British Liver Trust
12,434 members6,108 posts

How is he not ill?

Hello again..

I wrote a post quite some time ago explaining about my partner and his alcohol habits . So just a reacap, he drinks 2.8 litres of 5.5% cider and 250ml whiskey per day. He has been on thw whiskey for.over a but.just drinking heavy be it beer & cider or wine and cider for over 10 years now.. he is approaching 40 years old. He suffers with and and depression and currently taking antidepressants for this but does not engage with the services to help him.His general symptoms are as follows;

Lower back pain everyday

Right shoulder or upper arm pain

Orange poop most days

Swollen belly possible weight gain

Heart burn everyday

Sleeps from 6am-6pm

Wees alot even when in bed he up & down allday

Had hallutionantions one time only

Has fairly good appetite but doesn't eat.what I call a man size portion

MY question is how on earth is he not poorly after that many years of abuse?

Thanks in advance

24 Replies

Hi, from the sounds of it, he is poorly. Orange poo isnt normal; sleeping 6am -6pm isnt really normal routine. Im guessing he is awake all night then drinking? He may even have acites re the swollen belly. Fluid in his tummy possibly. He has some aches and pains and also what you describe as heartburn. So he may have gastritis. I strongly suggest he gets back to his GP and has full blood tests and he describes these symptoms to the GP. But, if he is not willing to do this or engage in anything and wishes to continue on this path, then there is little you can do. His health will get worse, its just a matter of time. xx

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Hi again, was just reading through your first post; he needs to stop drinking now before its too late; i suggest you take a tough approach with him; otherwise things will go downhill and one day it may be too late. Is he actually aware of what could happen to him and what could be happening to him now? Re possible cirrhosis? It would be a very nasty and horrible death; usually slow too. He may well still not listen though and it certainly seems his addiction is very strong. The alcohol will make his depression worse without doubt. Maybe he will listen to another family member? Good luck xx

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Sadly I'm all he has.. leaving me in a vunrabke position where I havr to stay and take care of him


Hi, I hope your get lots of advice on here, mostly I hope you manage to get him to the doctors. If he is on anti depressant's he shouldn't be drinking as they have the opposite effect...and he will just become more depressed. His sleeping pattern, stool colour, eating habits, in particular his drinking habits are not right. He needs to get in and see a doctor, they will probably get him in for an ultrasound, they can see if he has fluid on his tummy and also any initial issues with his liver.

I hope you can persuade him to get to the doctors and even better to stop drinking, it will only make things worse.

Best of Luck to you x


Hello and good morning,

I'm a bit confused.

You describe somebody who is clearly quite poorly, then ask why is he not poorly ?

I can only imagine that you are both so very used to seeing this as 'normal' that you have lost sight of what is meant by being 'well'

Having said that, susieanna and Chelle have given good advice.

You should now go to the British Liver Trust website and read about the causes and signs and symptoms of liver disease. I'm sure that following that you will make a decision to go to your GP for an examination and then seek urgent help, either from your GP or by self-referral , for support in addressing the alcohol problem.

You're fortunate in coming here for advice / support, as most of us here have direct experience of liver disease in ourselves or caring for somebody who has or is enduring the consequences of the condition. You will find people here, who have knowledge of the disease from just about all of the different causes as alcohol use is just one of many causes.

In the meantime, try not to worry too much and take courage from the fact that, in many cases, liver disease can be turned around with a change of lifestyle and the right medical attention.

Take care,



Yes i know it may seem odd questioning why isn't he poorly when he clearly ia mentally but I was referring to physically.. I dont understand how someone so sedentary and drinking so much can not have something wrong..

There is no hope in getting him to docs he doesn't believe he is an alcoholic even though he shakes when he is up and has the fan on when he is in bed as he says he on the inside.

Believe me I've tried everything but after12 years I'm exhausted.

He has no family other then me.. he had no friends other then me.. so you can see my quandary.


He is very visibly physically poorly, all the symptoms you list in your first post could be/possibly are indicative of late stage liver disease.

I refer back to what you initially posted:-

Lower back pain everyday (could be muscular due to sedentary lifestyle or could be pain from liver and/or kidneys)

Right shoulder or upper arm pain (right shoulder pain can be referred pain from the liver)

Orange poop most days (bile and fat build up due to poor liver function leads to clay coloured stools)

Swollen belly possible weight gain (this could be ascites - fluid build up due to late stage liver disease, even if it's just a 'beer belly' he's laying down fat around the abdomen which can lead to fatty liver disease and type two diabetes).

