What Is Alcoholic Hepatitis?

I began drinking when I was in my teenage years and didn’t get sober until I was in my late 30’s. Everyone in my family was an alcoholic, and all of them who have passed on so far died as a result of their alcoholism. Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, the list goes on and on.

Alcoholic Hepatitis in the Family

My uncle just recently died of alcohol-induced hepatitis. I was unaware that you could get hepatitis from drinking, making it all the scarier. It’s another reason why my plan for today and the future is to stay sober. I do not want to be another statistic like my other family members. My sobriety has actually influenced some of them to either quit drinking or try to curtail their alcohol intake. That makes it all worthwhile for me.

Inflammation of the Liver

Alcoholic hepatitis is described as inflammation to the liver as a result of heavy alcohol abuse. It usually occurs to people who have drunk for a period of many years. When you are diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, you have to quit drinking immediately. My uncle was told this, and he didn’t listen to the advice. It eventually cost him his life.

When your liver begins to process alcohol, highly toxic chemicals are produced and have a negative effect on your liver cells. This inflammation eventually leads to alcoholic hepatitis.


Alcohol and Cirrhosis

There is a huge cirrhosis risk when you develop alcoholic hepatitis, and you run the risk of kidney failure. Reducing hepatitis symptoms can only be achieved if you give up alcohol and begin introducing a healthy lifestyle. If you are having trouble stopping drinking, the threat of alcoholic hepatitis alone should be enough to make you question your drinking. It may be uncomfortable to go through withdrawal symptoms, but that’s nothing compared to the pain of alcoholic hepatitis.

Managing Alcohol Withdrawals

When you are grappling with withdrawal, it can quickly lead you right back to the bottle.What-Is-Alcoholic-Hepatitis There is nothing more uncomfortable. It’s very difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through it. When do withdrawal symptoms begin? Typically within one day after you stop drinking. And they come on very strong and very immediately.

And if you’re using along with drinking, there are substance-specific withdrawal symptoms for each drug. For example, some drugs may take longer to withdraw from. Some may include more emotional stress than physical stress. Although there are differences, there are more similarities than anything. It’s a lot of physical and emotional turmoil no matter what.

Signs of Alcoholic Hepatitis

The most common symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis range from malnutrition, nausea and vomiting, abdominal tenderness, enlarged veins, and varices. Severe alcoholic hepatitis symptoms include fluid accumulation in your abdomen. This is a condition known as ascites. If you are experiencing ascites and abdominal discomfort, you are most likely a late-stage alcoholic. At this stage, you can be at-risk of many health complications from drinking, including alcoholic cardiomyopathy, and other serious consequences.

At this point, you are physically addicted, and quitting cold turkey can actually kill you. Certain types of hepatitis can be prevented. Prevention of hepatitis A can be achieved by getting a vaccine. Alcoholic hepatitis can only be prevented if you quit drinking. Long-term hepatic recovery is possible if you nip the problem in the bud.

Choosing Alcohol Treatment For Your Health

You would think hearing all these horror stories about alcoholism would make more people quit, but it’s not the case. Addiction is an escape more than anything else. You aren’t thinking about your mortality when you are abusing drugs or alcohol. Choosing to get clean will typically only come when you hit rock bottom. It usually takes an extreme event for people to consider recovery.

There are many addicts who never have a moment of clarity. It’s sad to think of all the people who lose their battle with addiction, which is what makes the success stories so special.

Liver damage and cirrhosis are inevitable for those who drink heavily into old age, drinking chronically on a regular basis. It’s rare, but there are cases of individuals who have had liver damage very young. This usually results from mixing alcohol and other drugs.

I used to mix opiates and alcohol all the time due to the enhancement of the high. One made the other one more powerful. Luckily for me, my liver was able to recover from the damage I did to it. Your liver is vital to your survival. If your liver is shot, there’s no coming back.

Is Alcoholic Hepatitis Reversible?

