Drinking too much and scared

Hi, I am brand new to the forum.

43 year single mum. I have always liked a drink, more of a weekend partygoer. These last 12 months my drinking has escalated. Bottle of wine with meal, cocktails, shorts. Friday, Saturday, sometimes wine on a Sunday. No other reason other than it is a habit i have slipped into. I have no withdrawal if I don't drink and don't even miss it through the week. I have no symptoms but have been to see the doctor because I am frightened I have already caused irreversible damage. I don't get my blood results till Wednesday and I know i will be fretting till then. I haven't drank since Sunday. I have read so many frightening things on the internet. I guess what I am asking is if I have no symptoms is it less likely that there is severe damage and what anybody else's experience is of the evil drink. Thank you for any replies. Very worried.

51 Replies

  • Where to start....i am a 52 year old single Mom. Knock the alcohol on the head. I have recently lapsed but am back on track now type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, high cholesterol....the list goes on. Some of my friends who drink have had normal blood results and use it as an excuse to carry on.It is hard but you can do it.xx

  • Hi Susan62, thank you for replying. Do you mind if I ask how much you were drinking a week and for how long. How long were you drinking before diagnosis with fatty liver? Did you have any symptoms? I know I need to stop. I just think I will find it very hard to stop completely.

    Thank you. Jo

  • I drank for years but just socially. The problem began when I started drinking in the house. It started with a couple of glasses of wine a night then that wasn't enough. Used to come in from work and open wine instead of having a cuppa.Ended up drinking 20-40 units daily. Don't get me wrong, always held a good job down as a nurse.Worked hard and felt I needed a reward following the stress of the day.x

  • How long ago was that and how are you doing now? Did you just decide to go to the doctors or did your diagnosis come from something else. I also work full time and feel that I deserve a drink at the weekends. I know tomorrow will come and I'll want a glass of wine, at the same time worry about my bloods so probably have a glass to forget about that.

  • Hi blaze. Hope you've been ok. Regarding your post it's good thing you came on here whilst having no symptoms. Shows you care for your body and want to avoid future damage. With your kind of drinking you could be heading to disaster. Your liver won't show any problems until the disease is advanced.You won't have any symptoms either. Did you know you could have normal liver function tests and still be in trouble ? At first I was shocked too. That's because when the liver is inflamed (alcoholic hepatitis) then your liver levels are bound to rise. Then it becomes to late to do something. Even people with alcoholic cirrhosis (end stage) have normal LFTs sometimes. Your best choice is to give up altogether and save yourself the health problems that come along with drinking. I'm only 23 and was drinking very heavy for only 7 months due to high levels of anxiety. I now have upper abdo pain over my ribs and it's lasted for over a year now. I still have it. I have normal bloods and ultrasound but have quit drinking. After your blood test could you probably get an ultrasound? This will show a fatty liver if present. The best test for liver health is a fibro-scan this measures in kpa and shows the liver stiffness and health. Also shows cirrhosis and future chances of developing liver problem. This test is very accurate and near enough a biopsy. Goodluck.

  • Hi justme123, thanks for replying. After stating no symptoms I now have a dull ache on my right side, can't really pinpoint and it comes and goes. Sometimes nothing for hours. I am assuming my bloods will come back with problems. When I went to the doctors she felt all around my stomach and said there was no inflammation but if the results came back problematic they would automatically send me for ultrasound. I am hoping that it is nothing more than fatty liver. I really am scared. I don't think my excessive alcohol intake has helped my anxiety issues. It seems like these last 8/9 months I have no off switch that tells me to stop drinking. I always drank before but knew when I'd had enough. I'm so angry with myself for putting myself in this situation.

  • Hi blaze. When I first quit drinking the pain in my upper abdo was very intense. Not to the point I would have to run to the hospital but very painful much much more than you describe. My bloods came back normal with liver panel and so did the Ultrasound. So never say never. There is a good chance of the LFTs being normal and you still having a fatty liver. That's because no test is 100% so I would push for an ultrasound even though if the LFTS come back normal. Your doc should have automatically booked you one as you have the ache and because of your drinking history. Regarding the the doc feeling your abdo and telling you no inflammation is false info. You can't possibly feel the stomach and see if a liver is inflamed. Poss want to change GP ?. The liver palpation done on you could tell the doc if your liver enlarged though. So a good sign. But still ultrasound is needed at this point.

    I don't think you are in any sort of advanced stage as you would of had more symptoms showing up by now so don't panic. This is a warning sign from your body telling you to stop. So take the hint personally.

