Is it Possible to Repair the Liver From Alcohol Abuse?
Your liver is the second largest organ in your body and is vital for your body’s day-to-day health and functionality. It filters toxins, produces bile, and secretes important chemicals. Although it is a resilient organ and can regenerate, this takes time and can only happen so often before it becomes too damaged to repair itself completely. Liver damage from alcohol abuse is a severe and life-threatening condition, but repairing the liver after alcohol abuse may be possible if the damage is caught early and treatment begins immediately.
How Alcohol Affects the Liver
When alcohol enters the liver, it creates a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde. Under normal circumstances, a healthy liver will be able to filter this toxin out of your body and into your urine, but if there is too much for your liver to handle, it creates scarring, permanent damage that inhibits functionality and will remain with you the rest of your life.
Alcohol-Related Liver Disease
Alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD) has four stages:
- Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Liver cells are altered, turning into a fatty build-up after drinking large amounts of alcohol. Symptoms are usually not pronounced at this phase, so many do not notice a problem.
- Alcoholic Hepatitis: The inflammation of the liver is usually due to a long period of drinking to excess. Symptoms begin to show themselves at this phase, and permanent damage can occur.
- Cirrhosis: Scar tissue begins to replace healthy tissue on the liver, causing it to harden and become lumpy, inhibiting blood flow and the flow of fluids throughout the liver.
- Liver Failure and End-Stage Liver Disease: A life-threatening emergency that can be acute or chronic, in which your liver can no longer perform its vital functions like bile production and clearing your blood of toxins.
How Much Alcohol Does it Take to Cause Liver Damage?
As each person has different genetics, metabolisms, and physical characteristics, there is no magic number of drinks that is safe for each person. There is also no type of alcohol that is “safer” than another. If you are a binge drinker, have been drinking for an extended period of time, or drink large amounts of alcohol, you are at more risk for severe liver damage than a person who has a glass of wine once a week—taking medication or other drugs while drinking compounds your risk.
Can Alcohol-Related Liver Damage Be Reversed?
According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, if the damage from the inflammation and fibrosis (pre-cirrhosis) stages of liver failure is caught in time and treated, you have a good chance of healing your liver over time. Even cirrhosis damage can be slowed or stopped if the proper measures are taken. It is essential to be honest about your alcohol consumption with your doctor, as in some cases, over ¾ of the liver may be non-functioning before you feel any symptoms. Early diagnosis is the key to repairing the liver after alcohol abuse.
How to Mitigate Liver Damage from Alcohol
The first and most important step to mitigating liver damage from alcohol is to stop drinking. An integrated medically assisted treatment program with 24-hour clinical oversight and psychiatric care is the best plan for this phase, as you will likely need emotional and medical support to safely complete your detox from alcohol.
Lifestyle changes are essential for liver health as well. You may need to lose weight, drink more water, eat healthier or stop taking certain medications. Your doctor will provide you with further information on your specific case.
Alcohol Detox and Rehab Treatment at WhiteSands
Alcohol addiction is a serious disease that requires a full medical detox, along with inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab. At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, our integrated continuum of care will help you stop drinking, change your mindset, and stop self-destructive behaviors like alcohol abuse. We will help you get to the underlying root of your addiction, treat co-occurring mental and physical health conditions, and provide you with recovery skills and tools you can use for the rest of your life to help you avoid relapse. Our philosophy involves treating our patients as guests with respect and dignity, and we will do all we can to ensure you are safe, healthy, and comfortable while in our care during alcohol rehab.
Contact us today to learn more about what you can do to stop drinking, learn about our medical detox program, and the types of inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs we offer. We will work with you to customize a treatment program that will best suit you to help start repairing the liver after alcohol abuse.
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.