Feeling depressed worrying about liver... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Feeling depressed worrying about liver pain and fatigue

Phil1983 profile image

Hi everyone

I'm 37 I've been a heavy binge drinker. Felt very strange a few months ago still feeling drunk well in to the next day and felt pressure around my right abdomen at one point a pulsing sensation around my abs. I went to see the doctor and my GGT was 247 don't remember the other scores the doctor scared me but thought I would recover as I'm still young. I thought I had alcoholic hepatitis but the doctor said I didn't. The liver pains went away after 3 or 4 weeks. I went back to the doctor 6 weeks later my GGT was 87 and my bilrubin was normal. The doctor seemed positive and said it might be worth another test. I was supposed to go back in 4 weeks.

I'd lost a lot of weight been exercising and eating well. I was feeling great. Stupidly I started drinking again only a few beers and with 4 days in between and then the last few times I had 7 or 8 beers. I was horrified to see I'd drank 5 times in March after I'd promised the doctor and myself I was done. I stupidly thought I could go back to drinking just cut down.

It's 2 weeks since I last drank and I've been experiencing pain on my right side a little worse than before. Also worryingly some right shoulder ache. Most worrying I had 3 days of feeling very woozy and light headed and a few episodes of feeling fatigued.

Today the pain was almost non existent but I felt fatigued for most of the day. I've got a blood test on Wednesday. I'm pretty pessimistic about it. I feel like I've really let myself down. I'm thinking I probably have cirrhosis. Before I felt incredibly anxious freaking out but full of energy now I feel very defeated and depressed. I guess I just wanted to share I feel pretty low right now.

20 Replies

Hi Phil

Welcome to our forum 👍.

Oh my, you were doing so very well and then you did what quite a few of us have tried to do and failed - that is to think you can just drink carefully from now on.. it hardly ever - never ? - works, does it. I have been there and done that and not just the once either.

To be honest if you can make it through say four weeks then you have got through probably the worst four weeks you’ll ever have to endure in the world of not drinking.

Much better as well, as I’m sure you know, to make your own mind up not to drink rather than be told by a doctor that you have to give up drinking or else - or else!! - like I was.

I am sure you can do it.

Thank you for sharing your story which is rather a common one I have to say, unfortunately 🙁👎.

Good luck at your next - and final - period of abstinence- it will be a very long period won’t it!! 😀👍.


Phil1983 profile image
Phil1983 in reply to ThreeSmiles

Thanks Miles

I just hope I've not done permanent damage. It feels like karma for all the times I've promised I'd give up.

CocoChannel profile image
CocoChannel in reply to Phil1983

Hi Phil, a lot of us gave up a few times before finally quitting, so don’t feel bad or worry about karma. I had very similar aches and pains for six months after I quit. From what you’ve written, you’ve cut down a lot, but it sounds like you either drink a lot or nothing at all with no middle ground or moderation. I think you know you have to quit 100%.

We’re all different so I’m told, but my story was similar in that I drank very heavily for years and had the aches and pains you mentioned. A routine ultrasound diagnosed a mild fatty liver which cleared up within six months. I don’t doubt for a minute I got off very lightly indeed.

Sounds like you’ve improved a lot in two weeks so good effort so far 👍

Hi Phil

Also welcome from me and our great team of lovely people!

Raised fluctuating GGT's are fairly common and can be caused by numerous things such as alcohol, fatty food and long term medications, I'm also guessing there are many more medical reasons that can attribute to raised GGT's so try not to worry to much.

I know you've done the right thing by leaving the alcohol alone which is a great move so well done and keep this excellent move up.

Feeling anxious is quite common when your doctor first raises the subject with you and to be honest I guess I was too! Unfortunately for me I'm still under investigation for none alcoholic autoimmune issues which have been dragging on for over 2 years now but hey ho that's another story.

Anyway all I can say is, eat well, cut out all bad fatty foods, reduce oil dressing and exercise if you can in the current climate.

Remember we're here to help so never feel alone.


It's very frustrating I didn't feel any pains all day and then they come back at night. It's going to be a rough week waiting for my blood test result. I wish I had more optimism.

