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Cirrhosis, my husband, won't stop drinking, what can I expect???

My husband has been told by many doctors in the last 5 years that if he does not stop drinking he will die....He has been in the hospital twice for alcohol hepatits and two weeks ago, severe jaundice, they keep him a couple of days and send him home telling him no one can do anything unless he stops drinking. He is very jaundiced, has spider veins all over his back and upper front, bruises and bleeds very easily, has had black tarry stools (not all the time) and has vomited blood. And yet he keeps drinking.....he's gone from hard liquor to beer, thinking that will help!!! I don't know what to do for him, does anyone have or had a similar experience???? Please advise me....or at least tell me what to expect as this disease progresses.....
9 Responses
Avatar universal
If at all possible contact Alanon.  They will not be able to help your husband but they will be able to help you.  I am sure your husband is unwilling to seek counseling for this disease but it does not mean that you should not.  As far as what to expect, sadly to say, I believe you know the answer to that.  Please, get yourself some help.  I am sure your nerves have to be on edge.  Alcoholism makes everyone in the family sick.  Take care of yourself, so you will be able to take care of your husband.  Let us know how you are doing.  Good Luck!
Avatar universal
hrmmmm.  i'm sorry to say, i've had many people in my family die of cirrhosis of the liver, and its horrible.  your husbands denial of having a problem is killing him, and unfortunately its out of your hands.  My dad is an alcoholic, but he's been sober this year for four years.  He did it because my mom left him, and had did not carry on the relationship with him until he sobered up, which took over a year.  It was very hard for my mom to make that decision, but she decided that the alcoholism was an unhealthy situation for her, and her removing herself from the situation happened to motivate him to do this as well.  The only thing you can have any control over here is how you act.  Unfortunatly, too many alcoholics die of thier illness, never accepting that they need help, dying of their addiction.  I really feel for you, you must be going through hell.  I would strongly suggest Alanon.  It did wonders for my mom, helping her deal with life without my dad, and helped her come to terms with all the hell he put her through.  You will meet lots of people there who have had all sorts of horrible situations with spousal alcohol addiction..... you may even find someone who went through the same thing you're going through.  I wish you luck.
Avatar universal
My brother is a determined alcoholic. He was throwing up and still drinking. Like your husband, nothing but nothing has stopped him. I'm sure he needs help. Mentally. We had an abusive father. He beat my brothers when they didn't meet his goals for them. They weren't allowed to socialize,listen to their music,or talk on the phone up until the time they moved out. Fortunately for my sisters and me we found prayers (we chant). To help us.
But my brother's are (except for one) are somewhat self destructive. I feel that an injury to their self-esteem can lead them to hide or escape with alcohol. What are they escaping from?
Their thoughts, the memories the pain. These people hide their injured egos. One of my brother's (the determined alcoholic) has hep-c. He came to me 3 years ago to help him. I provided money for herbs, organinc vegetables for juicing and support. He lived with our 83 year old Mom for 2 years. He has been to the hospital 5 times. He swelled up like a 9 month pregnant woman and he still drinks. Vodka because we can't smell it. My mother was suffering for him and we all prayed that he would move out of her house!! He finally left and moved to an apartment. Now he's with one of my brothers. He lives 2 blocks from a bar. He can walk to a bar if he chooses. He continues to destroy himself.
He has a very short memory. Looks jaundiced. Smells like alcohol.
We have all beg him to love himself. That he was throwing his life away he is a fabulous flamenco guitarist, paints like Michael Angelo, sculpts beautifully. He's made lots of money and lost all of it. His pain must be very personal. I have concluded only he can help himself. This is his loss. I pray for him to have a realization before there is no chance of recovery. I appologize for the length of my experience with my brother's life. Thank you and I pray for you.
Avatar universal
Don't be so quick to give up on him. He's not doing this on purpose. Join a group that will help you because with all the symptoms he has he will need you soon.
28293 tn?1213140550
All of the advice above is good advice.

Here's the answer to your original question. (The title of your post)---"Cirrhosis, my husband, won't stop drinking, what can I expect??? "

You can expect:

1. Ascites (fluid build up in the abdomen).
This can get massive if not kept under control with a low salt diet & diuretics.
When diet and diuretics aren't effective, paracentesis can be done.
When paracentesis isn't effective, a shunt can be installed (as a bridge to transplant).
Uncontrolled ascites leads to breathing problems, eating problems, mobility problems, hernias, and infections (peritonitis).
Peritonitis is a common cause of death in cirrhosis.

2. Varices (internal varicose veins, usually in the throat, stomach, and intestine).
Varices can be (somewhat) controlled with ligation, sclerotherapy, and by taking beta blockers.
Sometimes a shunt is installed to relieve the pressure on varices.
Hemorrhage from varices is a common cause of death in cirrhosis.

3. Encephalopathy (mental changes----ranging from confusion, forgetfullnes, irritability...to coma.)
Encephalopathy can be somewhat controlled with Lactulose.
Uncontrolled encephalopathy can lead to coma (death).

Those three things are what you can expect to deal with.

If your husband continues to drink, you are guaranteed to deal with it all.  (Sorry, it's true.)

Here's some blunt truth---YOU are the one who will be in charge of handling all the emergency situations that he is setting you up for.

He can slow this whole thing down by avoiding alcohol.

One more thing----most liver transplant centers demand 6 months sobriety before listing a patient for their transplant waiting list.

He should get sober NOW if he's even halfway considering a life-saving transplant.
Jaundice and bleeding are bad signs.
(Tarry stools mean internal bleeding is going on.)

Good Luck to You.

Avatar universal
Hi. I'm sorry to hear about your husband. I'm a recovering alcoholic and I have hep c. I want to help if I can because it looks like it's now or never. Here is what I did to recover.  
I admited that I had a problem with alcohol. I admited I needed help. I agreed to let a superior power (God) help me.
I concentrated very hard on being sincere with myself about myself. In being sincere I found that I am a good person on the inside and that I had just destroyed my outside. I found an inner light. The inner light gave me strength and courage to  say no to that drink. I took one step towards recovery every day. It was very hard to walk at first. I was totally emotionally destroyed. I began to get better just by taking one step in the right direction everyday. Maybe you can get your husband to make an effort to take one step in the right direction. Just for today.
Take care.
Avatar universal
just like you. I  have  come  to the decision its out of my hands i love him but i cant make him do anything! i can be here and  i encourage him but the pain i feel is all most as devasting to me to just watch this because i love him. glad to know im not alone
Avatar universal
A related discussion, Husband won't get real help for Alcoholism! was started.
Avatar universal
A related discussion, HELP... was started.
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