People get clean for different reasons. It can take one person one thing to get clean while it can take another person something different. I decided to get sober for the sake of my health. I saw the older members of my family wilt away due to alcoholism.

I didn’t want to end up like them. I knew that I was at a crossroads. Being later in my thirties made me realize that I was at a teetering point. If I continued drinking like I was, my body was going to go downhill very fast.

If you are in the older crowd, you are within the at-risk population for hepatitis. Beyond alcoholic hepatitis, there is a hepatocellular carcinoma risk. This is liver cancer. Liver cancer has a high mortality rate and you do not want to get to that point. There are plenty of people out there with liver cancer who were tortured with the idea that they could have quit drinking sooner to save their lives. If you make the decision to quit drinking sooner rather than later, you will avoid this outcome.

Please reach out to the compassionate team at Pathfinders Recovery Centers if you’re facing consequences from drinking you’d rather avoid. We can help guide you (or your loved one) on the path to lasting, long-term sobriety and back into healthy enjoyment of living. Use this moment as motivation to change, and speak to our Admissions team today.


Dealing with the Diagnosis

Alcoholic hepatitis is usually diagnosed through a series of tests. Your doctor will do a questionnaire to get a better idea of your habits. Blood work and a liver biopsy are other ways to test for hepatitis. If you are diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, there isn’t much the doctor can say that you shouldn’t already know.

They aren’t going to convince you to quit drinking. Only you can make that decision. Interestingly enough, a lot of alcoholics do not seek help until they are in the late-term stage.

Steroids and antibiotics may be prescribed for those suffering from alcoholic hepatitis. If your condition is too far along, you may be in line for a liver transplant. Getting on a waiting list for a transplant can take a while and having a damaged liver is a time-sensitive thing. A lot of people die before even getting close to getting a transplant.

Going through the recovery process is like working toward your degree. You learn a lot, and you grow a lot. Not only did I become more educated on the subject of addiction, I learned a lot about how I got to this point.

I didn’t know why I became an addict or how. I didn’t really think about it. All I knew is that I needed the drinking and drugs to get by. I could not live without them. The idea of sobriety was so foreign to me that I would’ve rather died.

It’s remarkable that your mind can go to such a dark place. I remember wondering how regular people go through their day without being inebriated. How do people honestly do it? This isn’t an uncommon thought. I learned through this process that most addicts have this feeling at one time or another.

It made me feel a lot better to know that I wasn’t crazy having these thoughts. It helped my family a lot as well. It made them feel much more at ease to know they weren’t the only family dealing with this. It can’t be stated enough that addiction support groups are a very necessary part of this process.

Supporting Long Term Sobriety from Alcohol

There are a number of addiction support quotes that I constantly go back to. My favorite of them is “Don’t let the past steal your present.” Sometimes all it takes is a simple sentence such as this to keep you on track. When I was newly sober, I spent a lot of time regretting my past decisions and the hurt that I caused. What could I do about it? How could I make it right? I learned that one way was to let myself off the hook and forgive myself. Self-forgiveness is huge.

My family also had to learn how to forgive themselves. You can spend the rest of your life wondering what you could’ve done differently. All you can really worry about is right now. Yesterday is over and done with.

We can learn from it, but we don’t need to be a prisoner there in our minds. It took a lot of reflection, but I embrace my past now because I wouldn’t have gotten to this point without the things that I experienced.

Not only have I grown as a person throughout my recovery, but my family has grown right along with me. We’ve grown together. We’ve all become more educated. They know what makes me tick. They know what to say and what not to say. We don’t harp on the past. We don’t avoid it either. We talk about everything openly and honestly. This was not the case before.

If you can recognize some of your stories in my own, please reach out to the staff at Pathfinders Recovery Center and let them ease your burden. The experts at Pathfinders have decades of experience and have helped people from all walks of life and levels of addiction recovery, call them now and let them guide you past the damage alcohol has caused and into a brighter future.


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
  • Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Our Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contact Us

See how much of your treatment is covered by insurance

(877) 224-0761


Skip to content