Loved one with liver cirrhosis caused ... - British Liver Trust

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Loved one with liver cirrhosis caused by alcohol

Lsstewart profile image
8 Replies

Hi all

Joined this in the hope of getting some support.

My father was diagnosed with final stage liver cirrhosis noticed by prominent ascites in March 2018. I have supported him to numerous appointments in hospital (endoscopy, draining of the abdominal fluid) and even an admission to a detox ward in a mental health hospital I work with.

My dad has been alcohol free for the past 6 months and we have had the best relationship I have tried my best to keep in contact daily and help with anything I can. Just this week however he has started drinking again and doesnt plan to attend any further appointments and has started making funeral plans for when the inevitable happens.

I am finding this very hard to cope with it feels as though he has given up and I find the relationship with my dad when he is drinking difficult as he can be quite snappy. My dad describes alcohol as 'better than medicine' for his underlying anxiety and depression diagnosis. Thus the reason for drinking again.

As a mental health nurse myself I feel particularly useless and this is contributing mostly to the sadness I feel alongside the realness of having to grieve for my dad so young (im 23 and he is 56 years).

Anyone going through a similar situation id appreciate hearing from you.


8 Replies
h0b0 profile image

Hi. Sorry to hear about your dad. Has he been told that he has a chance of xplant if he stops drinking for 12 months ? My partner was diagnosed in June 2015 & had a xplant in July 2016. He wasn't an alcoholic but a heavy social drinker. He did however stop drinking on diagnosis & was very ill for 6 months prior to xplant. He is now doing really well & extremely thankful to be given a chance of a healthy life. I do have to say that only your dad can decide what's best for him but that isn't easy for you. I found great help on this site, don't know how I would have coped without the support.xx

Lsstewart profile image
Lsstewart in reply to h0b0

Thanks for replying. Nice to hear a success story following transplant. My dad was offered to go on the transplant list however declined it as he believes he will have complications before a liver would become available. I also think he has such a poor quality of life due to depression that he has no motivation to change or wish to live to be honest. He also doesnt feel he deserve another chance as he has done it to himself (drinking) I think all I can do is deal the best I can with the next while and hope he doesnt deteriorate too quickly

Hello Lsstewart,

It's so sad when this happens, but it is suprising just how common this is becoming. Death by alcohol is a slow, terrible way to go. It's a selfish way too as those who love the most are left blaming themselves and feel so helpless.

I really do feel that when a person is in a situation like this and wants to drink themselves to death because of depression, then they should be sectioned under the mental health act, as suicide is deamed to be an irrational thought. If he's using alcohol in order to kill himself, then this should be treated as a form of self abuse and could be constude as being a danager to himself. Saldy I feel that the Mental Health Act doesn't include alcohol abuse.

As you'll most likely know, alcohol is a depresent, so if he's using alcohol as a crutch or as a form of self-medication to make himself feel better, then the depresion will only get worse, and a vicious cycle exists. The mental health issue and the alcohol abuse are two seperate problems, and then can be both treated at the same time. But the first thing that needs to be done is to break the cycle and this should only be done through medical supervision.

I wish both you, and your poor father support and hope. There's help out there if he changes his mind. He can get though this if he can be made to want to. I'm sorry I can't be more positive Lsstewart, but unless you can get him sectioned and medical help, then his demise really is in his own hands.


Lsstewart profile image
Lsstewart in reply to

Hi Richard64

My dad has been in many inpatient settings under the mental health act and has also had various other means of help over the years though to no success.

Is there any indication as to what his prognosis would be? I'm fearing the worst though he hasn't required hospitalisation yet except having his abdomen drained as an outpatient. This hasnt required to be repeated yet as the acities has not returned.

He has spoken about wanting to be 'made comfortable' though im not sure we are at that stage yet. He is eating and mobilising.

I have messaged you privately xx


Very sorry indeed to hear of your difficult situation. I am sure you will get a tremendous amount of support from this forum but in addition there is also a national support group for the relatives/carers of those affected by alcohol misuse which you may find helpful:


in reply to

I've visited a few al-anon meetings and there not everyone's cup of tea, due to certain religious beliefs. I now believe that they have now changed this to mean "spiritual" instead of religious. There is a danger that some people may be put off by this approach and then feel that there's nowhere else to turn.

This is not meant as a snub as I understand a lot of people have found comfort and support. This is just a cautionary note.

Lsstewart profile image

Hi all.

Something I'm thinking about a lot is prognosis. Doctors seem unwillingly to give this which I can partly understand due to different people's complications.

My dad had acities drained in March (9 months ago) and it has only returned mildly not enough to have drained yet. He had an endoscopy and they did not need to 'band' the varices yet though they were enlarged. He has required no futher testing just a follow up endoscopy in Dec (6 monthly) to review.

From anyones personal experience (I understand it is sensitive) what are the end symptoms? When having the fluid drained we spoke to people who were having it drained weekly. Is this what end stage looks like or are there other complications that could compromise life prior?

I appreciate any responses.

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