Alcoholic hepatitis vs cirrhosis - British Liver Trust

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Alcoholic hepatitis vs cirrhosis

Runnergirl1955 profile image

Hello, I posted several weeks ago about my friend who was refusing to see a doctor and still drinking to an extreme. He finally went in and the initial results read: liver disease, high billubrin, alcoholic hepatitis, high liver values, abnormal findings on liver ultrasound. He was told he needs a biopsy but he hasn’t agreed to one yet. Is there a true difference between cirrhosis and hepatitis? I ask because I am finding mixed articles online and some people say they are one in the same. My friend has been sober for 42 days now and is attending AA daily. He is very depressed and told me he is dying and he doesn’t want to go back in because there is zero hope that the doctors can help. You all have been so helpful in the past and I reach out again for insight and support.

17 Replies

You sound like a wonderful and caring friend.

I'm sorry that your friend feels that the situation is hopeless right now.

We felt the same when my husband was diagnosed with advanced cirrhosis late Aug/early Sept. of this year. He was notably very ill. And would not have been able to even sit through AA meetings.

With effort, diet, vitamins, medical attention, abstinence, …, and hope when it was difficult to find it, we now see a future when we did not either.

My husband's depression has significantly lifted and the improvement in his health has been amazing. We need to work on getting exercise.

I wish the same promise for your friend and that he starts to believe that there is a shot for him to turn this around.

Tons here are testament to the fact that it is possible!

in reply to

I would like to say how well both of you have done. It must have been so hard. I say both because it is as hard in a different way being the carer as it is being the patient

Now Runnergirl1955, it is possible for your hubby to win his battle because he has got you by his side and will have some determination cos of how it affects you and anyone of his family and friends that have been very good. Take care. With all my love to two couples who love each other dearly.

With all my love Lynne xxxx

in reply to

Thanks Lynne! So sweet of you to say. Alcohol takes many hostages.

No sleep again?!

in reply to

You are very welcome. Yes, it does. I have Nash caused by meds from my drs over the years. I do have many other conditions too which all cause me pain but hey hi I will keep smiling 😊. Lots and lots of love and hugs Lynne xxxx

in reply to

It's difficult to keep track of everyone and their journeys but I have read about your chronic sleeplessness and pain! How awful! You have tried so many possible solutions I've seen. I wish you relief, Lynne! How do you function? I hear good things about the CBD oil for pain. Will your doctor consider that for you?

Hugs and best wishes back to you dear. Sorry to the poster for our getting off topic here.

in reply to


Thank you so much for your kind words. I've tried the CBD oil, I nearly three up with the medicine, if I'd took anymore I know I would have done!!. The heat rub was neither use nor ornament!! My husband, Dave bought me a back massager which does take the edge off, I bought an infrared lamp which I use during the day, this helps a little. My electric blanket and hot water bottle help a little but nothing helpse sleep!!! Any, I shouldn't rabbit on as there are people much worse than me. Love and hugs Lynne xxxx

ThreeSmiles profile image
ThreeSmiles in reply to

Nice one CanadaVery.

It’s great to hear stories - true ones of course - where there have been significant improvements through both the determination of the partner or carer and also not forgetting the medical profession, of course!


Hi runner

Glad to hear that your friend has managed to stay sober for 42 days. Does this mean not having any alcohol at all, i.e. being teetotal or just not getting intoxicated/drunk? There is a big difference as you probably know 😕. I am assuming and hoping it is the former 👍. In which case well done indeed to your friend!

Where does he get this “there is zero hope that the doctors can help” idea from? Surely at AA they discuss such things and the others in the group can relate the medical assistance they have received! Does he read this forum? He should because he will then see the large number of us who have been in his situation and recovered from it; some with help, some on their own and some with the ultimate gift (not being trite at all) of a TP.

He can do it and, as veryworried-one and Lynne have said, he will if you keep caring for him as you so obviously do!

