Very worried and need advice - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Very worried and need advice

AJD1310 profile image

Hello, I am getting increasingly worried for my partner of 18 years. For the past 5 or 6 years he has been drinking around 140-160 units per week, he tends to drink beer rather than spirits but will drink anything if he has no beer. It is impossible to speak to him about it as he just gets annoyed if I mention that I’m worried about his drinking. I lost my dad 2 years ago to liver disease (autoimmune chirosis) and can’t bear the thought of losing my partner and the father of our 2 children the same way. My question really is how much damage would this level of drinking be causing. I have noticed that he is slightly jaundiced and he is sleeping lots (around 2 naps a day), no matter what I say he won’t go to the doctors and just gets defensive if I speak about it. I am scared and unsure what I can do, I think if a doctor picked up something on a test it would give him a scare into sorting the drinking out. I don’t know what to do!! If he is jaundiced and sleeping all the time, is this a sign that things are really bad?? My dad went downhill really quickly and I’m terrified that this is going to happen again. Sorry for the rambling post, I was just looking for any advice other than he needs to get help himself as he just won’t!! Thank you for reading.

27 Replies

Well it won’t be doing him any good but if it’s only the last five years or so he stands a chance of being able to reverse any damage he’s caused himself provided he stops drinking and gives his body a chance to recover. It’s far too high an amount to be consuming and ten times the recommended levels. The liver is pretty forgiving...fortunately. Being jaundiced and tired aren’t great signs and are something he needs to pay attention to and seek help.

AJD1310 profile image
AJD1310 in reply to Aotea2012

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me. He has been a heavy drinker for a lot longer but it has just got particularly bad in the last 5-6 years. I just need to try and figure out how I can get him to stop before the damage is irreversible!

Positive001 profile image
Positive001 in reply to AJD1310

If he carries on drinking to this extent he will without doubt die .... an untimely, undignified death following major symptoms and pain . I feel great sympathy for you having to deal with and live through this.

I have been through the pain and anguish you face each day and watched alcohol kill my husband 12 years ago.

Here to help, support and advise you should you like it.

Warm wishes.


There aren't any good answers to the question you're asking I'm afraid.

In a nutshell 20 units + per day consistently is a dangerous amount of alcohol and indicative of a serious drinking problem. The body can't cope with that.

The liver has massive capacity and the ability to regenerate but only if it is given time and space to do so. Unfortunately jaundice is indicative of serious liver disease. If it's not too we'll established stopping drinking may reverse some of the damage. Continuing drinking will make it worse.

I have cirrhosis of the liver. Trust me when I say your partner does not want it. He needs to see a doctor and he needs to stop drinking. If he won't do either of those things then you at least need to ready for what comes next.

I'm not a doctor but as someone with cirrhosis I can tell you authoritatively - to tell him if helps - that jaundice is serious. He needs to decide he wants to live and he needs to get to a doctor. Now.

Will keep everything crossed for you. Very best wishes.

AJD1310 profile image
AJD1310 in reply to MisterX

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me and I’m so sorry to hear that you have Cirrhosis. I lost my dad to liver disease and know only too well what the outcome can be, I just hope I can figure out how to get him to see someone. Thank you so much again for your message.

Just to give you a bit of hope, the slight jaundice you speak of, is it just his skin or is it his eyes as well? Reason I ask is that when someone is drinking a lot consistently, this takes its toll on the skin, as does dehydration, and the skin can take on a sallow appearance, looking dull and yellow/brown even slight orange tones. This isn't the same as jaundice. Also the sleeping, it's quite possible that it's literally just the amount of alcohol that he is drinking each day that is making him tired. So that's some hope there, things may not be as bad as they seem. But - he obviously IS damaging his body if he is drinking this amount consistently, the liver has no respite to recover at any point. How is his appetite, is he eating ok? If not there are concerns with vitamin deficiencies, alcohol depletes the body of certain vitamins/minerals and if they aren't being replaced by food, this brings its own set of problems (would also be a factor for the tiredness). I'd definitely recommend a good vitamin supplement if he isn't eating well, in particular a high strength vitamin B complex. If you can get him to visit a gp just for a once over and some blood tests obviously that would be ideal. Could you perhaps get him to discuss the tiredness, go from that angle if he is resistant to discussing his drinking? GP should order blood tests to look for the cause.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me, it has actually given me slight comfort as his eyes seem to be okay and just his skin that has a slightly jaundice colour. His appetite is fine and the sleeping could well be down to the alcohol just making him tired. I watched my dad go downhill very quickly with liver failure and I just want to stop this in its tracks before it gets too late…it’s just how!! That’s good advice re the docs and maybe saying to get the tiredness checked out. Thanks again.

8 pints of Stella equals 1 pint of spirits equals 2 1/2 bottles of wineThe amount of alcohol is the same and all cause EXACTLY the same damage.

"Its only beer" is not a valid argument.

He is certainly drinking at a dangerous level.

Only he can decide to quit though and no matter how much you talk it's got to be his decision.

How old are the kids?

If they are old enough to tell him they don't want a drunk for their dad it might prompt him to get help.

Find what alcohol and drug services are available in your area and give him the info.

One final thing.

Ask him what drugs he likes to use.

I was asked "what's your drug of choice"?

I answered I don't use drugs and they repeated the question.

I answered alcohol.

He is an addict, same as a heroin addict.

AJD1310 profile image
AJD1310 in reply to Roy1955

Thank you for taking the time to reply, I totally agree. The thing is he functions normally apart from the tiredness, the kids are little and wouldn’t know that he drinks, he doesn’t get drunk as he’s drank at this level for so long. I know he needs to get help, I just don’t know how!! It’s so difficult!! Thanks again.