Heart burn everyday (indigestion/heart burn symptoms are common with gastritis - portal hypertension can lead to gastritis - damage to oesophagus and stomach lining).

Sleeps from 6am-6pm (sleep pattern reversal can be common in people with depression, your hubby has depression and then is topping it up with a depressive drug in the alcohol. Sleep pattern disruption is also one of the listed symptoms of Hepatic encephalopathy and cirrhosis).

Wees alot even when in bed he up & down allday (kidney function is obviously not right)

Had hallutionantions one time only (HE ? or alcohol induced?)

Far from being well at all I would suggest. Take a look at the BLT page on cirrhosis and see if there are any other symptoms which he's showing. I think your hubby is poorly both mentally and physically and if he carries on abusing his body he is on his way down a very slippery and unpleasant slope (I am sorry to say) & whilst he's ticking along at the moment his liver could go into a very sudden decline or failure.

You need to look after yourself in all this too as it is going to potentially be a very unpleasant journey.

Wishing you the best, Katie


Thank you for replying..

From what I've researched it seems his REM could be disrupted as he doesn't sleep.well at all..

It's so hard because when he is finally up and about is seems so normal. But constantly saying I must get up.earlier to get jobs done but that never happens.

The hallucinations happened one night when he come to bed around 5.30-6 and our youngest came in around 6.20 as she always does and she climbs in with us.. but this time he.kept sayinsaying to get no no you can't get in here.. and then turned to me with fright in his eyes and said that's not ****** (our daughter's name) he was so.genuine and really felt.she wasn't who she was.

With this I took her downstairs for breakfast but he said later on that he can't understand what that was all.about and that he needs to stop the whiskey.. but hasn't!


Hello again,

Just to back up Kate.

From everything you say, there are clear signs of a serious illness which may or may not be liver related, none of us here are qualified to diagnose but we all have first hand experience.

From my own alcohol related liver disease, I can tell you that the decline can be rapid and frightening. I went from noticing the bloated tummy, just like your husbands, this was ascites (ascites - where fluid gathers in the abdominal cavity) to a liver transplant in only 14 months.

Show your husband our comments and the information on the British Liver Trust website and maybe he would listen to you.

Like a few here, I wish I could have just half an hour with him, one to one, to let him know how serious this could be. More importantly, for him to know that there is a way forward and he owes it to all those who love and care, to get help and support.


His bloat varys sometimes it's just clear from being slightly overweight but after he has eaten he is solid..


Oh forgot to.mention he must pass stools 3-8 times a day but again he.thinks this is IBD




from someone whose wife's there, but getting better it sounds like he has hepatic encephalopathy [blood poisoning were the liver is not filtering out the toxins in the blood] this will cause mood swings sleep pattern reversal extra weeing and pooing

it does sound a bit like you want him to collapse and be taken into A&E

there is clearly a lot going on get him to the doc's and or insured and will written


Its not that I want him to get ill but I think that falling ill may result in hid turn around as I dont know hiw much longer I can cope without ending up ill myself


i drank for over 20 years..and I do mean the USA its called a fifth, which is one size down from a half gallon, and that was whiskey and then vodka. Per Day, from morning till when I would pass out.

I was in and out of treatment centers..the doctors could not believe I was still pretty healthy..I finally quit..but not soon enough. I was 3.5 years sober when my liver went down.

I also had Hep C which continued destroying my liver after complete abstinence.

I am post transplant now, a year and a half..but I am back on the list again, this time for a liver AND a kidney. My new organ is failing. My kidney, working double duty trying to help the liver is also a mess.

Men tend to hold out longer than women.

He sounds very depressed, that will account for the sleeping.

But check with a doctor. Everyone is different.

good luck!


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I never realise damage could still occur after quitting .. well done you though must of been so difficult xx

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Hi Worriedwifey16, I just found this site and your question and felt like I just had to make contact with you. I find myself in a very similar situation to you. Have been with my OH for around 20 years but the last 15 we have been dealing with the alcohol dependancy ( or should I say I have as he is still wating to find the answer at the bottom of the bottle!). If you ever just need to chat, please message me. It can be very lonely with every one judging you as well, yes I guess Im an enabler but when they have noone else, its very hard to walk away!