  • hi join the club... when you get the blood results-ask for a copy-anything out of range-ask for an explanation and "fess up" why it might be. If you haven't done so ask for your GGT levels to be checked. if you don't have too much in the way of symtoms then you're probably ok but treat this as a wake up call... This is the site for support btw ceratinly helped me-I have fatty liver from years of too much wine. However you would be surprised how much the liver can fix itself-.

    My advice-no bingeing-have a few weeks off and stick to sensible limits i.e. 14 units a week. BtW there's a reason for those weekly guidelines...they work!

    ps search on my posts on GGT-I had and always had completerly normal blood tests other than GGT

    take it easy

  • Hi Briccolone, thank you for replying. I've already 'fessed' up to the doctor which is why she's ordered the tests. She told me to cut down but didn't say stop altogether? I was thinking maybe sticking to the guidelines now because I really think I could do it. I guess I wait for the results? In the meantime I feel like I'm getting other symptoms, the niggly ones, aches etc but don't know if it's my mind playing tricks on me because I am a very anxious person. How is your fatty liver now? Do you drink at all?

  • my fatty liver was diagnosed by ultrasound but initially after 3 months abstinence all my symptoms disappeared and I had a GGT of 167. I would take a bet that you havent done any serious damage yet-heed the advice of fellow posters. Once your bloods are returned to normal and other tests are clear then and only then have a drink now and again within limits-dont forget that as a woman your liver cant take the alcohol levels that men can take due to reduced size of the liver


  • Welcome along. You've come to the right place . A lot of us in the same position. I was drinking possibly a little too much and lost my medical due to a high ggt reading. I knew I had fatty liver. I had no choice but to stop drinking for a year, prove I didn't have addiction issues (which I didnt) and see how it goes. The only advice I can give reading your post, stop drinking completely for 6 months minimum. I stopped in December. Not had a drop, by choice. If you don't, you need to prepare yourself for a slippery slope which will end up affecting your family as well as yourself. Is that fair?

    Also, you say you feel you 'deserve' ? A drink? Why don't you deserve a nice glass of iced water with a half lemon squeezed into it?

    I have learned a hell of a lot over the last 6 months. Please just stop drinking today for the next six months. Drink cups of tea. Avoid social situations which may make you want a drink. Doesn't mean you have to avoid social situations. Be the dedicated driver? Good excuse to stick to tonic water. I hope you can accept that now is the time to start putting things right before it all goes pear shaped. You have my 100% support. Just keep posting up and we'll all be here with our pearls of wisdom. Good luck. :)

  • Thank you for posting. How did you get diagnosed with fatty liver? Did you have some pain? As per my last post I feel I am getting some symptoms now, dull ache inside right rib and back but that feels like muscular. definite pins and needles in hand last night but then I had been holding my phone for hours scouring the internet and this forum. They feel a little tingly this morning but I really don't know if it's my mind going crazy. Sorry to be gross but checked my stools this morning, seemed little paler and some undigested food in there but then I am a bag of constant nerves with nervous tummy ache so maybe that was the reason. My doctor said to just cut down when I went to see her and she would run the bloods. I can't concentrate on anything at the moment, this worry and feeling that I have caused damage is consuming me. I keep thinking I haven't been drinking long enough for cirrhosis but then who knows. Still not had a drink since Sunday and I don't crave it or miss it but weekends are my weakness. I'm rambling but I'm too embarrassed to talk to anyone because I think I sound neurotic.

  • If you have no symptoms then there is a chance that you have realised in time.

    Sometimes you can have an issue without symptoms but if that were the case stopping drinking now would prevent any escalation and if any stress that had been caused to your liver. It would more than likely settle down as long as you refrain from alcohol

    Best wishes

  • The only reason I knew I had fatty liver years ago was due to an employment blood test showing high ggt. Scan showed fatty liver. Reduced alcohol intake and results reduced but they've never returned to normal. We're 420 in Dec. 270 in Jan. 159 last week. So on the right track. Did have slight pain in right side once or twice but that was put down to being possible gallstone issue.

    Go look in a mirror. Pull your eyelid back. Is the white of your eyes have a yellowish tinge? Are you're feet looking a little swollen? Stools would be very pale and loose.

    There are so many signs but by stopping drinking, straight away you're giving yourself the best shot at an extended life. Do you have kids? Do they need a mother? What's more important? Drink or the kids? It's just a lifestyle readjustment. Get a hobby going. Stay busy. Do p90x lol. I am! Lightest I've been in 4 yrs since last time I did it. The liver can take some amount of abuse but it will give up at some point. What that point is everyone is different and you normally only get symptoms when it's too late.

    DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT NOW. sorry for shouting. But this is maybe the wake up call you need. Oh and look at it this way, the second you say to yourself I'm not drinking again until this is sorted, the liver starts to regenerate ! Right now. It'll start to repair as best it can. Do it if not for you, then for those around you who will need to lice with the aftermath. As I said, we're all here because we have similar stories. Mind over matter. You can do it. You don't need drink. Get on the green tea. Oh and buy something called NAC. Take that everyday. N-Acetyl Cysteine. An amino acid with great antioxidant properties. It'll possibly help the liver repair. Isn't doing me any harm and was recommended by someone on here.

  • No white tinge, no swollen feet, stools not that pale but I have always had loose stools sometimes especially when worried/nervous. I do have kids and that is why I feel so ashamed. You are right I need to stop. I'm really hoping it's not too late. I'm so worried.

  • its not too late trust me!

  • yep am in the same boat as you-same symptoms exactly-the lowest ggt I ever managed was 167 after 3 months abstinence froma high of 215

  • good post

  • If I was you I wouldn't worry. Are you feeling fit and healthy enough to live right now? If so then you're fine. You've the courage to realise you needed to make a few lifestyle changes for you and your family. That's great. I think you'll be fine. You don't appear to rely on a drink. Hell we all enjoy a drink sometimes. I'd love a glass of wine with a meal but I've just said no, nothing for a year and see where I'm at. I've never had a drink problem. Just drank too much when I worked at sea. It was the 'done thing'

    There's no need to worry about things which haven't happened. You've made a massive step by knowing there could be an issue. You're now doing something about it. Can't ask for more than that. One day at a time. Enjoy each day as it comes. I feel clearer headed and more energetic with not drinking a thing, and u only drank 20-25 units a week. But my liver mustn't like alcohol now. As unbelievable as it may seem, and regardless what the movies these days seem to portray, there is no such thing as immortality. :)

  • Why even stick to government guidelines? This is your health were talking about..?? Just quit cold turkey. Why walk down a road which has a dead end.

  • Hi good job you come on here. I am 38, i was a social then it turned into drinking at home 4or 5 nights a week this was a bottle of wine. I had no symptoms at all i had blood tests for something entirely different, then my whole world changed when i was called in to see a consultant. I had cirrhosis, this was 2 and a half years ago, i am now going through tests to go on transplant list..... so take the twinges seriously think as it can happen to anyone at anytime, believe me once you have stopped for a few months you will wonder what all the fuss was about. I am not here to scare you, but tell you the truth fingers crossed its just a warning for you and if it is dont ignore it.

  • Hi blaze123, I'm male 40 and was an alcoholic. I started drinking because of panic attacks. At my worse I was drinking 9+ litres of cider a day. To be honest I hardly had any symptons at all, not any I really noticed anyway. I went and got help for my drinking had a detox and got off it. A couple of months later I had an upper gastric bleed, woke up on the floor throwing up blood. I got rushed to hospital where I spent the next 8 days recovering. I had liver cirrhosis , portal hypertension and varices. That was 2 years ago and things are now under control. I am pretty fit and healthy, I obviously don't drink anymore and it just goes to show you can turn things around. Try not to panic it doesn't mean anything like this is wrong with you. Don't worry too much about your symptons, when your worried about it they can end up being more in your head than anything else. Stay off the internet as well, you'll convince yourself you've got every disease out there lol. You've done the right thing by going to your doctor and try and get an ultrasound no natter what your bloods are, just to put your mind at rest if anything. If you think you have a problem with your drinking stop now, things will only get worse and can spiral out of control, believe me, I know. Even if you don't have a problem, its advisable to stop completely for a while, not to just cut down. It will give your liver the best chance to recover and get better if there is any damage. Keep your chin up, let us know how you get on.

  • I have just had first gastroscopy ,oesophageal varices grade 1, moderate portal hypertensive gastritis going to be put on propranolol stopped drinking ,what to expect?can u get rid of varices?

  • Yes it is possible to get rid of varices or get them under control. I had banding done on mine, I still have a couple of very small one's but they don't need any treatment. I am also on propranolol to help manage them and have an endoscopy once a year just to keep a check on them. I'm no expert but if you stay off the drink and keep up the treatment, I would of thought they could be kept under control. How are you doing, I hope you are okay.

