues including, jaundice, high blood pressure, liver failure, and even stroke in extreme cases.
When an individual has consumed an amount of alcohol that the liver can no longer process, the alcohol remains in the body where it continues to be metabolized while it enters and circulates through the bloodstream. Blood that has a high level of alcohol in it will affect different parts of the body that are responsible for controlling the central nervous system, such as the brain, as well as regulating the heart. Continued and prolonged alcohol abuse will eventually destroy the liver’s cells, causing cirrhosis of the liver.
What Does the Liver Do
The liver is responsible for breaking down and filtering substances that can pose harm to your health. By filtering the blood that circulates through your body, the liver has the unique ability to prevent infections while also regulating proteins, hormones, and enzymes that are critical for overall body function.
Diseases of the Liver Caused By Heavy Drinking
Alcoholism can result in many different liver-related diseases. Some of the effects of alcoholism on the liver include:
Fatty liver disease
Those who are classified as heavy drinkers are at risk for developing this disease. While the condition is very dangerous for your health, it can be reversible with abstinence from alcohol consumption.
This disease causes the liver to degenerate, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver, a condition that cannot be reversed.
Cirrhosis (liver cancer)
In the late stages of liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver develops. During this stage, the liver is permanently scarred, all referred to as fibrosis. While the liver is highly resilient and can often miraculously repair itself, it can no longer restore itself once an individual has developed cirrhosis of the liver.
Common Symptoms of Liver Disease
The most common signs and symptoms of liver disease are:
- Dark urine
- Itchy skin
- Yellowish eyes and skin
- Bruise easily
- Chronic tiredness
- Loss of appetite
- Discolored stool
If you or a loved one exhibits any of these signs, they may be struggling with alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Speaking to them about their problem can help them get the care they need as soon as possible.
Can Alcoholic Liver Disease be Treated?
For many individuals, simply stopping alcohol consumption can reverse a lot of the damage they have caused to their bodies. By eliminating alcohol abuse, diseases that are associated with alcohol can be mitigated. Those who have an alcohol abuse problem must get into treatment as soon as they realize there is a problem.
For alcoholism, the first stage in the recovery process is medically assisted detoxification. This process is the safest and most effective way to wean the individual off of alcohol. Once this is complete, which can be anywhere between five days and up to ten days, the individual will move onto the second stage of treatment which is inpatient residential treatment.
WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab offers all levels of care and a full continuum of treatment options for those struggling with alcohol abuse. The sooner you get into treatment, the faster you can live a fulfilled and productive life.
Alcoholism is not something that goes away on its own, as there are deep-rooted psychological barriers that need to be broken down and rebuilt, which occurs during counseling and therapy. Not only does addiction recovery have a mental component, but it also has a physical component. Both these aspects of addiction need to be addressed to overcome and manage successfully. Contact WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab or visit one of our locations to start your journey to sobriety today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.