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Alcoholic liver disease

  • Alternative Names

    Liver disease due to alcohol; Cirrhosis or hepatitis - alcoholic; Laennec's cirrhosis


    Treatment

    The most important part of treatment is to stop using alcohol completely. If liver cirrhosis has not yet occurred, the liver can heal if you stop drinking alcohol.

    An alcohol rehabilitation program or counseling may be necessary to break the alcohol addiction. Vitamins, especially B-complex and folic acid, can help reverse malnutrition.

    If cirrhosis develops, you will need to manage the complications of cirrhosis. You may need a liver transplant.

    See also: Alcoholic neuropathy


    Support Groups

    You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a support group whose members share common experiences and problems.

    See:

    • Alcoholism - support group
    • Liver disease - support group

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Continued excessive drinking can shorten your lifespan. The outcome will likely be poor if you keep drinking.


    Complications
    • Bleeding esophageal varices
    • Cirrhosis
    • Hepatic encephalopathy
    • Increased pressure in blood vessels of the liver (portal hypertension)

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You develop symptoms of alcoholic liver disease
    • You develop symptoms after prolonged or heavy drinking
    • You are concerned that drinking may be damaging your health