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alcoholic with cirrhosis drinking again

So, I was hoping to ask a doctor or nurse, but it looks like nobody is accepting new questions.  So I'm hoping there's somebody here with some expertise on this subject.  My problem is that my mom is an alcoholic, with advanced cirrhosis.  She had symptoms for at least a couple years and refused to see a doctor, until we finally had to take her to the emergency room, where she was admitted for liver failure.  She spent 6 weeks there, starting at the end of October of last year.  She had complications of cirrhosis, including ascites, edema, and pretty severe hepatic encephalopathy.  She was still in very bad shape when they released her, and I had to take care of her.  But much to my relief, she started improving, a lot.  Even her liver function was mostly in the normal range.  The end of April would have been 6 months sober and she could have gotten on the transplant list.  But.. she's started drinking again.  I refuse to drive her to the store for liquor, but she just walks, or asks neighbors or strangers for rides.  It's totally out of control, she's on a binge, buying a 750 ml bottle a day, or more.  I just wondered if anyone here knows what I can expect.. as in, how long before her health completely deteriorates again, and, how long could she live if she keeps drinking?
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446474 tn?1446347682
COMMUNITY LEADER
I am sorry you are dealing with such a difficult situation.

Your mom's issue is her alcoholism. Only when her drinking is addressed can her resulting liver disease be addressed. As was exemplified by not being eligible to be listed for a liver transplant.

I would suggest you post your questions on the MedHelp "Living with an Alcoholic Community" or the "Alcoholism Community" where others dealing with alcoholism may be able to help you.

When you mom has stopped drinking and is interested in managing her cirrhosis, and if need be, needs a liver transplant we will be happy to assist you with information about her cirrhosis you may have.

Best of luck to you and your mom!
Hector
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Avatar universal
Thank you for answering Hector.  Yes, her alcoholism is the first issue that needs to be addressed, I know.  I'm trying to figure out what I can do about that, if anything.  She hasn't been told she's ineligible for a transplant, she had reached about six months sober, and her doctor was surprised and pleased at how well she was doing, and arranged an appointment with a specialist to see about getting on the list.  So I was pretty horrified when she started drinking again.

My question was more about what to expect, medically, if she's unable to quit drinking again.  How long she'll survive, basically, and how long before her cirrhosis symptoms get worse again.  Maybe I will try another forum.  Thanks again.
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446474 tn?1446347682
COMMUNITY LEADER
There is no telling when particular complications of cirrhosis well appear for her or anyone for that matter. It all depends on how advanced her cirrhosis is. What we do know is that alcohol is toxic to a cirrhotic liver and it will cause even further damage.

Best of luck with getting your mom to face her life-threatening addiction to alcohol.

Hector
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Avatar universal
sorry for this situation

Even without drinking it is likely she will deteriorate over the next few years.  But drinking will drastically  speed up her demise im sorry to say.

Her previous hospital visit and symptoms indicates her liver is pretty far gone, it only needs about 15-20% of its cells alive to do its job, so when those horrible symptoms show up it means its dipped below that point.  There is a fairly strong possibility that her liver is around 75% dead already and that will never heal.

If she wants to live for some years( alot do) she has to stop drinking and protect what is left of her liver.

Cirrhosis can turn into life threatening bleed outs at any moment.  Even when drinking has stopped the bleed out threat remains even if the liver function returns to near normal.  its scar tissue and stops blood flowing through it and causes veins to burst.

nobody can say how long she will have, but few reach the point your mum has and live longer that a year or two.  Her condition is massively complex, but some do live for 5 or 10+ years if they stop drinking and get lucky with getting some liver function back.  The swollen veins can be banded to stop bleeding risks.  If she wants to live she must stop and do exactly what the doctors say.
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Avatar universal
Thank you for your response Ralph.  I had read something similar about the level of damage to the liver.  That for someone to have those complications, it's 80-90% destroyed.  I think that's why her doctor was surprised at how well she was doing.

She's on blood pressure medication because of the possibility of bleed-outs.  She hasn't been checked for esophageal varices, it's just assumed she has them.  She actually has had two GI bleeds from her intestines though.  And, since she's drinking again, she's often too drunk or unconscious to take her medicine.

You're probably right that she won't last long if she keeps it up.  She was feeling so sick today that she said she wants to try to quit again, but I have my doubts that she meant it.  She has a doctor's appointment this week, we'll see what happens.  Thanks again for your response.
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Avatar universal
You can't lose the faith.  I do believe that what your mom is finding out now is that with Cirrhosis getting drunk all over again loses its appeal.  In the old days (before getting sick) it was likely a lot of laughs.  Once your liver is destroyed by drinking she likely feels "Horrible" the next day as her body now processes the alcohol differently.
Let's hope that she's now getting it, that the Party's over.  Maybe her real wake-up call is becoming a reality.  I'm sure she's remembering how good she had been feeling the last 6 months.
If she were my mom I would encourage her to get help.  Maybe you could attend some meetings with her for support.  You sound like a loving, concerned daughter, and it's obvious she's lucky to have you.  Hoping that she learns the importance of loving herself.
Best to you
......,Kim
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Avatar universal
LD, Kim has really given you (imho) some excellent advice - I hope that you'll be able to help your mother.  She's so very fortunate to have a concerned daughter like you, and best wishes to you both -
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Avatar universal
Aside from my own comment about myself, I too lost my mother to alcohol cirrhosis many, many years ago, Like your mom she wouldn't go to a doctor and just got worse and worse, she looked like she was eight months pregnant when we finally forced her to go to a hospital. I was 17. that was 37 years ago, her liver had failed and she died 3 days later. On the way out the door to the hospital she was trying to grab a glass of booze. Very sad and not I am here looking at the same diagnosis, but I will fight it. As far as you mom, since she is an adult there is not much you can do, which was my problem. Maybe try reasoning with her, tell her you want her to be around for grandchildren, maybe something will click in her.
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Avatar universal
Thank you for your very kind words Kim.  Unfortunately her way of quitting isn't working at all.  She's been trying to wean herself off it, and is failing miserably.  Hasn't cut down even a little.

I've been trying for a long time to convince her to get help.  She actually attended one AA meeting long ago, but didn't like it at all.  That's an interesting suggestion about attending with her.  I would think that it might make her uncomfortable having me there, but I could ask if she'd like me to go.

She actually did admit to her doctor that she's drinking and she tried to help.  She gave her a phone number for a therapist, and she prescribed Ativan, which apparently helps with withdrawal, but it seems to me that's dangerous in an uncontrolled environment where the patient can get alcohol and my mom doesn't want to take it anyway.  She also prescribed Vivitrol.  Which could be really helpful, but from what I've read I'm not sure it's safe for people with cirrhosis.  So I'm still working out what to do.  But I appreciate the support and the well wishes.  Thanks a lot:)
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Avatar universal
Kim did give me some good advice:)  I hope I can help my mom too but it's hard to stay positive at this point.  Thanks for your encouragement and support.  Best to you.
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Avatar universal
I'm so sorry about what happened to your mom.  17 is way too young to have to go through that.  I'm actually in my thirties, but it still isn't easy.  My mom's liver was failing too, I think she came very close to death and I got the impression from one of the doctors that they didn't think she'd recover.  I'm so sorry yours didn't.  And I'm very sorry to hear that addiction got you too.  I very much hope that you can fight it, don't give up.  You can still recover and last for years as long as you can quit drinking.  I wish you the best of luck with that.

I do my best to reason with my mom, but as I'm sure you know, it's hard to reason with an addict.  I will keep trying though.  Thank you for the support.  Best wishes to you.
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Avatar universal
LD.   Just checking in to see if you've had any progress thus far.  After contemplating your post I wanted to share some thoughts with you.  I'm also an alcoholic and have Cirrhosis.  I quit drinking almost 3 years ago and am feeling great.  I have the most amazing children,  wonderful parents and friends.  I feel truly blessed.  I also almost killed myself with alcohol.
The reason that I'm telling you this is because you need to know none of this is your fault.  A lot of it has to do with our coping skills and our inability to interact with others.  Many of us suffer from depression and anxiety and when we drink it is only then that we feel "Normal". Thru the years no one has understood why someone such as myself would drink.  I had it all!  Your mom must feel tremendous guilt and shame as most alcoholic do.  She is not in any way trying to hurt you.  Alcohol addiction is a horrible disease and the outcome should the person continue to drink, not good.  Please don't feel in any way that her misguided choices are a reflection of you.  It is her choice to drink, and her choice to stop.  All you can do is love her and hope she accepts the help so desperately needed.
Warm wishes
......Kim
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