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The liver is a vital organ in a person’s body. It affects digestion, energy storage and rids the body of poisons. Hepatitis is the inflammation of this organ. Although typically hepatitis is caused by a virus, drugs and alcohol stress this organ and possibly cause the inflammation.
Those who partake in excessive alcohol consumption, in particular, over an extended amount of time, are more likely to develop this condition. The liver breaks down alcohol to toxic chemicals that damage the cells within the liver that then leads to swelling. The exact reasons behind the development of the condition aren’t completely known since only some heavy drinkers develop it, and people who are only moderate drinkers can develop it as well. Other factors appear to play a role since it doesn’t occur with all heavy drinkers. Genetic factors like how the body processes alcohol, the presence of other liver disorders and malnutrition all are possible factors. Women are more likely to develop alcohol-induced hepatitis. Researchers suspect this relates to the difference between how men and women process and absorb alcohol.
Symptoms depend on how much damage occurred. Those who have a very mild case may not have any symptoms and may not even know they have it. As the damage progresses, people experience a variety of effects such as changes in appetite and weight loss. Dry mouth is a common symptom as well. Because the liver is swelling, pain in the abdomen can occur. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms. Fever and fatigue have the potential to make a person believe he or she has the flu when it’s actually something much more. Jaundice, especially in the skin or eyes, has the potential to arise. In more serious cases, the person’s mental state can change, and he or she may become confused.
If a physician suspects it’s hepatitis, he or she will evaluate if the person has an enlarged liver. The patient will need to answer questions regarding his or her drinking and health history. It’s important to be honest because it’s possible for a misdiagnosis to occur if the patient isn’t. To confirm the diagnosis , the physician will order testing such as a complete blood cell count (CBC). Other testing options include a liver function test, a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the abdominal cavity or an ultrasound of the liver. If nothing else is able to diagnose the condition, the doctor may order a biopsy, which removes a small portion of tissue of the liver for testing.
Treatment of the condition involves quitting drinking to prevent further complications and to potentially reverse the damage. Alcohol rehab treatment centers help those who are unable to quit. In fact, an alcohol addiction treatment center will help a person to quit alcohol and act as a support system when battling an alcohol-related disorder. Keep in mind, if the damage is severe, a transplant may be needed, and the person must quit alcohol and prove he or she is going to refrain from alcohol use, which is usually best done when participating in a program in one of the alcohol rehab treatment centers in the area. Generally, the physician will monitor the patients for six months to determine if he or she is no longer drinking.
The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team provides assistance to those suffering from addiction and dual diagnosis conditions find a treatment program that fits their specific needs. The The Treatment Specialist – Addiction Helplines team will provide a free confidential assessment and insurance verification. For more information on treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, contact the Inspiration helpline at (877) 228-3270.