Alcohol and liver damage

How Does Alcohol Abuse Damage the Liver?

Today’s society constantly talks about consuming alcohol. From sporting events to family get-togethers, birthday parties to holiday gatherings, drinking has become synonymous with celebration — and that’s not a good thing.

While occasional drinking doesn’t necessarily have negative consequences, consistently consuming too much alcohol can seriously negatively impact your physical body.

Understanding the consequences of consistent alcohol consumption can increase your awareness of the dangers associated with alcohol addiction and the importance of getting help to address the disease.

How Much Alcohol Does It Take to Damage the Liver?

Moderate drinking, or drinking safely, has been identified as one drink for women and up to two drinks for men per day.

This refers to:

  • 12 ounces of beer with a 5% alcohol content
  • Five ounces of wine with a 12% alcohol content
  • One and a half ounces of liquor with 40% alcohol content

If you find yourself consuming more than two glasses of alcohol a day (or one for women), you’re at increased risk of developing liver damage early on.

That’s because anything exceeding the previously mentioned limits will make it difficult for your liver to process the alcohol before releasing it into the bloodstream, dramatically increasing potential damage to your liver.

Alcohol and Liver Damage: What You Need to Know

Your liver is the first line of defense against intoxication when you’re consuming alcohol. It works to filter out the potentially harmful toxins from your bloodstream and prevent them from making their way to your brain and other vital organs.

Your body is keenly aware that alcohol is essentially poisonous, so it kicks in natural defenses to avoid the substance from negatively impacting your overall health. If every drop you drank were allowed to flow into your bloodstream and make its way to your brain and organs, it would do a significant amount of damage.

Additionally, if your liver isn’t functioning properly, you’re more susceptible to infection and illness. That’s why heavy, long-term use of alcohol can result in extensive liver damage and cause you to experience a wide array of serious physical ailments that negatively impact your overall health and well-being.

How Alcohol Damages the Liver

The most common, and most destructive, physical issues caused by alcohol abuse that directly impact your liver include the following:

1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver refers to the abnormal accumulation of fat in your liver, which can cause your liver to become enlarged.

It’s typically asymptomatic and completely reversible once you stop drinking. Alcoholic fatty liver disease is very common in heavy drinkers and has been estimated that 90% of people who drink heavily have some form of this condition.

Most individuals with alcoholic fatty liver disease have no symptoms. However, when symptoms are present, they can include fatigue and discomfort in the area of the liver.

2. Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcohol addiction has been shown to cause significant swelling of the liver in this stage of disease and the outcome generally depends on the severity of damage.

In some instances, treatment can reverse the damage, while more severe cases of alcoholic hepatitis can lead to liver failure.

If you continue to consume alcohol excessively at this stage, inflammation levels can begin to increase in your liver. This can lead to pain in the area of the liver, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and jaundice.

3. Cirrhosis of the Liver

In the case of cirrhosis, a lot of your normal liver tissue is permanently replaced by scar tissue, which is called fibrosis.

At this stage, blood flow through your liver becomes extremely difficult and fluid accumulates in your abdominal cavity. This can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and brain damage, due to increased toxins in the bloodstream. It’s important to know that alcoholic cirrhosis can’t be reversed.

Treatment focuses on minimizing additional liver damage and addressing any complications that arise. In advanced cases, a liver transplant is usually necessary.

Ready to Turn Your Health Around? It’s More than Possible

The damage that can be inflicted by an alcohol use disorder is significant, but the opportunity to turn your situation around and begin healing your body can start today.

Finding the right treatment facility to address your alcohol addiction in a safe and holistic manner enables you to overcome your substance use disorder and develop life-changing techniques to aid in avoiding relapse instances in the future.

Living with an addiction can feel overwhelming, but facing your addiction with the assistance of a clinically qualified treatment center is exactly the help you need to overcome your addiction and begin your path back to health and happiness.

Holistic Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Alcohol has no power over you. Your new life starts the moment you declare you have complete control over your actions, health and future.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we provide holistic detox and alcohol recovery treatment that offers personalized and long-lasting care.

Learn more about our alcohol treatment program or contact us today to start your journey toward detox and recovery.