7 Signs Your Liver is Healing From Alcohol

Table of Contents

Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body, responsible for filtering your blood, breaking down food, and flushing out toxins like alcohol. But because it’s the main organ that processes alcohol, it’s also prone to drinking-related damage — so much so that alcohol is the leading cause of liver disease in the US.

If you have liver disease or have been drinking heavily for a long time, you might have questions like, “If I quit drinking, will my liver heal? Are there any signs my liver health is improving, and what can I do to support it after I get sober?” Read on to discover seven signs your liver is healing from alcohol, plus a timeline of healing and tips to support your overall liver health.

Can Liver Damage Be Reversed?

In many cases, yes. The liver is one of the only organs in the body that can repair or regenerate itself with new cells as opposed to repairing damage with scar tissue alone. For heavy and even moderate drinkers, liver damage can fly under the radar for many years without symptoms. That’s why, if you’ve been drinking for a long time, it’s important to be aware of the early signs of liver disease that people can often miss. It can also be helpful to work with a coach or counselor like Ria Healthwork with a Ria coach or counselor to stop or moderate your drinking if you’ve been worried about your liver health recently.

Liver Healing and Level of Damage

Just how much your liver is able to heal will depend on the stage of liver damage you have. The main stages of alcohol-related liver disease include:

  • Alcoholic fatty liver disease, also called hepatic steatosis, is an early-stage liver disease that’s often reversible.
  • Alcoholic hepatitis happens after chronic, heavy drinking (or, more rarely, a serious episode of binge drinking). If mild, damage at this point may still be reversible.

Alcoholic cirrhosis involves severe scarring in the liver from long-term heavy drinking. At this point, some of your liver tissue may actually be replaced with scar tissue, and the damage may not be reversible. However, if caught early, quitting drinking and adopting healthy habits can manage the damage and improve your prognosis.

help with alcohol addiction ria health
Need Help or Have Questions?

Schedule a private call with a Ria Health team member and we can help you get started.

7 Signs Your Liver Is Healing from Alcohol

If you’re giving your liver a break from alcohol or plan to quit soon, you might wonder if there are any signs your liver is healing from drinking. Here are seven ways to know that you’re on the right track:

  • Reduced brain fog. Your mind will feel clearer, faster, and sharper.
  • Better energy. As your liver recovers, it will clear toxins out of your body more efficiently, in turn boosting your energy levels.
  • Less pain. As your liver inflammation decreases, you could experience a notable drop in pain. 
  • Fewer fluctuations in weight. Liver disease affects your metabolism, which can mean unwanted and unexpected changes in weight. As your liver heals, your weight may stabilize thanks to your metabolism bouncing back to normal.
  • Skin and eye color. Jaundice (or yellowing) of the skin and eyes is common with liver disease. With recovery, your eyes can start to whiten and your skin may return to a normal healthy glow.
  • Better appetite. As your liver gets stronger, you’ll be able to more easily break down food, and your appetite may increase.
  • Healthier bloodwork from a liver function test is the most surefire sign that your liver is repairing itself, and it’s the most accurate way to find out how much progress you’ve made.

How to Heal Your Liver

If you’ve stopped your drinking (or have made it a serious goal), then you’ve already taken the best first step in repairing your liver health. For more ways to help your liver heal, you can also:

Focus on a Liver-Friendly Diet 

Certain foods contain antioxidants and other compounds that can help your liver, which is why adopting a liver-friendly diet can be a great step to take.

It’s important to note that there isn’t much research to support things like liver-cleansing teas or detox supplements — at least not for now. However, certain foods, herbs, and drinks do have evidence backing up their ability to improve liver health, and they could be worth adding to your daily routine.

Staying hydrated is also crucial since water can help your body flush out waste products and take some of the stress off of your liver and kidneys.

Prioritize Exercise

As it turns out, exercise can be a powerful tool to support your liver health. A 2023 review of studies found that regular exercise was associated with improved markers of liver function in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Plus, research has shown that exercise can be generally helpful for those looking to quit or reduce their drinking. 

If you want to get more exercise but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few simple, accessible options to consider:

  • A 20-minute walk a few times per week
  • Home workouts following YouTube videos
  • Beginner-friendly workout classes, like kickboxing, yoga, or Pilates

How Soon Does Your Liver Start Healing After Quitting Alcohol?

How long does it take for the liver to heal? In short, it depends on the damage. But the liver does have a remarkable capacity to repair itself, and by removing the main toxin that’s overwhelming it — alcohol — your liver function could start to improve in just a few weeks. In fact, a 2012 study of 137 participants found that liver stiffness — a sign of fibrosis or scar tissue in the liver — improved in nearly 50% of heavy drinkers just seven days after quitting alcohol. 

If you have more severe damage, it may take longer to start seeing results. But by cutting alcohol from the equation, you can ensure that you’re stopping the stress on your liver and giving yourself the best odds for recovery.

Resources To Stop Drinking and Support Your Liver’s Healing

If you’ve been wondering how to heal the liver after alcohol use, you’re not alone. The good news is that your liver has an extraordinary ability to recover partly and sometimes fully after removing drinking from your life. It’s not always easy to talk about, and you may want to try to quit all on your own — but know that you don’t have to tackle it by yourself.

Programs like Ria Health offer discreet, 100% online support for alcohol use, including meetings with medical professionals, coaching, and anti-craving prescriptions to help you get over the initial hurdle. Unlike other treatment programs, you don’t have to take work off or even drive to in-person appointments to start getting the resources you need to quit long-term. Get in touch with a team member or learn more about how it works today.

Have questions about online alcohol treatment?

or call (800) 504-5360

Written By:
Alicia Schultz
Alicia is a Minnesota-based freelancer who writes for Ria Health and various other brands in the health and wellness space. Beyond addiction and recovery, she also covers topics relating to general well-being, mindfulness, fitness, mental health, and more. When she’s not writing, you can find her relaxing with her three-legged cat, trying new workout routines, and spending time with her loved ones.
Reviewed By:
Ria Health Team
Ria Health’s editorial team is a group of experienced copywriters, researchers, and healthcare professionals dedicated to removing stigma and improving public knowledge around alcohol use disorder. Articles written by the “Ria Team” are collaborative works completed by several members of our writing team, fact-checked and edited to a high standard of empathy and accuracy.
Is My Drinking Normal?

Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol.