How to Repair Your Liver After Alcohol Abuse
Is It Possible to Repair the Liver After Alcohol Abuse?
A question that many alcoholics have when entering into an addiction treatment program is how to repair your liver after alcohol abuse. It is common knowledge that prolonged alcohol use can wreak havoc on your liver and its functioning. The body works in fascinating ways, and there is a possibility that you will be able to repair the damage that has been done to your liver if you do the work to maintain sobriety.
The first step to rebuilding and repairing your liver function is taking the necessary steps of removing alcohol from your body through an alcohol detox program. Your detox process should be done under the careful supervision of medical professionals, as withdrawal symptoms of alcohol have the potential of being severe and life-threatening. Our team of nurses and doctors who will be monitoring you will provide you with medical interventions such as medication to ensure your safety and well-being while mitigating the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.
Once you complete your alcohol detox, it is strongly suggested that you move into an alcohol rehab program. This will allow you to gain perspective on what has been influencing your drinking behaviors. Through therapeutic sessions and processes, you will have the opportunity to heal from the emotions and thoughts that you have been self-medicating and pushing down with the use of alcohol.
How Alcohol Affects the Liver
When you consume alcohol, it is processed through your liver and creates a toxic enzyme called acetaldehyde. For someone consuming a large amount of alcohol, the increase in acetaldehyde creates difficulty for the liver to process this enzyme. This often leads to scarring within the liver, which can create permanent damage and potentially affect the stomach and the brain negatively.
We all know that the use of alcohol can cause dehydration within our bodies. What is not commonly known is that the liver needs hydration to flush out the toxins that are entering the body. The more dehydrated we become from alcohol, the more your liver has to fight harder to find water and hydration from other sources within your body.
Alcohol-Related Liver Disease
Prolonged alcohol use can have severe, negative impacts on your liver’s ability to function at a normal, functional rate. The frequent use of alcohol causes damage to the liver cells causing the cells to die. A healthy functioning liver can regenerate these cells at a healthy, regular rate.
However, when a person has been abusing alcohol, it can take the liver longer to regenerate these cells leading to an increased risk of alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD). Often for alcoholics that have had years of drinking behind them or long bouts of binge drinking, the risk of an alcohol-related liver disease increases. ARLD occurs within patients in three stages typically.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease: This occurs when a buildup of fat accumulates on the liver. This will happen after periods of binge or extended drinking and is commonly the first sign that your alcohol use has become a risk to you and your body functioning through your consumption of alcohol.
Alcoholic hepatitis: This occurs after excessively prolonged bouts of drinking. While it is not similar to hepatitis due to it not being infectious, it is the first indicator that your drinking has begun to reach dangerous levels. Often patients will start to experience symptoms of liver damage at this stage.
Cirrhosis: This occurs when your liver cells have been damaged due to chronic inflammation due to your drinking behaviors. During this process, your liver cells become replaced with scar tissue which prevents blood flow and liquid flow from your liver’s processing. This can result in your liver having difficulty functioning and becoming hard and lumpy.
How Long Before Alcohol Begins to Damage the Liver
Addiction is a unique disease as it affects each person differently. This can make it challenging to predict the length of time on how to repair your liver after alcohol abuse. While one person may experience liver damage soon after they start regularly drinking while another person may go for years without noticing any signs or symptoms of a damaged liver. The rate and quantity at which you consume alcohol factor into the rate your liver will acquire damaging side effects. The best way to protect yourself from further damage is to limit or cease your alcohol consumption. It is recommended that you do this under the careful supervision of a medical professional in a controlled setting such as a medically assisted detox program.
Can Alcohol-Related Liver Damage Be Reversed?
The hope for alcoholics entering into a treatment program for alcohol is that they will heal their minds from the power of addiction and physically restore their bodies to a healthy state once they get sober. Many ask if the damage that has been done can have the capacity to reverse itself. This will be dependent on your specific circumstances if the damage can be reversed. However, choosing to stop drinking will cease any further damage to your liver and overall physical well-being and health.
If you are in stage one of an ARLD, the alcoholic fatty liver disease, there is a possibility to reduce the damage done to your liver. It requires you to stop drinking alcohol and give your body ( and liver) a chance to regain health. After a few weeks of not drinking, your liver will be able to restore itself to a healthy functioning state.
If you have alcoholic hepatitis, the second stage of ARLD, you may have a chance to reduce the damage that you have incurred on your liver. This process will be dependent on how long you’ve been drinking for and the severity of your alcoholic hepatitis. If you can make the change and quit drinking early enough, you have the possibility of reversing some of the damage done. While others who have been suffering from alcohol hepatitis for an extended time, you run a risk of developing life-threatening symptoms without treating it. Taking steps to get the help you need through an alcohol detox and rehab program will help to increase your chance of a healthy, safe recovery.
Patients who have moved into the third stage of ARLD, cirrhosis, will not reverse the damage done by alcohol. With that said, should you stop drinking at this stage, you will increase your survival rate with this potentially deadly disease.
How to Minimize Damage to the Liver
As you recognize that your drinking has become problematic, you will undoubtedly want to know how to repair your liver after alcohol abuse. Here are some helpful tips to help you restore your body to a healthy functioning state.
- Diet – Incorporate a proper diet into your daily routine. Packing your meals with nutrients and vitamins will help replenish your body with the essential sustenance that you may have lacked during your drinking.
- Exercise – Be as active as you can. Add exercise to your daily routine. This will help improve your blood circulation, body stamina, and ability to function.
- Water – Be sure to drink enough water. Your liver has been deprived of hydration throughout the times you have been drinking. To restore your liver functioning, a crucial component is enough fluid and hydration to facilitate your liver to process the toxins that are coming into it.
Suppose you are unable to remain abstinent from alcohol. Here are some tips to keep your liver as healthy as possible while you are drinking:
- Hydrate – Drink water while you are drinking alcohol. This will increase your liver’s ability to process the alcohol coming into the system with proper hydration.
- Moderate – When consuming alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive or binge drinking cycles will only exacerbate your ARLD.
- Use Caution – Avoid mixing any prescription medications or other drugs while you are drinking alcohol. Your liver is already processing the alcohol going through it, and adding another substance will only have to make it work even harder.
Alcohol Detox and Rehab at Muse Treatment
Suppose you are taking a closer look at your drinking behavior and becoming concerned about the possibility of liver damage. In that case, you will want to take steps to protect yourself from any further harm. The first step is to remove drinking from your life. We understand that this may be easier said than done. Some have been living with alcoholism for a long time, and quitting cold turkey is just not in the cards for you.
Choosing to enter into an alcohol detox and rehab program will provide you with a safe haven monitored by physicians and nurses who specialize in assisting patients detox safely from alcohol. While in detox, you will have your vitals checked, including monitoring your liver functioning. Our team will be with you every step of the way to ensure you are comfortable and feeling secure within your detox process.
If you want to learn more about the individualized options for addiction treatment offered within our drug rehab center, contact the friendly staff at Muse Treatment at (800) 426-1818 to find out when you can get started on the alcohol rehab program designed to keep you sober, healthy, and happy.
— Muse Treatment (@MuseTreatmentLA) November 24, 2021