The liver can process moderate amounts of beer, wine, or liquor without issues. However, permanent harm to this bodily organ can occur due to heavy drinking over an extended period. Alcohol use is one of the leading causes of liver damage in the U.S. Learning more about the connection between alcohol and the liver can help individuals become more aware of potential complications and seek treatment to prevent issues.
If you have concerns about your own or someone else’s drinking habits, it is essential to seek professional help. For the most comprehensive alcohol rehab in Dallas, TX, you can turn to Fort Behavioral Health. Our safe and welcoming addiction treatment center helps clients address the root causes of alcohol use. Our master-level clinicians and addiction specialists are passionate about assisting clients in their healing journeys. Contact us at 844.332.1807, and we can tell you more about our programs and services.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Liver
Alcohol use can have a detrimental effect on the liver, especially when consumed in large quantities over an extended period. The long-term effects of alcohol use on the liver can be severe and even life-threatening.
The liver is responsible for several vital functions in the body, such as:
- Filtering toxins from the blood
- Producing proteins and enzymes that break down food
- Storing vitamins and minerals
- Producing bile, which aids in digestion
- Metabolizing drugs and alcohol
After consuming alcohol excessively for months or even years, the liver has to work much harder than usual to process it. This organ may become seriously damaged, compromising its ability to function.
Common Liver Diseases Due to Alcohol Use
Prolonged heavy consumption of beer, wine, or liquor may lead to potentially severe health complications. These may include the following:
1. Fatty Liver
Many individuals who drink heavily end up developing fatty liver disease. It occurs when excess calories in alcohol cause fat to build up more rapidly on the liver. Symptoms often vary depending on how much fat has accumulated but typically include:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Yellowing or discoloration of the skin
- Fluid retention
Most people with fatty liver experience only a few symptoms, and this condition is reversible if diagnosed and treated early enough.
2. Alcoholic Hepatitis
This form of hepatitis occurs when the liver becomes inflamed due to damage from alcohol use. Alcoholic hepatitis can vary in severity according to the amount of damage done, but long-term alcohol use may lead to permanent liver scarring. Mild forms of this condition can last for years if an individual continues to drink heavily. A more severe form of alcoholic hepatitis may occur after a shorter period of heavy drinking and can be life-threatening.
Around one in five heavy drinkers develops cirrhosis, an advanced stage of liver damage typically reached after years of drinking. The scar tissue from damage caused by alcohol builds up to the point that the condition is irreversible. Individuals in the early stages of cirrhosis may not experience symptoms at first, meaning damage to the liver can worsen with the continual consumption of beer, wine, and liquor.
It is important to note that not everyone who drinks will develop these conditions. However, those who drink heavily are at greater risk of developing them.
Turn to Fort Behavioral Health for Alcohol Rehab in Dallas, TX
If you or someone you know struggles with an alcohol use disorder, seek professional help at Fort Behavioral Health. We believe that compassion is critical during recovery and want to support you every step of the way. We can answer your questions and tailor our program to your specific needs.
At Fort Behavioral Health, some of our primary addiction treatment services include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- 12-step programs
- Motivational interviewing programs
- Dual-diagnosis treatment
- Trauma therapy
We strive to create a supportive community of addiction specialists, peers, and family members to give patients the tools they need to heal and reclaim their lives. To learn more about how we can help, contact us at 844.332.1807.