Liver Damage from Alcohol?

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A quick glance at google analytics tells me that there are many people wondering about liver damage from alcohol, and specifically asking what the early signs of liver damage are, as it relates to drinking. Medical News Today lists the early signs of liver damage from alcohol as both “vague” and “affecting a range of bodily systems”, but they also list a general feeling of unwellness as a symptom. Beyond that general unwell feeling, are a pain in the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting without a specific cause, decreased appetite, and abdominal cramping or diarrhea. As you may have guessed from the general feel of these symptoms, it is important for anyone who drinks heavily not to simply shrug these symptoms off as a probable stomach bug or light flu. These specific symptoms, even one or two of them, can be cause for extreme concern, especially in a person who is still actively drinking. Whether you have entered alcohol treatment, or you are still pondering the idea of seeking treatment, these symptoms should always be discussed with a physician, as they are emblematic of possible organ damage from drinking alcohol.

If you are wondering how a person goes about treating these early signs of liver damage from alcohol, then maybe you guessed it. Abstinence from alcohol for long periods, or completely stopping drinking, those are the first treatment. Therefore, for many people who are facing these signs and symptoms, looking at options for seeking treatment for alcohol dependence might be a great next step. There are many helpful resources on the internet, and by phone, and you likely will see many of those same treatment options by simply searching for something like, “alcohol treatment near me.” If your internet browser knows where you are located, hopefully, you will get some options in that way, or simply include your location in the search.
Getting back to liver damage from alcohol for a moment, it is important to note that the abstinence from alcohol that a person engages in can actually reverse many of these early-stage liver problems caused by drinking. From Medical News Today, once again,

“For example, stopping drinking once diagnosed with fatty liver disease may be able to reverse the condition within 2 to 6 weeks.” And on abstinence, they continue, “Once a person is diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease at any stage, it is recommended to never resume drinking. Any conditions that have reversed will typically return once drinking restarts.”
That news alone makes a strong case that anyone who may be experiencing early-stage liver damage should consider their options for substance abuse treatment. I just recently wrote an article on the effects alcohol has on the brain, and even in that profoundly serious case, many of the symptoms can be countered by quitting the drinking that is at the root of the problem. Just to be completely clear and medically sound here, the proper medical advice for me to give here, as a medical non-professional, is that anyone who wants to quit drinking, including anyone who is thinking of quitting because they are experiencing early signs of liver damage, should not try quitting on their own. Medical supervision is needed in all these cases, and quitting alcohol cold turkey can be dangerous and even deadly. In the case of people who drink on a daily basis, the withdrawal from quitting alcohol can cause seizures, amongst other scary side effects.

By Tim Cannon

Citations

“What’s to know about the alcoholic liver disease”, Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215638#stages.