  • appreciate your response do you have a fibroscan number i am 19.2,liver function tests normal though of course i have cirrhosis,weird

  • I've never had a fibroscan, I was diagnosed with ultrasound so can't help you with that one. The bloods can be normal even with cirrhosis. My bloods are quite normal, apart from platelets being low, around 75, half what they should be and bilirubin being a little high. Keep up with what your doing and live healthy and hopefully it will keep your condition under control.

  • how is your portal hypertension?

  • Yeah its okay, like I said I have an endoscopy once a year just to keep an eye on thing's and drugs to help keep it under control. As the specialist puts it "they are managing it." I just let them get on with it and don't let it worry me. I think thats the best way. Do you cope well?

  • Always alcohol on my back

  • Yeah I know what you feel like, but its something your going to have to kick if you want things to get better. Its always there but it does get easier as time goes on. Just keep reminding yourself what will happen if you carry on drinking. Its a very sobering thought. And you've always got this place to come to.

  • Appreciate it all thanks

  • Do you know much abut bilirubin? Mine was a little elevated with direct being .2 and indirect elevated.

  • stop drinking alcohol before it is too late. don't want to scare you but on a personal note a few months ago i was diagnosed with a liver disease, only drink 2 ciders at weekends-not any more-been told by Nurse to stop drinking. i don't miss drinking alcohol & it is interesting the things you don't miss when you realise what damage it does.

    don't worry about your results, worry only makes things worse & will have an unconscious influence on the results. instead try to think positive & visualise your results coming back fine. this might sound stupid but believe me it does work & has been a great help with my illness. since staying off the drink i am a happier, more laid-back person(might have more to do with change of outlook since disease) & believe that alcohol makes people worry more.

    another help for me is Paul Mckenna's books his latest one `3 things that will change your destiny today! ' is great & has helped me(still does) no end. with this book you get a free pass to his website, go to mckenna.com, click on the `downloads' link & enter the code KT94X462U. these downloads are great & as he says they are just like having a session with him, the `Havening' is a must & will help in your situation. i can't stress the importance of giving up alcohol, in your case it might be best to do it slowly-cut down gradually & may be have lower strength.

    put it this way - do you want to stay healthy? if the answer is `yes' then give up the drink, even if the results are fine, which i am sure they will be. You have 2 options here-stop drinking, worrying or continue down the same path & do damage to your liver. sorry to be blunt but this is the reality.

    good luck & stay positive

  • Sorry to hear your so worried.I gave up drinking as well after many years of abuse, Ive been on the wagon for about 4 years now.Just because you dont have alarming symtoms doesnt mean you havent already done damage, however, I believe that as long as you've stopped now your liver can be damaged as much as 70 percent, and regenerate itself.Live your life, allowing for your liver to Not have to work quite so much in the future.Give it a break, use your support network, family, and the friends you have left.I think being a little concerned and aware of what you consume, is healthy.Use this site, and the people that come forward, as we ALL have a wealth of knowledge.Good Luck, feel better.Si.

  • Dear all, thank you so much for your posts. My doctor phoned me this morning because she could see how worried I was. They came back as liver function fine, cholesterol a little high and also platelets but not sure what that represents. Didn't test for GGT (think that is the right abbreviation) so have asked that they check that too. I am going to see her Wednesday to go through them in detail. Maybe at that point I request an ultrasound? She has advised cutting right down with a view to complete abstinence if I think it's achievable. I am child free this weekend, they are with their dad so it is a good time to test my willpower. I have already told my boyfriend that I will not be partaking in the usual pub crawls and we need to find an activity that does not involve drink. I guess I see what the GGT results bring for Wednesday. Thank you again for your posts and support.

  • I would try and get the ultrasound as I said just to put your own mind at rest. Take this as a warning even if there isn't anything wrong. Scary isn't it -when you think theres something wrong with you. Remember that feeling because its easy to get complacent and fall back into the habit. You need to replace the alcohol with something else you enjoy and its important you get the support of your boyfriend also. Never thought I could kick the booze but it can be done and you will feel so much better for it. All the best.

  • Nbee, You are so supportive, thank you. This has definitely scared me and I plan to never get myself into this position again. I think I need to mature in my outlook. I'm not the teenager my inner self thinks. I am going to ask my doctor for an ultrasound on Wednesday and see what she says. I hope you are ok too. I will update you soon. Jo

  • Yeah I'm okay thanks. I know what you mean, I still think I'm 20 in my head. The body gives me a quick reminder every now and then that I'm not though lol

  • thats the spirit

  • The best test for the Liver is a Fibroscan. Its the only test that specifically looks for scarring of the Liver. Ultrasound wont show early damage very well. Also an ultrasound will only show fatty liver when its pretty well established.

