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Alcohol Use Disorder: Alcoholism Treatment Massachusetts

Alcoholism is among the most prevalent addictions in the United States. The societal acceptance of drinking frequently contributes to denial. If left untreated, alcohol addiction can result in severe consequences. At Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we offer a comprehensive alcoholism treatment program in Massachusetts that targets the physical and psychological aspects of recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder: Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol abuse is a condition characterized by the consistent consumption of alcohol despite recurring negative outcomes. A diagnosis is typically established when an individual displays one or more of the following indicators of alcohol abuse within a span of twelve months:
  • Frequent alcohol use leading to neglect of responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  • Repeated alcohol use in physically hazardous situations, such as impaired driving.
  • Repeated involvement in legal issues related to alcohol.
  • Continued alcohol use despite enduring persistent social or interpersonal problems caused or worsened by heavy drinking.

Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol dependence, also known as alcohol addiction and alcoholism, is a chronic illness indicated when an individual encounters three or more of the following within twelve months:

  • Increased tolerance, requiring more significant quantities of alcohol to achieve intoxication.
  • Consistently consuming more alcohol or for a longer duration than intended.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop drinking alcohol despite a persistent desire to do so.
  • Devoting substantial time to obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of your last drink.
  • Sacrificing or reducing participation in social, occupational, or recreational activities due to alcohol use.
  • Continued alcohol use despite knowledge of recurring physical or psychological problems caused or exacerbated by its consumption.

The Main Difference Between Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence

In essence, alcohol abuse pertains to excessive drinking on a regular basis, while alcohol dependence is characterized by an inability to stop drinking. Alcohol abuse involves a pattern of drinking that results in unfulfilled responsibilities at work, home, or school and/or repeated consumption in physically dangerous situations.

Alcohol dependence can encompass a range of issues, such as an escalation in the drinker’s tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, unsuccessful efforts to reduce or completely stop drinking, loss of control over consumption, and consistent drinking in greater quantities and for longer periods than planned. The critical elements of alcohol dependence include compulsion (the inability to resist a drink), loss of control over alcohol (inability to stop drinking), and persistent drinking, regardless of the consequences.

alcohol rehab

Get The Alcoholism Treatment You Need and Deserve in Massachusetts

If you think you or a loved one may be showing signs of problem drinking, it’s important to take action. Reach out to our treatment center in Massachusetts to explore helpful resources, treatment options, and support groups such as alcoholics anonymous – our knowledgeable and caring team is available 24/day, 7 days/week to help.

Possible Predictors of Alcohol Use Disorder

Certain factors frequently appear when assessing the likelihood of an individual developing alcohol use disorder. Generally, those who start drinking at an early age are more likely to progress to alcoholism. Other influential factors include genetics and environment. If an individual falls into the “at-risk” population, it requires minimal exposure to alcohol or other drugs to develop dependency. It is crucial to note that no one intends to become dependent on substances.

Chronic alcoholism is the most destructive form of alcoholism, causing emotional, social, and physical devastation. It arises from heavy alcohol use, characterized by a pattern of drinking despite negative consequences. Both alcoholism and alcohol abuse fall under the category of alcohol use disorders, affecting individuals across different ages and stages of life. The severity of the disorder varies along a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe dependence, commonly referred to as chronic alcoholism. However, even a mild disorder can escalate without early treatment. While many people can drink alcohol without developing an addiction, for others, it can result in severe alcohol use disorder.

Factors That May Contribute to Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition impacted by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Individuals with a family history of alcohol use disorder are more likely to develop a lifelong dependence compared to those without such a history. Furthermore, scientists have discovered specific genes that affect a person’s vulnerability to alcohol addiction. However, it’s important to note that genetic influences alone cannot accurately predict an individual’s future risk of alcohol use disorder and addiction.

Environmental factors also have a significant impact. For instance, a child with a parent who is struggling with alcohol misuse may have a genetic predisposition to alcohol dependence, but they can effectively prevent it through education, self-monitoring, and social support. On the other hand, repeated drug abuse, such as heavy drinking, can result in neurochemical alterations in the brain, leading to neurological dependence on the substance, regardless of whether the individual has a genetic susceptibility to addiction disorders. Individuals are also more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder if they have been exposed to certain environmental influences, such as peer pressure or social media messages glorifying alcohol use. Moreover, physical or sexual abuse in childhood can also lead to a higher likelihood of becoming alcohol dependent later on in life.

It is essential to prioritize the prevention of alcohol use among youth and teenagers. This is not only due to the legal restrictions on drinking alcohol for individuals under the age of 21 but also because delaying the initiation of alcohol use/problem drinking reduces the risk of developing dependence in later stages of life. Reports from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism show that individuals who begin drinking at the age of 15 or younger are 3.5x more likely to develop alcohol use disorder compared to those who start drinking at age 21 or older. Various factors can discourage or delay alcohol use. Parental support, communication, and supervision play a significant role in determining whether adolescents engage in drinking, the quantity they consume, and the frequency of their drinking. Additionally, teenagers’ drinking behavior is influenced by their friends’ acceptance or rejection of alcohol and whether their peers partake in drinking. Therefore, it is essential to educate teenagers about the risks of drinking and provide them with alternate activities that can help distract them from falling into alcohol use disorder.

