Alcoholic Hepatitis Guide
Individuals with alcohol use disorder can develop severe health issues like inflammation of the liver. Alcoholic hepatitis is one stage away from irreversible liver damage. While the first part of treatment is to stop drinking, there are additional steps you can take for recovery.
Alcohol use is ingrained in our society and culture. However, there’s a dark side to this substance. For individuals living with alcoholism, their addiction creates chaos for them and their loved ones.
Many individuals who suffer from alcohol use disorder sacrifice their health, experiencing issues such as inflammation of the liver. Alcoholic hepatitis is a severe condition that develops because of chronic alcohol abuse.
After years of heavy alcohol use, the liver becomes inflamed, significantly increasing one’s risk of potentially life-threatening complications. Treatment options are available, and the first step is to quit drinking.
Are you or your loved one struggling with alcoholism? Whether you want to take a preventive approach or need to quit to stop the worsening of alcohol hepatitis symptoms, Zinnia Health offers a wide spectrum of evidence-based treatment programs. Call us 24/7 at (855) 430-9439 to get started.
What Is Alcoholic Hepatitis? Can You Prevent It?
Alcoholic hepatitis is a severe condition related to alcoholic liver disease. It’s part of a process that eventually involves cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver.
This condition is often referred to as “end-stage” liver disease, as it occurs after the development of alcoholic hepatitis. Once your liver cells become damaged, the progression can be quick if you do not achieve abstinence.
The stages of liver disease are as follows:
- Fatty liver disease
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Since hepatitis is associated with excessive, long-term alcohol consumption, quitting drinking is the only true preventive measure.
If you currently have fatty liver disease, seeking help for alcoholism could help you prevent alcoholic hepatitis. And if you have been diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, taking action today will help you stop the progression to cirrhosis.
The effects of alcoholic hepatitis can be reversed, but once your liver has scar tissue, that damage is permanent. You may require a liver transplant if your liver function becomes too poor. That is why it’s crucial to seek help as soon as possible.
What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol-Induced Hepatitis?
There is not one defining symptom that signifies alcoholic hepatitis. This condition can cause a range of symptoms, including the following:
- Clinical jaundice is present in the majority of cases, which causes a yellowing of the skin and the white areas of your eyes.
- When blood tests are administered, nearly every patient will have too much bilirubin, a substance created when red blood cells break down.
- Patients may experience upper abdominal pain and a tender, enlarged liver.
- It’s not uncommon to have a heart rate above 100 beats a minute, which may be discovered during a routine examination.
- A fever can develop. However, this symptom can also indicate an infection or liver cancer.
Many patients develop liver cirrhosis if heavy drinking continues, so symptoms of this condition could be present. The features range from bleeding in your stomach to small or purple marks on your skin. Another common symptom is ascites, a fluid buildup in your stomach area.
If you have a mild case of alcoholic hepatitis, you may not have any symptoms. However, as the damage to your liver worsens, you may begin to notice changes in your appetite. Many patients fail to recognize the severity of the situation.
Chronic, heavy drinking will eventually lead to significant health problems, including alcoholic hepatitis. If you or your loved one are ready to take action to overcome the grips of alcoholism, Zinnia Health can help. All Zinnia Health facilities take a holistic approach, focusing on evidence-based, individualized treatment plans. Call us at (855) 430-9439.
Is Alcoholic Hepatitis Treatable?
Technically, there is no one-size-fits-all cure for alcoholic hepatitis. Many options have been researched over the years, including corticosteroids. Clinical trials show these anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the risk of death within 28 days for patients with severe cases.
If you have mild alcoholic hepatitis, it is often reversible. The catch to this healing process is that you must stop drinking permanently. If your symptoms are not too advanced, taking steps to quit drinking can help your liver recover.
No magic treatment works for everyone, as each individual is unique concerning the severity of their condition, history of abuse, medical history, etc. However, research shows that the following treatments can help treat alcoholic hepatitis.
- Optimal nutrition — Alcohol use disorders cause significant malnutrition and deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Your building requires these nutrients to heal. Foods to include in your diet include beets, avocados, bananas, barley, figs, etc. Your diet plan is something you can discuss with your healthcare team.
- Antioxidant therapy — Related to nutrition, it is recommended that you consume more antioxidants to help reduce the inflammatory response. Opt for plenty of dark leafy greens, squash, berries, sweet potatoes, etc. You can also take supplements.
- Complete abstinence — Most physicians will refer patients to an addiction specialist. The longer you wait to start treatment, the more severe alcoholic hepatitis will become, increasing your risk of immediate liver failure. If you are living with a co-occurring mental health condition, a professional treatment facility will help you address any underlying concerns that may impact your recovery.
What Are the Next Steps For Alcoholic Hepatitis?
If you are concerned about your liver health and the potential diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis, you should make an appointment with your primary care provider.
They may recommend a liver biopsy to check the severity of liver damage. Regardless of the damage, if you are struggling with alcohol, addiction treatment is the next vital step.
Seeking alcoholism treatment isn’t easy — it can be an overwhelming step. However, if you’re concerned about alcoholic hepatitis, taking this step could save your life.
If you or your loved one abuses alcohol and are concerned about what may happen next, it’s time to seek the support of an experienced treatment center. Quitting drinking is a complex process that often requires a range of treatment options. No two individuals are the same, so why should their treatment plans be identical?
Take the following steps to improve your health and life:
- The first step is to find a treatment facility that understands the value of evidence-based, comprehensive treatment. Focus on what it is you require. For example, if you’re living with alcoholism and major depressive disorder, find a facility that will treat both conditions simultaneously, offering the latest scientific treatment options.
- Once you connect with a care team and complete the admissions process, it will be time to focus on healing. For some, individual and group therapy helps drive their recovery. For others, access to alternative treatment options, such as art therapy or wilderness therapy, provide something meaningful enough to quit drinking for good. The key is to find a treatment provider that offers a range of therapies, ensuring your unique needs are met.
- The recovery process is ongoing. However, taking the first step today is an investment in your health and future. Complications associated with alcohol-related liver disease can be severe. Be proactive and begin the treatment process. Your road to recovery is your path to a new, healthier life. Once treatment is complete, you can attend aftercare programs and remain involved in the community. Support from people who understand what you are going through can be pivotal.
Ready to change your life and actively improve your health? Today is the day to call Zinnia Health. We strive to heal our clients for good, helping them achieve a life they love, free from alcohol. Please contact our alcoholism hotline available 24 hours per day at (855) 430-9439 to discuss our detox, outpatient, and inpatient options — we’re here to help.