British Liver Trust
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Varices banding

Hello again all. My friend was discharged from hospital yesterday. He was kept in for a full week and was desperate to get out from the day he was kept in, hating being trapped. He had banding on four varices and was a very sick man as far as we understand. He even thought he'd be coming home the same day as the banding was done... He told us yesterday that the hospital said he SHOULDN'T stop drinking immediately in case of seizures, but gradually come off it with a little alcohol at a time. We thought he was joking and laughed at the very idea, but he said he was serious. Could this really be the case, or is he in denial and making it up? I'd have thought he would've gone through any withdrawal symptoms and seizure risks during the past week of hospitalization?

We now need to know the right thing to do to support him following this awful experience.

Thanks so much for any feedback.

7 Replies

This could well be right.

But if he's been in hospital for a week I'm not so sure, because they'd have dealt with that wouldn't they?

Also I know when I was in hospital they had me on detox tablets. It's a long story but my cirrhosis wasn't due to alcohol but they didn't believe me. I was in hospital and it wasn't until I questioned some of the tablets I was taking that I found out I was on these. However because I didn't need them they had the opposite effect and made me worse. They also put me on steroids as this can help the liver recover from alcohol induced cirrhosis, but again after a biopsy and they found out it wasn't alcohol they took me off of this too.

So perhaps he should be on these medicines???

I don't know for sure though, interesting. Would they let you out of hospital and recommend that you do this yourself? I mean if you've got a drink problem imagine restricting your own intake won't be easy.

If it's the case that he's turned down help then they can't force him to do anything, and they wouldn't be obliged to tell you either.


Thanks for this. You've echoed my thoughts on it. I would've thought that being in charge of a bottle of anything alcoholic would be a temptation too far.


If he has been in hospital for a week without alcohol or a seizure then he has already detoxed. I had a hospitalised detox back in 2002 and was only on librium for 5 days and the dosage was reduced across these days. I was lucky and did not have a seizure, but I was on a ward with 19 other alcoholics and none of them had a seizure for the two weeks I was in there either. If your friend is an alcoholic of my type then he will not be able to reduce the amount he drinks for any length of time, I start obsessing about the 2nd, 3rd and 10th drink before I have finished consuming the first. I am guessing that if your friend wanted to drink then he will now be back on the merry go round and therefore the situation is very different and it may be that he needs medication to come off alcohol. I have conversations with lots of alcoholics and to date have not met one who has managed to reduce their alcohol consumption and remain consistent with this over time. For me and for many others like me only abstention works and sometimes medical intervention is needed to achieve this.

I wish your friend all the very best and hopes he gets to a place where he is able to remain abstinent, for his liver if nothing else.

There are agencies who work with alcoholics and also Alcoholics Anonymous, maybe your friend may find these helpful. Sorry my computer has been at the doctors for a week so was unable to respond earlier



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Thank you very much Anne. Kind of you to reply. The problem we have is that now he's out of hospital and back in his own home, he's shut his door and retreated, so we have no idea what he's doing (he's long term unemployed) or how he's really feeling, apart from vague texts from him. He hates discussing his illness and is very hidden. He was apparently offered alcohol counselling whilst in hospital, but we're certain that he wouldn't dream of following it up. Far too proud and stubborn to ask for help, or even admit that he needs help. He has added health complications that have caused him to be where he is now - he was diagnosed three years ago with something called vasculitis, which led to kidney failure and hospitalisation, then he was diagnosed with cirrhosis around 6 months ago. He was told very recently that the vasculitis appears to have gone to his eyes and caused something called wet macular degeneration and he has cataracts in both. He's not a well man at all and we are very worried for his future. Communication is vital if we're to help, but he wants to be left alone. Such a difficult situation.

Best wishes to you for your future and thank you again.


I guessed you may say that, hopefully one day he will be ready to address things and he will have a kind friend that has some potential answers to hand. I was lucky in some ways my husband died of his liver disease which marked the start of the end of my drinking. I think I would have continued otherwise and would be in a much worse condition today :-)


How awful for you. It's so destructive and I'm terribly sorry to hear that. We can only hope that he takes control in his own way. Thank you again and best wishes to you.


sorry to hear that my hubby also has a rubber band on his throat and he has one and it irritates him that's what he says if he has four of them is he eating okay


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