Effects of Alcohol Use Disorder

Problematic alcohol use, regardless of its severity, may disrupt relationships such as those with family members and give rise to psychological issues, violence, aggression, and legal troubles. Alcohol use disorder is also associated with a higher risk of injuries, including those caused by car accidents, falls, and fires. The risk of injury increases as drinking habits get worse, even at relatively low levels of consumption. Alcohol use disorder may also contribute to unsafe sexual behaviors, resulting in a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Increased levels of alcohol use are linked to a higher probability of experiencing adverse health effects, which may include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Inflammatory GI tract
  • Brain damage
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Stroke
  • Neuropathy

The physical effects of alcohol use disorder are often exacerbated by poor nutrition as well as an individual’s risky behaviors or hazardous lifestyle. The psychological effects of alcohol use disorder can significantly impair an individual’s ability to think and act, leading to mistakes or dangerous decisions that could have lifelong consequences. Furthermore, as the body becomes increasingly dependent on alcohol, it is forced to undergo a range of physiological changes, including disruption of normal bodily functions. This can lead to serious health problems such as liver damage, heart disease, major depression, and mental illness.

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Some common signs and unpleasant symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Walking slowly or in a staggering manner
  • Difficulty sleeping or staying awake
  • Unexplained bruises or marks
  • Glazed or red eyes
  • Cold, sweaty palms or trembling hands
  • Swollen face, blushing, or paleness
  • Nausea, vomiting, or excessive sweating
  • Low or no energy
  • Feelings of depression or anxiety

If you suspect that a family member or someone you care about is displaying signs or symptoms of alcohol use disorder, it is important to understand that the issue will not resolve itself without ongoing alcoholism treatment. With prolonged alcohol use, the brain changes in ways that make it difficult to stop drinking without professional help.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 140,000 individuals lose their lives each year due to alcohol-related causes, making alcohol the fourth most preventable cause of death in the United States. Treating alcohol dependence starts with a phone call. As a leading healthcare provider in Massachusetts, the addiction specialists and mental health professionals at our alcoholism treatment center can offer you or your loved one an individualized treatment plan to safely and effectively treat alcohol use disorder and any co-occurring mental health condition once and for all– simply call (781) 622-9190.

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Alcoholism Treatment Starts Here

Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized alcoholism treatment. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

Mental Health Conditions And Alcoholism: Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis refers to the co-occurrence of a mental health disorder and a substance abuse issue. For instance, an individual battling depression might turn to alcohol as a means of self-medication to alleviate symptoms like restlessness, sleeplessness, and feelings of despair. Although excessive alcohol intake does not directly cause behavioral disorders, studies indicate that it can intensify the symptoms of existing mental health issues. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, individuals who struggle with alcohol problems are two to three times more likely to experience significant mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, at some point in their lives.

When it comes to alcohol use disorder, it often coexists with a range of mental health disorders. These can include but are not limited to:

Depression

Depression is a common mental health disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that can significantly interfere with an individual’s ability to carry out everyday activities. Indications of depression include restlessness, diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities, concentration difficulties, reduced energy, irritability, and insomnia.

In an attempt to alleviate these symptoms, individuals may resort to alcohol use, mistakenly seeing it as a temporary solution. This approach is hazardous and can lead to severe consequences. When you consume alcohol, it triggers the brain’s reward system, inducing a temporary euphoria. Over time, this can lead to reliance on alcohol to evoke happiness, creating a cycle of dependence or addiction. To make matters worse, if you abruptly stop drinking, it can intensify depression symptoms due to a sudden shock to the system, heightening the risk of self-harm.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a type of mental health condition that disrupts an individual’s mood. It typically involves extreme changes in energy levels, thoughts, and behaviors. The two main phases associated with bipolar disorder are mania or hypomania, which involves high levels of excitement or elatedness, and depression. During the manic phase, individuals may display unwanted or risky behaviors like excessive spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, and impulsive decisions. When depression sets in, it consists of symptoms such as a lack of energy or motivation, difficulty concentrating, decreased appetite, and bouts of sadness.

Those with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing alcohol use disorder. As the manic and depressive phases alternate, individuals may find themselves turning to alcohol as a form of self-medication. Unfortunately, drinking interferes with the effectiveness of bipolar medications and can lead to further mood instability and, even worse, an addiction that is difficult to shake off without professional help from a healthcare provider.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is both a type of mental health disorder and an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent, intrusive thoughts or sensations. These can be related to fear, doubt, worries, or obsession over certain activities like cleaning or checking the stove. To cope with these feelings, individuals may compulsively perform certain habits, such as repeatedly washing their hands or counting items.

As with other mental illnesses, individuals may attempt to soothe their symptoms of OCD by consuming alcohol. While this can provide temporary relief from obsessive thoughts and feelings of panic, it soon leads to a cycle of dependency that only worsens over time. Additionally, alcohol has been linked to exacerbating physical manifestations like twitches or tics.

