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ALCOHOL FAQS

How does alcohol cause liver disease?

The liver is an essential organ within the body as it filters the blood toxins, breaks down proteins, and creates bile to help the body absorb fats. Heavy alcohol use, especially over many years, result in healthy liver tissue being replaced with scarred liver tissue. This is referred to as alcoholic liver cirrhosis, and as the disease progresses, the healthy liver tissue is replaced with scarred tissue. The American Liver Foundation reports that between 10 and 20% of heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the most advanced form of liver disease that is related to consuming alcohol. The condition may start with a fatty liver and then progress to alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. The damage is done by repeated and excessive alcohol abuse. Healthy liver tissue starts to scar because of the excessive alcohol being processed by the liver. The body cannot produce enough proteins to filter toxins out of the blood as it should.

The symptoms of liver cirrhosis will start to develop when an adult is between the ages of 30 and 40. The body does compensate for the liver’s limited functions; however, as the disease progresses, the symptoms become more noticeable. Some of the symptoms include jaundice, portal hypertension, and itchy skin. Alcohol abuse is the most significant cause of liver disease, and typically the person has drunk alcohol heavily for at least eight years. Heavy drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks in one day on at least five out of 30 days, per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Cirrhosis of the liver causes a variety of complications, such as a buildup of fluid in the stomach. Other problems result in mental confusion, internal bleeding, and jaundice, which makes the skin and eyes have a yellow tint.

Liver disease can be treated, and doctors can help you reverse some of the progression of the disease. However, alcoholic liver cirrhosis usually cannot be reversed. The first step in treatment is, of course, getting the person to stop drinking. Typically, people with alcoholic liver cirrhosis are dependent on alcohol and require detox and treatment. Some treatment options include medications, nutritional counseling, extra protein, and a liver transplant. A liver transplant requires the person to be sober for at least six months to even be considered as a candidate.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Intervention Services

Alcohol abuse and addiction that is devastating for the physical and mental health. However, with proper help and treatment, the body can recover, but help should be gotten right away. The process of getting someone addicted to alcohol into an alcohol inpatient rehab center is not always easy. Many families attempt a family intervention without the help of a professional interventionist, which is not always successful depending on the circumstances. Hiring a professional interventionist is beneficial because they have the training and knowledge to help guide the family through the intervention.

Typically, the first day is spent with the family educating the family about intervention and addiction. The next day the intervention takes place, and when successful, the drug-addicted person is escorted to treatment. While they are in rehabilitation, the interventionist continues to work with the family, offering advice and counseling. Interventions are successful when organized and planned, and there are certified intervention groups across the country, providing these services. Alcohol addiction is difficult for any family to manage, and the intervention process helps the family regain control and save the life of their loved one.

When deciding on alcohol rehabilitation programs, there are numerous options to consider. Within every state are resources and programs available to treat addiction. Professional interventionists can help families locate suitable treatment resources because they have worked with most programs. An addiction assessment is also a good option to consider because it helps a family narrow down rehabilitation options within their city, county, or state. Alcohol addiction requires a specific rehabilitation process, and typically the first step is detox.

The severity of alcohol addiction determines what method of detoxification required. If the alcohol addiction involves a lengthy history of daily alcohol consumption with the use of other drugs, medically supervised detox is required. Proper withdrawal management for alcohol addiction involves the use of medication to control withdrawal symptoms. Medical supervision is necessary because the withdrawal symptoms, with some cases, become deadly. The length of time needed in detox is different for each person, but it could last a few days or even weeks, depending on the individual.

Following medical detox or conventional detox, the next step with alcohol addiction involves attending a residential or outpatient drug treatment center. The average alcoholic has a long history of alcohol abuse and would benefit from a long-term residential treatment program. However, short-term residential centers provide effective treatment methods so long as follow up care is gotten. Recovering alcoholics benefit from remaining connected to other sober people, whether through 12-step meetings, sober living, or other forms of peer support. The process of becoming sober is not easy but not impossible—it takes work and a commitment to achieve sobriety. Whether the process is initiated with a family intervention or the person reaching out for help, it must be followed through with to the end.

Works Cited
https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/alcohol-related-liver-disease/

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