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to use your catchphrase dck cheering you on!

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Hi! I'm new to this site so not really an experienced poster but I have been exactly where you are. My husband drank heavily and had lots of symptoms - just like yours. Mine also wouldn't go to the doctor. I had to literally wait until he was asleep so I could ring the GP unheard and beg them to come on a home visit. After describing his symptoms, they came. I knew that, although he wouldn't voluntarily visit, he wouldn't be so rude as to turn them away. They arranged for immediate admission to hospital. If your husband has prescribed anti-depressants, might you have an opportunity to get him into the gp when he needs a repeat prescription?? Our doctors request to see you every other time so they can check it's still appropriate... or maybe you could ask them to do so? I know you are worried because ultimately only he can agree to treatment but getting him in front of a doctor is the first step.... Good luck 😊


Thank you for replying and for understanding it is so difficult because I do absolutely everything for him and people judge me on that saying I'm assisting in him killing himself which I don't think that is the case I have phoned the doctor and explain what's happening but he said he cannot do anything without my partner's agreeing with regards to repeat prescriptions he is on a 6 month turn around and when it comes up for reviews I speak to the doctor as my partner cannot leave the house and hasn't done so in 6 months because of agoraphobia I feel like my hands are tied my energy is drained and I have to focus on my children and my work I have been with him 17 years and have been dealing with the Struggle for the last 12. He has no one else no family or friends and only me to rely upon.


Please don't despair. I'm in exactly the same place as you except that my husband has times of binge drinking and times of abstinence. You need to try another doctor in the practice - even if you have to cry and beg on the phone. I had to tell them I thought he was unconscious and dying in front of my eyes but at least they came. He actually was very very ill so I felt justified. He was in hospital for 10 weeks so feeling like I'd exaggerated on the phone was worthwhile. Next time his prescription needs renewing, ask the doctor to come out. Surely they can't just keep issuing anti-depressants on your say-so? Everyone will tell you this, but you can't always help him if he won't help himself. It's hard to accept but you need to focus on yourself and your children, even if it means ignoring him when he shouts. Make sure you have other people to talk with, even just small talk, so at least your whole life doesn't revolve around him. Go to the park. Take the children out. Have fresh air. It's very easy to feel locked in to the situation, I know!! Message me as much as you like because I wish I'd had people who understood over the last ten years... chin up pet!! 😊💕

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Thank you for all your replies.. i suppose when your living life everyday like this it becomes "normal"and its not until others point it out that its clearly not a normal way to live, ive realised that just because he is not showing signs of pain etc does not mean he isn;t poorly.

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Hi there,

I just thought I'd say that I wish I had gone to Spain to see my hubby when he told me he had symptoms like your partner has rather than tell him to see a doc and wait for him to visit us during his next break 2 months later.

Sadly, whilst the liver, if free of things that cause it damage, can regenerate and people can live many years with a very badly damaged liver, if it continues to be subjected to substances that cause it damage, it will stop functioning - it's not just alcohol that can affect the liver but fatty diets, salt, some food supplements and some prescription medicines like antibiotics.

I do not know how many honest accounts of death due to liver failure you will find on the internet, but it is the most horrendous death. Bleeding from the mouth can be treated. Bleeding from the back end cannot be treated and basically that is how my husband died. It took 16 hours from him being taken into resus in A&E to him passing away - the longest 16 hours I have ever experienced. And then when you need to grieve you are inundated with paperwork for everything. I also had an inquest to attend 6 months after his death.

I hope sharing this helps you focus on what is important to you.

I personally would not be asking why your partner isn't ill but just how ill is he. Life without my partner is just about bearable now. My future died with him but I am determined to live because I know that's what he would want me to do.

I sincerely hope you can manage to help your partner focus on managing his depression - which may be why he drinks - and then getting well. Services like Relate/Mind can help with counselling and you may be able to find a programme like NLP that could help him. Also relaxation/hypnotherapy may be useful, but be careful to check out the credentials of the therapist.

Please do everything you can to protect yourself from being like me.

I wish you the best of everything, bless you both. xoxo


I cant like this post (for obvious reasons) but its a very good one-all the very best.


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