Depending on an individual’s degree of alcohol addiction, he or she may have incurred liver damage. Fortunately, the liver is a highly regenerative organ, so it may be possible to restore its prior functioning in many cases, even to the condition it was in before the problematic drinking began.
Can the Liver Effectively Repair Itself?
The liver is the human body’s only regenerative organ, not unlike how lizards have the ability to regrow their tails. A person could have as much as 75% of their liver removed, and it could still grow back to its original size.
Part of the reason for the liver’s unique ability to regrow is related to the organ’s primary functions. As it works as the body’s primary filtration organ, it comes in contact with many toxins, some of which can cause severe damage to cells. Without the liver’s capabilities, the human body would be much more susceptible to many diseases and infections.
For Alcohol Abusers, the Liver Is Always a Primary Concern
When an individual stops drinking, they are often focused on regaining their physical health—and for a good reason. It’s a well-established fact that alcohol can completely decimate the liver. As the primary organ responsible for eliminated toxic substances from the body, the liver works diligently to process alcoholic beverages.
Many alcohol-dependents in recovery discover they have caused damage to their liver or have developed some form of liver disease during the course of their active alcoholism. A damaged liver can lead to the various health issues that alcoholics experience due to their drinking habits.
By avoiding alcohol consumption, staying hydrated, and eating a diet conducive to healthy liver functioning, an individual can often reverse some or all of the effects of alcohol abuse—even after years or decades of drinking.
The Liver’s Function
The liver is the largest internal bodily organ, weighing in at around three pounds. Among its main functions is detoxifying blood from the digestive tract and filtering chemicals before the blood flows out to the rest of the body. It breaks down toxic substances secretes an enzyme called bile, which aids in digestion. Also, the liver produces a protein that is essential for blood clotting.
When this essential organ is not functioning ideally, the rest of the body cannot either. When the liver cannot effectively eliminate toxins and help with digestion, a wide variety of severe health issues may ultimately develop.
Types of Liver Disease Related to Alcoholism
There are several forms of liver disease:
- Disease caused by viruses, such as hepatitis A, B, and C
- Disease caused by substance abuse, such as fatty liver disease and cirrhosis
- Inherited diseases, such as hemochromatosis and Wilson disease
- Cancer of the liver
Aside from cancer, cirrhosis is the most severe disease the liver can contract. Cirrhosis is essentially an advanced version of other, less serious diseases, such as fatty liver and hepatitis B and C. It involves cell loss and permanent scarring. This condition can lead to jaundice, weakness, lack of appetite, easy bruising, itching, fatigue, and, ultimately, life-threatening organ failure.
Treatment for Liver Disease
According to the Mayo Clinic, effective treatment for liver disease primarily depends on the diagnosis. Some issues can be resolved through lifestyle modifications, such as abstaining from alcohol consumption, often as a component of a medical program that includes continuous liver function monitoring.
Other liver conditions can be treated with medications, and some require surgery. Treatment for liver disease that has the potential to lead to organ failure may ultimately require a liver transplant.
Possible Complications of Alcoholic Liver Disease
When alcohol-related liver disease has advanced to more severe stages, it can be associated with many health complications, including the following:
- Bleeding disorders
- Buildup of fluid in the stomach and infection
- Enlarged veins in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines that are prone to bleeding
- Increased pressure in liver blood vessels
- Kidney failure
- Liver cancer
- Mental confusion and altered level of consciousness
Please keep in mind that some forms of liver damage can be irreversible. Many individuals wait until it’s too late before they begin to focus on healing their liver. Chronic effects of drug abuse and alcoholism, liver disease, and conditions such as hepatitis C can leave the liver in a perpetually damaged state.
Fortunately, however, this doesn’t mean that a person cannot live a long and healthy life by making better choices. People can live with liver damage and continue to experience fulfilling lives. However, someone with a liver condition needs to begin taking care of their liver and the rest of their body, including abstaining from drugs and alcohol.
Treatment for Alcoholism
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery are specialized addiction treatment facilities specializing in drug and alcohol abuse. Those who suffer from these conditions frequently require comprehensive treatment, such as therapy and ongoing care and support for mental and physical health disorders.
Our professional staff is trained to effectively address all concerns related to health and wellness—including liver healing. We offer an integrated approach to treatment that features services beneficial for the recovery process. These services include psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, aftercare planning, group support, and much more.