Good luck to you both 👍


Trust9 profile image

Good morning Runnergirl1955,

I hope your friend can get the support he needs for his low mood from AA or perhaps he needs to revisit his GP to help manage his mental health issues.

I have included links to British Liver Trust information on alcohol and liver disease which explains the difference between alcohol related hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Your friend has done well to achieve 42 days abstinence, and should be encouraged to continue and attend for monitoring and follow up with his medical team.

Best wishes to you both,


Hi Runnergirl,

I agree with what fellow forum members have said. Your friend has made a major start to his recovery, with being abstinent for 42 days. I too suffered with depression, and was referred for help with that, which worked, and gave me a much more positive outlook on life, and my future. I too thought it was the end.

With three and a half years abstinence, meds and regular check ups and tests, my life has turned around.

It might help his outlook to show him positive posts on here, to show him it really isn't the end.

Wishing all the best for you and your friend. Give him a thumbs up from me👍👍


Hi Hepatitis and cirrhosis are two different things. They can though both occur together.

Hepatitis is inflammation of, or in the liver whereas cirrhosis is scarring of the liver. You can have hepatitis without cirrhosis. It gets a bit more confusing as there's also some viral infections called hepatitis too, which can lead to cirrhosis if left untreated.

There's plenty of people here who have cirrhosis due to alcohol. The good thing about alcohol induced cirrhosis is that you can actually do something about its progress. You just have to stop ingesting what is causing the damage.

It looks like your friend has started on the right track, if he keeps it up then there's no reason why he cant make a pretty good recovery. If he has cirrhosis then that isnt necessarily going to go away. But, it is less likely to cause him too many problems or result in his need to have a transplant. Even with a bit of damage livers can work perfectly adequately, so there's plenty of hope. There's also plenty of stories on here to back that up.

However, if it is damaged, then the effects of alcohol on it will be worse. So, its critical that he doesn't go back to drinking.

Hi, our Dr told us that cirrhosis is separate to alcoholic hepatitis. We are due to see the consultant in January so have a list of questions. My brother was given a 20% chance of survival in hospital but I am relieved to say that he made an astonishing recovery. I hope your friend continues to remain sober, I have the same hope and wish for my brother x

That’s so good to hear Artemis! I hope it all goes well at the clinic next month 🤞.


Hi Miles, all good at the clinic, his liver function and bloods/billirubin are virtually within normal range. Dr was so impressed he said he probably wouldn't need a transplant, at least for 5-10 years, if at all. It's unbelievable when you think where we were in October with a 20% chance of survival and a DNR in place. From my experience the things to remember are don't let anyone fob you off, research as much as you can and ask questions, nutrition is key and most of all, remain positive ❤️

That’s brilliant news Artemis! Wow what a relief for you both 👍.

Good luck - let’s hope it’s “if at all”!


I was diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis in late 2012. However I displayed many of the same symptoms of advanced cirrhosis - ascites/malnutrition/high lfts/jaundice - which as we know is completely different. I was told after a biopsy 6 months later that I was F2 but with abstinence, that my liver could reverse much of the damage although it would need to mean lifelong sobriety. Unfortunately after a year of sobriety, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. I slowly fell down the path/battled with alcoholism on/off 3/4 months sobriety then drinking same length of time...until finally getting sober again almost 3 years to the day. Luckily a fibroscan early last year put me at F3 and not F4 cirrhosis. A close thing and all I’d say, well for me AA/12 steps has worked. But the great news for you is that with diet, exercise and sobriety, the alcoholic hepatitis should right itself in time and a normal enough level of health is achievable. Best of luck !!

Artemis61 profile image
Artemis61 in reply to Warrior1

Hi, thanks for your message, you're right, the consultant said my brother no longer has alcoholic hepatitis! cirrhosis is obviously still there but his function continues to improve and all his levels are virtually within normal range. It is such a relief after the poor prognosis we were given 🙏🤞🤞

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