When mental conditions are left unaddressed, the associated drug or alcohol problems can escalate. Although having a dual diagnosis can make methods and approaches used to treat alcohol addiction more involved, recovery remains entirely achievable — especially when both your mental health and alcohol use disorder are concurrently treated by trained, licensed professionals at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts. The evidence-based approach adopted by our Massachusetts treatment center ensures that each disorder treated is handled with the utmost care, expertise, and efficiency.

Detection of Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol screening is an important strategy used to identify individuals who engage in risky drinking behaviors or exhibit symptoms of alcohol use disorder or dependence.

Screening

Alcohol screening is an important strategy used to identify individuals who engage in risky drinking behaviors or exhibit symptoms of alcohol use disorder or dependence. Screening methods can vary, ranging from short self-administered questionnaires to interviews conducted by healthcare professionals. It is also vital to screen for co-occurring mental disorders to ensure effective intervention planning.

Assessment

A comprehensive assessment provides a detailed understanding of the nature and severity of an individual’s alcohol problems. For treatment professionals and alcohol counselors at our rehab center in Massachusetts to develop the most effective substance abuse treatment plan, it is essential for us to understand the individual’s unique circumstances, strengths, and weaknesses.

Interventions

Individuals experiencing mild to moderate substance abuse issues can benefit greatly from brief interventions. These interventions typically involve behavioral therapies, educational sessions, and support groups, such as alcoholics anonymous, aimed at providing practical advice and building essential coping skills. Brief interventions are commonly administered by a primary care doctor, primary treatment provider, or healthcare provider and are designed to reduce alcohol consumption and minimize the risk of developing alcohol problems and associated mental health problems. However, this is not the best method of alcoholism treatment.

Alcoholism Treatment

Many alcohol addiction treatment options are available to treat alcohol use disorder, as well as commonly associated mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The severity of the medical condition and the level of alcohol use determine if detox is necessary as the initial step in the recovery process.

Alcohol Detox

Given the numerous impacts on the body, the first step commonly taken to treat alcohol dependence is detox, which involves eliminating alcohol from the system. The severity of the alcohol use disorder determines the intensity of this stage, ranging from mild discomfort to more severe manifestations. Early withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, headaches, anxiety, irritability, alcohol cravings, sweating, and shaking. More severe withdrawal symptoms may include fever, hallucinations, slurred speech, seizures, palpitations, or even delirium tremens (DTs).

During the alcohol detox stage of the treatment process, individuals typically undergo an assessment by a health care professional at our Massachusetts treatment center to ensure alcoholism treatment success. In many cases, our health professionals incorporate medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which is the use of FDA-approved addiction medicine to treat alcohol dependence and ease alcohol withdrawal, known as medically assisted detox. MAT, coupled with behavioral therapies, can help an individual stay safe and comfortable as they learn to live without alcohol.

Further Alcoholism Treatment

After the completion of detox or if it is not necessary, the next phase of alcoholism treatment involves outpatient or inpatient rehab, both offering talk therapy and behavioral treatment services, such as psychotherapy to address any underlying mental disorders; cognitive behavioral therapy to address the psychological impact of alcohol use disorder; motivational enhancement therapy to help individuals develop the inner strength necessary for a sustained recovery; marital and family counseling to address any interpersonal issues among family members as well as other behavioral treatments.

Talk therapy and behavioral treatments are combined with a range of support services that aim to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for long-term success in recovery. In addition, to talk therapy and behavioral treatment, these may include group therapy, family therapy, relapse prevention education, nutrition counseling, job training assistance, human services, and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other support groups and services. Therapy is frequently combined with psychoeducation on alcohol, brain anatomy, the process of recovery in the brain during sobriety, and the development of effective strategies to navigate the challenges commonly encountered in early recovery.

Finding Detox and Treatment for Alcohol Addiction in Massachusetts

There are many ways to seek treatment and recovery from alcohol use disorder, with no single “correct” path. The first step is to find a reputable drug and alcohol rehab facility. It’s crucial to select a rehab center equipped with medically-supervised detox provisions to enable a comfortable and safe withdrawal from alcohol. Both inpatient and outpatient programs are available, but an addiction specialist should provide a recommendation for the right level of care for you based on your needs. Professional treatment providers will have services and support groups to effectively treat and manage alcohol use disorder.

Start Alcoholism Treatment at Our Drug & Alcohol Rehab in Massachusetts

To start healing from substance use disorders, call Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment at (781) 622-9190. With the appropriate support, you or your loved one can navigate the challenges of alcohol or drug addiction and pave the way for lifelong recovery from addiction.

Our Massachusetts recovery center is an in-network addiction treatment provider with most insurance providers, with the exception of Medicare/Medicaid. This means we accept most public and private health insurance. Our team is available to review your insurance plan and collaborate directly with your provider, aiding you in understanding and maximizing your coverage to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. Simply fill out our insurance verification form for a free benefits check.

If you do not have insurance, we are here to assist you in exploring the available options for you or your loved one. Our ultimate objective is to ensure that anyone needing treatment for substance use disorder can receive the necessary help and support, whether that is through one of the programs at our recovery center or a referral to another rehab center.