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How Alcohol-Related Liver Damage Can Increase Anxiety and Depression

Alcoholics have a handful of problems as a result of their drinking, from drunk driving to alcohol poisoning. One of the most pressing concerns for an alcoholic is the potential for alcohol-related liver damage. According to the American Liver Foundation, the three most popular forms of alcohol-related liver damage are fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis. Fatty liver disease means the liver builds up excess fat cells, while alcoholic hepatitis causes the liver to swell and suffer damage. Alcoholic cirrhosis is the most damaging, as it scars the liver to create organ failure.

How Alcohol-Related Liver Damage Increases Anxiety

Any of these three liver problems can increase a user’s anxiety. An alcoholic probably already experiences anxiety as a result of his drinking, or he may drink to deal with anxiety. However, anxiety may increase in the following ways when he faces a problem as serious as liver damage:

  • Concerns about death – Liver damage is so dangerous that it claims the lives of many people each year. When finally faced with this serious problem, some alcoholics become so anxious that they fear for their lives and experience overwhelming stress.
  • Being unable to stop – If an alcoholic finds out she has an alcohol-related liver problem, she might want to stop, but believes the addiction is stronger than her willpower. Feeling like she has to use, her anxiety increases: she wants to spare her liver, but doesn’t know how to stop.

Alcoholics may experience more anxiety if they fear how their loved ones will react to the news, as well as how those loved ones will fare if they end up dying from addiction.

How Alcohol-Related Liver Damage Increases Depression

Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows down the central nervous and respiratory systems. These feelings and the psychological changes may induce depression, but when combined with something as serious as liver damage, users may grow hopeless. Depression can then increase in the following ways:

  • Poor self-esteem – An alcoholic might experience poor self-esteem as his addiction can encourage a life-threatening injury either to himself or someone else
  • Having little opportunity – Alcoholics are ineligible to receive liver transplants, which exposes them to the pain of liver disease. The effects of knowing he cannot heal his body can make a user feel extremely depressed, as it seems that his life is not worth living.

Many alcoholics experience depression, and liver damage does not ward these feelings off. Instead, developing medical problems such as these can deepen depression.

How to Treat Alcohol-Related Liver Damage

It is important to understand that, if you continue to abuse alcohol, you may develop pressing issues such as liver damage. The best way to avoid these problems is to get treatment and stop drinking immediately.

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