I wish to the bottom of my heart I had more courage to push when I notice my partners eyes started to have a yellow tint. Oh if I could only go back to then and help him face his addiction. He is now diagnosed with cirrhosis (decompensated) and has given up alcohol and is a changed man but at such a huge cost .

Poppy234 profile image
Poppy234 in reply to Rshc

Thank you, I am going to keep an eye on my husbands. Sorry to hear it had to come to this for your husband to change but I think my husband will be the same.

AJD1310 profile image
AJD1310 in reply to Rshc

I am so sorry to hear about your partner. I lost my dad to liver disease and know only too well how it goes I just want to stop this in it’s tracks before there is too much damage done!! Thank you

Rshc profile image
Rshc in reply to AJD1310

thanks, all things considered my partner is doing OK and slowly but surely improving buts its not without huge amounts of hard work from both him and me in terms of not drinking and eating very well. Its lovely to have him back to the man I know and love and we are determined to get through this but he could have died - he really could, he was very poorly at Christmas, I stood on the ward on Christmas Day and was told he had end stage liver disease. I would give anything to turn the clock back a year or so. I would urge you to show your husband my message - do not ignore symptoms, my partner did and in his consultants own words 'it nearly ended very badly for him' - he nearly left our daughter without a daddy. My partners drink of choice was cider and I guess he justified it to himself that he wasn't drinking spirits regularly but he was putting his poor liver through hell

I am in a similar position with my husband drinking daily for some years, mostly beer, increasingly some spirits added in the last few months. I really sympathise, I have found help groups on Facebook. I haven't got much advice just that you can read about the progressive nature of alcohol addiction over 4 stages. They seem to get more addicted as time goes on. I wish my husband would stop, he got his liver checked and that was OK, which sadly made him drink more as he relaxed. My sister in law, a nurse, says she sees lots of cancers related to alcohol, that would be her biggest worry. You have some good advice here, they really should get checked regularly when drinking this way. In fact I might ask my husband to have the tests done again.

AJD1310 profile image
AJD1310 in reply to Poppy234

This is my fear that he will go to the docs and they will say everything is ok!! I am going to try my best again to get him to listen. You sound like you are in the same situation as me and I really wish you and your partner all the very best and hope that it all works out for you both!! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply I really appreciate it.

Poppy234 profile image
Poppy234 in reply to AJD1310

I found out today that sugar can affect the liver in the same way, so I'm going to get tested myself and see if he will get tested regularly too.

hello love....from what u have said....and I can't speak for any 1 else's reply. is that jaundice is not a good sign....i know from gastro consultant said. I've got esld..cirrhosis but love,u really need to get your other half to a gp,and get bloods done... I understand its not all. I was also in denial over 3 years ago....but when I presented at gp,with a massive stomach..distended. I was sent straight to a and e.... terrible ascites. I don't quite know how to say it easy,but please try and see if he would look at replays on here?? any chance??. I agree,you have to need to do it for yourself. take care my love chris

AJD1310 profile image
AJD1310 in reply to redpoint72

Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to reply. I really appreciate all of the advice and really wish you all the very best. I have been through all of this with my dad 2 years ago which I thought may have scared him but I think it’s going to take for him to get tests done and for something to show up before he’ll take any action. Thanks again!

redpoint72 profile image
redpoint72 in reply to AJD1310

I understand,how u have gone through this with your dad....and it will never be easy..far from it... but to get bloods done,is essential...take care love,chris

Sadly this is familiar, my husband has now stopped drinking. Even when told that he would die within 18 months if he carried on, he didnt stop. Hes decompensated. Its sadly a decision they have to make no matter how much you love them or want them to stop.. But the thing I did do was go and see his gp and tell them, I went in and said " I'm not asking any questions about my husband, im giving you information about him" they then contacted my husband and asked him to come in for a general health check. That got the ball rolling... he still doesn't know that I did it but so glad I did. I wish you luck and look after yourself too.

AJD1310 profile image
AJD1310 in reply to Oldbits

Thank you so much for your reply, that is exactly what I wanted to do, to try and speak to the doctors about the situation and to figure a way that they could get him in for tests without knowing it was me instigating it, your reply has given me the push to call the docs (first thing tomorrow) and see if I can do the same for my partner. I wish you and your husband well and hope things turn out well for you. Thank you!!

Oldbits profile image
Oldbits in reply to AJD1310

Good luck x

Positive001 profile image
Positive001 in reply to Oldbits

Did a similar thing with my husband... made a gp appointment, told him about his symptoms and drinking. Held the appointment open while l went home, told hubby the doc wants to see him straight away to help with his depression, knowing that was the only way l could get him there. 3 GPs came in, looked at him and asked me to take him to A&E immediately. They kept him in and detoxed him and there is the start of his 4 year story............. x

I'm sorry aj that I wasn't of any help. others on the forum r more helpful....I suppose saying how it was for me. lovely Laura will always will lovely tia...always my best love chris

Aww thanks Chris, don't do yourself a disservice you are a great help.

Laura xx

Hi AJD1310

You may want to call our nurses to have a chat. Call 0800 652 7330 between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) or email (emails can be sent at any time and are answered during helpline hours

My fiancé is in hospital very poorly with advanced liver disease (end stage). He has been jaundiced several times in the last year, but despite my pleading, continued to drink. We’ve been told if his liver levels don’t come down, there won’t be anything they can do and he will die. Please please get your partner to a Doctor/Hospital asap. Jaundice and tiredness are really worrying signs. Here to support you. I know how scary this all is xx

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