Could the pains not be gallbladder related as these were the pains I used to get in right side by liver

I don't know I'm very confused. I spoke to a doctor on the phone and he wasn't concerned. He thought if these were cirrhosis symptoms my blood tests last month would have been worse and I'd have more symptoms. I guess there's no point in speculating until I get my blood test results and speak to my GP.

CocoChannel profile image
CocoChannel in reply to Phil1983


Hi Phil - my instinct is you’re probably ok and will swiftly recover. As my daughter did in 2016 after a decompensated liver episode. She managed sobriety during 5 months then started drinking again after a series of personal tragedies.

I guess you are born 1983? She was born in 1987 and has just spent 6 weeks in a London hospital with liver failure. She’s just home now trying to recover but it’s going to be a long hard process. She’s lucky to be here.

My heartfelt advice to you would be to stop drinking once and for all. It’s not easy but nor is coping with serious liver disease.

Not wanting to be preachy but just having had almost the worst six weeks of my life I hope you will choose a better path. Good luck and best wishes. You’re on this forum so well done too!

ThreeSmiles profile image
ThreeSmiles in reply to Peony53

Well said Peony - not preachy at all. Once you have experienced liver disease as a patient or relative/carer you really do know how horrid the disease is, don’t you 🙁👎.

Wish you both well, and hope your daughter can give the stuff a complete miss from now on.


Just curious if you got your blood test results?

I have to wait until Monday. It's going to be a long weekend. I'm veering between anxiety and depression. I wish I could focus on something else. I hope that these pains are due to hypochondria. I wish I could fast forward until Monday.

ThreeSmiles profile image
ThreeSmiles in reply to Phil1983

I know it might sound trite Phil, but have you got a hobby of any sort that can take your mind of things as they are at the moment?

It really helps, as you will know, to get totally engrossed in something that stops you having all these worrying thoughts. I am sure that we are all (well I am!) going through feelings that we are not at all well at times during this torrid perod.

Please don’t get me wrong I am not in any way implying that you are being a hypochondriac it’s just that it is so easy atm for all of us to be worrying, hopefully unnecessarily, isn’t it......🙁.

I hope it all turns out well for you on Monday. Good luck.


Thanks Miles

Please do call me a hypochondriac it gives me hope. My main hobby right now is googling cirrhosis symptoms. You don't need to tell me how stupid that is, I just can't help it. I go through periods of doubt thinking I might be ok. Then I get back to feeling defeated. I just find it impossible to imagine that there's not something seriously wrong. I'm strangely calm about the situation but I just feel empty like there's no point in doing anything.

ThreeSmiles profile image
ThreeSmiles in reply to Phil1983

Hey Phil I bet every one of us used Google at least to start with - I still do! But I now only categorically believe our NHS and the American Mayo Clinic. Doesn’t mean I don’t see what the others say but if either of these two say it odds on they’re going to be right!

Of course there are the excellent BLT documents linked in here but I suppose you’ve read all those already!

Good luck again 😀👍


I'm now certain I'm screwed.

The pains have gone but my ankles have started to swell.

Up until now I had some hope that I was just overeating.

I don't even know what to do with myself.

I could be dead within the year.

My doctor says my blood tests were fine.

I guess the pains were in my head. I'm going to need to do some work on myself.

The guilt of feeling like I deserve some punishment for my drinking has clearly messed me up.

This is a big wake up call.

Hi there, I know this was a while ago but I’m currently going through what you went through and I wanted to know how your doing now?

I’ve got the bad side pains and I’m currently begging three different drs to get me a full liver panel and a fibroscan. Like you I drank and thought if I felt better I could again but now I’m basically eating the liver cirrhosis diet and cutting everything bad out of my life. I’m praying I’m not too late as I already lost my mom to this ( diabetic not alcoholic cause) a little over a year ago and I just can’t put my dad through this again. Also I’ve got plenty to live for! I’m hoping this is a major life lesson and not a death sentence but it’s so hard taking my mind off of it.

How does your shoulder pain feel? Like constant or salt or alcohol induced? Comes and goes? I’ve had one for 6 months and sacred to go the next step and tests. So scared what I may find

I was wondering about the shoulder pain as I’ve suffered terribly for a year with it mine it can move from higher up my right shoulder to right at the bottom of it, it is there most of the time even when resting, doctors have said it’s muscular the whole time but to me it doesn’t feel muscular, finally getting referred for an MRI

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