When someone binge drinks or drinks excessively frequently or struggles with alcohol use disorder (AUD), it can take its toll on the body. One such condition is alcoholic hepatitis, which develops gradually from continued alcohol use. Learning more about this condition and what someone can do can help prevent further complications.
What Is Alcoholic Hepatitis?
Alcoholic hepatitis—often hepatitis C—is a serious condition caused by drinking too much alcohol. It is an inflammation of the liver that leads to scarring and possibly cirrhosis (a more advanced form of scarring). Signs and symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, fatigue, and general malaise. Treatment includes abstaining from alcohol completely and medications such as corticosteroids or pentoxifylline.
How Does Alcoholic Hepatitis Affect the Body?
Alcoholic hepatitis affects the body in many ways. It can cause damage to the liver cells and lead to organ scarring, ultimately resulting in cirrhosis. This can affect a person’s ability to digest food properly, process medicines correctly, and remove toxins from the body.
Alcoholic hepatitis also causes inflammation of blood vessels around the liver and increases white blood cell count, indicating infection or injury. These issues can lead to further complications such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), fatigue, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it may even be fatal if left untreated.
What Are the Stages of Alcoholic Hepatitis?
The stages of alcoholic hepatitis are divided into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe. In the mild stage, liver inflammation is present, but no scarring or cirrhosis exists. During the moderate stage, more damage to the liver occurs with some degree of scarring. Finally, in severe cases, extensive scarring has occurred, which can lead to cirrhosis and potentially death if untreated. Treatment should be sought immediately at any stage to help slow the condition’s progression and reduce further complications.
How Long Does It Take for Alcoholic Hepatitis to Start?
The amount of time it takes for alcoholic hepatitis to start depends on the individual’s drinking habits. Symptoms may appear within a few weeks or months after excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption. However, sometimes, it can take years before any signs or symptoms become apparent. It is important to note that even moderate amounts of alcohol over long periods can cause damage to the liver, so seeking help as soon as possible is recommended if someone suspects their drinking habits are putting their health at risk.
Is it Reversible?
In some cases, alcoholic hepatitis can be reversible. If the person stops drinking alcohol and receives early treatment, the liver may heal itself over time and return to normal functioning. However, if cirrhosis has already occurred, it is irreversible and can only be managed with medications or a liver transplant. It is important to seek medical help as soon as possible to reduce further damage caused by this condition.
Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcoholic Hepatitis
Short-term effects of alcoholic hepatitis can include jaundice, abdominal pain and discomfort, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it can even lead to coma or death if left untreated. Long-term effects may include cirrhosis, a more advanced form of scarring that can lead to liver failure, portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the veins), ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen), and an increased risk for liver cancer.
How Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcoholic Hepatitis Managed?
The long-term effects of alcoholic hepatitis are managed through lifestyle changes, medications, and treatments. Lifestyle changes include abstaining from alcohol completely, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels.
Medications may be used to reduce inflammation in the liver or treat other complications, such as cirrhosis. Treatments such as vitamin therapy or herbal supplements can also help improve liver function and overall health. Finally, regular checkups with a doctor are essential to monitor one’s progress and catch any new symptoms early on.
How Does Detox Help Alcoholic Hepatitis?
Detox can help alcoholic hepatitis by reducing the amount of alcohol in a person’s system and providing medical supervision during withdrawal from alcohol. Detox is typically done under the supervision of a doctor at a medical detox center, who will monitor vital signs and provide medications to help with withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, tremors, anxiety, and insomnia. This helps reduce further complications caused by excessive alcohol consumption and allows the liver time to heal itself.
What Are the Stages of Alcohol Detox?
- Early Withdrawal: This stage usually begins within 6 to 12 hours after the last drink and can last up to 48 hours. Symptoms during this period may include anxiety, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, sweating, tremors, and high blood pressure.
- Acute Withdrawal: This stage typically lasts 24 to 72 hours after the early withdrawal phase ends. Symptoms may include depression, fatigue, headaches, and cravings for alcohol, among other physical symptoms.
- Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): During this phase, the body continues to adjust to life without alcohol, with symptoms such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, or sleeping being common complaints. PAWS can last for weeks or even months, depending on how long a person was dependent on alcohol before quitting drinking completely.
Luxury Medical Detox with a Personal Touch in Nashville, TN
At Detox Nashville in Tennessee, we understand it can be difficult to stop drinking, even when you have alcoholic hepatitis. We are here to help you take the first steps to recovery at our caring and compassionate medical detox center. Start your detox today by contacting us.