    If your bloods are clear and your ultrasound clear then you shouldnt be in immediate danger.

    I havent had a drink for nearly a year now, the idea is stop before tests show something, I couldnt have imagined a life without alcohol before, it takes around 6 months for our brain to start to recover from the need to get sloshed.

    I had the blood tests and an ultrasound and lastly a Fibroscan, all clear! Dont forget the liver can recover from quite a beating, its when it gets to F3 and F4 Fibrosis that your in mortal trouble

  • Hi blaze. Really glad to hear your results came back fine. You need to work a little on the cholesterol, with good diet and excersise this should resolve fairly quickly. Regarding the ultrasound I think you should really push for one as fatty liver could still be there with normal numbers. A GGT is another important test as it's another enzyme which occurs in liver cells. Most regular and heavy drinkers have high numbers but will abstainance this resolves in time. In the UK they won't include it as it's the part of the procedure but gives very good indication on how angry the liver is. Low levels meaning liver is happy. You could request this test on your next blood rounds perhaps. Dirt cheap test it is so doc shouldn't have any obligations. Like a said before a fibro scan is the real test to determine any problems but for now I would get an US if I was you. Goodluck

  • Hi Justme, my doctor has asked them to perform the GGT rest on the bloods they have there now. I will see what she says on Wednesday. I am going to ask for US, this doctor is very helpful and I think she will arrange it. I will let you know. Thank you for your posts. I hope your pain subsides. Let me know how you are.

  • Welcome to the site, I'd like to say this to you, I've read all the time post's and I have liver problems too but take our advice you will realize that soon enough why we advise you to give up alcohol full-time. I had to give up drinking because I wouldn't have lived much longer. Sad to say it but I am so much happier with my life. Best wishes for the future.

  • Thank you Scotty. I really am going to try. Hopefully the self loathing will go too. I hope you are well now.

  • I stop drinking because a liver disease. You area capable to do whatever you want, so if you think drinking is bad for you, you can stop today.

  • As a ex liver transplant patient my message is simple. Stop drinking!

  • Blaze your doing the right thing and I know your smart enough to make the right decision for yourself. I don't want to see you or anyone head into disaster. pls try to get an ultrasound it's very important to at this point. Regarding my pain I think it's coming from my gallbladder. But I'm healing and it's getting better so hopefully everything goes good. Thanks.

  • Hi Blaze. I'm a little late into this conversation. Good news your results came back ok. I was diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in my mid 30s (10 years ago). I wasn't overweight and I hardly drank as I was a single mum and couldn't afford to go out anyway! (Hence the non alcoholic bit). My GGT was high (gamma gt) which apparently is high in alcoholics (obviously something I wasn't). I had an ultrasound initially which showed my liver was twice the size it should be. And then a fibroscan which didnt show any scarring luckily and I have these scans every couple of years. I've been on various medications to control my LFT reading which is now around the 100 mark (it was 3 x this initially) and I have blood pressure tablets and tablets to control Cholesterol. They've recently found gallstones too. My point is you don't have to be a heavy drinker or overweight to have liver problems. My doctor is baffled why I have them as I was always healthy. Just unlucky I guess! My only symptom was that I was extremely tired so my doctor did a full mot with my bloods including a lipid profile, GGT, kidneys etc and was shocked at the results.

  • You could watch the recent TV documentary on iPlayer bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b... and learn that your level of drinking is damaging your heart, liver, gut AND your dignity! Time to change. Think of your kids if you dont care about yourself.

  • I had no symptoms at all except the fact that I felt rubbish all of the time.Blood tests were way off the scale.I had ultasound scan and liver biopsy which showed fatty liver and some fibrosis. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.I have been doing really well,lost nearly four stone and lifestyle change.I always drank in the house on my own. As you will see I had a relapse about a week ago.Not drinking now and back to being positive. It just isn't worth it. I am due back at the Q.E in August and am hoping to be discharged. The last time the consultant saw me he couldn't believe the difference in me and I felt good.Back on track now.

  • Hi I am a 49 year old male former heavy drinker, I cut down to reasonable levels in my opinion (8 pints a week over 2-3 visits to pub) a few years ago. In March I was diagnosed with fatty liver and after recommendation from my GP have stopped drinking altogether, it has been a fairly easy transition for me though I do get occasional cravings. It isn't the end of the world though, I still go to the pub twice a week, I still socialise as I did before, just minus the booze. I got scared when diagnosed as I immediately thought I had a serious condition, it is life changing, but not life threatening if you take steps now to prevent things getting worse, and the changes to my life are all for the better.

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