Hepatic Damage from Overdose

Hepatic Damage from Overdose

The liver is a vital organ that performs many functions, including the following:

  • Helps fight infections
  • Helps digestion by producing substances that break down fats, convert glucose to glycogen, store certain vitamins and minerals and produce cholesterol
  • Serves as a primary energy storage organ
  • Helps filter harmful substances from the blood

While the liver performs many mandatory functions of the body, it also is subjected to any substance put into the body, which puts it at risk for hepatic damage.

Prescribed Medications

There are many prescribed medications that warrant the need to test the liver on a regular basis. In addition, many over-the-counter medications have warnings about how excess of the drug can cause liver damage. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

When people think of liver diseases, they often associate it with alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse is a common cause of hepatic damage and presents with the following symptoms:

  • Swollen liver
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

When a person has these symptoms, a physician will request a liver biopsy to determine if the person has developed alcoholic hepatitis.


This condition occurs when the cells of the liver are damaged and cannot repair themselves. As live cells die, scar tissue forms. When this scar tissue builds up, blood can’t flow through the liver properly, which can eventually cause a build-up of poisons and wastes in the body.

The miraculous aspect of the liver is that 75 percent of the liver must be damaged before a decrease in its function occurs.

Hepatic Damage from Overdose

While acetaminophen overdose is the most identified source of hepatic damage from overdose, the list of prescribed medications, over-the-counter drugs and even herbal substances that can negatively impact the liver is long. Cocaine, heroin and ecstasy are the top three illegal substances that cause liver disease.

Treatment for Hepatic Damage

The type of medical intervention for hepatic damage is determined by the cause of the damage and the degree of damage. These treatments range from changing an individual’s diet to medications to a liver transplant. However, treating the symptoms of the liver damage is only treating part of the problem. The underlying reasons that led a person to overdose on alcohol or drugs that caused the liver damage needs to be addressed and resolved.

A quality addiction treatment facility consists of medical staff to provide the treatment for the physical liver damage and professional addiction counselors who can provide a variety of therapeutic services to help the person resolve the underlying issues.

Get Help for Alcohol or Drug Abuse

If you or someone you know is abusing drugs or alcohol, call our toll-free number for advice, including information about detox and rehabilitation services. While recovery from abuse is difficult, it is possible, and we can help. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about addiction rehabilitation.