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Signs of Alcohol-Related Liver Damage and What to Do

Signs of Alcohol-Related Liver Damage and What to Do

Excessive alcohol consumption, such as with alcoholism or even binge drinking can increase a person’s risk of developing liver damage.

Alcohol-related liver damage, often abbreviated as ARLD, is liver damage caused by prolonged heavy drinking and alcoholism. This condition can worsen quickly, but treatment may help.

The Types of Alcoholism Liver Damage and Disease

  The liver works hard to process the things we ingest, and prolonged alcoholism or alcohol abuse can increase a person’s risks of developing alcoholism liver damage. This can damage the liver’s ability to function properly, causing additional illnesses and conditions that must be treated.

There are three stages of alcohol-related liver damage:

  1. Fatty liver, where fat builds up around the liver
  2. Alcoholic hepatitis, where cells in the liver become inflamed
  3. Alcoholic cirrhosis, which is irreversible liver scarring that can lead to liver failure

Fatty liver, the first stage of ARLD, is developed by virtually all heavy drinkers. 1 If alcohol-induced fatty liver disease develops and the drinking continues, a person runs the risks of developing alcoholic hepatitis and even cirrhosis and liver failure.

Symptoms of Alcohol-Related Liver Damage

  So, what are the symptoms of alcohol-related liver damage? ARLD symptoms may differ from person to person, but its most common symptoms are:

  • Diminished energy
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Spider-like blood vessels in the skin

More severe symptoms of alcohol-related liver damage include:

  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Fluid buildup in the legs and abdomen
  • Easy to bruise
  • Pale stools
  • Confusion

Many of the signs of alcohol-related liver damage require medical diagnosis and treatment. The safest step is to first stop drinking with the help of a professional alcohol detox program.

Treating Alcohol-Related Liver Damage

  The first step in treating ARLD is to stop drinking. Positive lifestyle changes like quitting drinking and developing a healthy diet can help reverse early stages of ARLD for many patients. 2 More severe liver scarring may not be as easily reversible, but there are medications and treatments your doctor may be able to prescribe to help improve the liver’s performance and recovery.

Issues like alcohol-related liver damage and other illnesses of alcoholism show the importance of finding sobriety. It’s time to get and stay sober. Our Heartland alcoholism treatment program can help.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our treatment options and support for your recovery



  1. American Liver Foundation - Alcohol-Related Liver Disease Facts at a Glance
  2. Mount Sinai - Alcoholic liver disease
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.