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Can I Reverse Liver Damage if I Go to Rehab and Stop Drinking?

alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD)Alcohol abuse has many detrimental impacts on your health. One of the most common consequences of long-term alcohol abuse is liver disease. Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) refers to liver damage sustained from long-term excessive alcohol consumption.

While the late stages of ARLD are permanent and cannot be reversed, people who seek treatment can get a treatment plan to help manage their symptoms and prolong life. However, the early stages of ARLD can be reversed if you stop drinking.

Even in the face of liver disease, people who struggle with alcoholism may be unable to stop drinking on their own. Between the symptoms of withdrawal and intense cravings for a drink, quitting alcohol once you’re addicted to it is extremely difficult.

If you or a loved one suspects that you have liver damage or other health issues as a result of your alcohol abuse, going to rehab and quitting drinking for good can help your liver recover.

Alcohol Abuse and Liver Health

The liver is one of the most complex organs in the body and it is responsible for filtering toxins such as alcohol from the blood. In addition to filtering toxins, the liver also aids in food digestion, regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and plays a role in fighting disease.

Alcohol is metabolized in the liver. When you drink alcohol, your liver will prioritize filtering alcohol above other toxins in your body. When you drink excessively, you put your liver under immense stress, as it must work around-the-clock to try to keep up with your drinking habits.

The liver is extremely resilient and it can usually regenerate itself by slowly developing new cells. However, prolonged alcohol abuse can reduce your liver’s ability to regenerate and develop the new cells it needs to function. In the long term, this results in serious and oftentimes permanent liver damage.

Understanding the Stages of Alcohol-Related Liver Disease (ARLD)

There are three general stages of alcohol-related liver disease. Unfortunately, there aren’t always symptoms with the first two stages, so many people reach the final stage without even realizing it.

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the result of a build-up of fats in the liver. Fats build up in the liver when the liver is prioritizing the metabolism of alcohol. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, even for a few days or weeks, can lead to excess fat buildup in the liver.

This stage of ARLD rarely has any symptoms, but it is reversible. People with alcoholic fatty liver disease can stop drinking and their condition may subside in as little as two weeks.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis develops after frequent and heavy drinking. It is a potentially serious condition that may have some symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Bleeding in the throat
  • Confusion
  • Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes

Early alcoholic hepatitis is reversible if you go to rehab and stop drinking, however, severe alcoholic hepatitis can be a serious, permanent, and life-threatening illness.


Cirrhosis is the final and most serious stage of ARLD. The liver becomes permanently scarred and its ability to function declines. People who stop drinking with cirrhosis may be able to prevent further damage and increase their life expectancy, but those who continue to drink are at significant risk of dying within the next five years.

Symptoms of cirrhosis include:

  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Increased bleeding and bruising
  • Swelling in the abdomen, feet, legs, and ankles
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting

Can You Reverse Alcoholic Liver Damage?

Unless you’ve developed severe alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis, alcoholic liver damage can be reversed if you stop drinking. However, you must stop drinking and stay stopped. Stopping drinking for a few weeks and then starting again will cause further damage to your liver.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to recognize when liver damage has been sustained until it is too late. As a result, you should do your best to avoid damaging your liver in the first place by seeking alcoholism treatment at the first signs of a drinking problem.

Alcohol rehab centers can help you detox safely and learn the tools you need to stay sober. They can also refer you to a doctor or specialist if liver damage is suspected. If your doctor diagnoses you with permanent liver disease, he or she will help you set up a treatment plan to minimize your symptoms, prevent further harm, and lengthen your lifespan.

Avoiding alcohol for at least 30-90 days can significantly improve your liver function.

In severe cases where the damage is permanent and life-threatening, a liver transplant may be required.

7 Tips for Repairing Liver Damage From Alcohol

There are many steps you can take to help reverse alcoholic liver disease, including:

  1. Get help for alcoholism from an alcohol rehab center near you.
  2. Follow your treatment and aftercare plan so you don’t resume drinking.
  3. Consuming healthy and nutritious foods because processed foods make the liver work harder.
  4. Get plenty of restful, restorative sleep.
  5. Workout regularly. Exercise can help flush your system of toxins, improve your immune system, and reduce the risk of liver disease complications such as cancer.
  6. Quit smoking cigarettes or taking other drugs.
  7. Talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking–even over-the-counter ones. Some over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, can harm your liver.

Find Help for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Today

Over time, the effects of alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis can heal, but only if you stop drinking. For people struggling with alcoholism, stopping drinking is more difficult than it sounds, which is why we’re here to help.

At Woburn Wellness, our alcohol rehab program incorporates 12-step immersion, the careful development of a personalized treatment plan, and an effective combination of therapeutic and holistic treatment methodologies. The levels of clinical care we provide include a Day Treatment Program, Intensive Outpatient Treatment, and Outpatient Treatment. We will customize a long-term program of alcohol addiction treatment based on your individual needs, requirements, and treatment goals.

To learn more about our alcohol rehab center or to find help for yourself or a loved one, please contact us today.



5 Serious Problems That Can Occur During Alcohol Withdrawal and How a Detox Center Can Help

alcohol withdrawal dangers and complicationsAlcoholism is a serious problem in the United States, with nearly 15 million people aged 12 or older suffering from the disease.[1]

While there are many risks associated with long-term alcohol abuse, one of the most important concerns is withdrawal. When you suffer from alcoholism, your brain and body begin to rely on the substance to function properly. If you attempt to abruptly quit using the substance, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.

There is a common misconception that alcoholism is not as serious as drug addiction because alcohol is legal for people aged 21 and older to drink. However, alcohol abuse can be just as life-threatening as any other form of substance abuse. In fact, alcohol withdrawal symptoms are more dangerous than withdrawal from any other substance with the exception of benzodiazepines.

5 serious problems and complications that can occur during alcohol withdrawal are:

1. Withdrawal Seizures

In addition to painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, you could experience severe seizures during the alcohol withdrawal process. Seizures are more common in those who are not receiving medical treatment, and they are completely preventable with prescribed benzodiazepine medications.

Typically, alcohol withdrawal seizures occur two days after your last drink. Most alcohol withdrawal seizures are usually grand mal seizures, which can be life-threatening without medical attention. Symptoms of grand mal seizures include jerking motions, muscle stiffness, difficulty breathing, and unconsciousness.[2]

2. Alcoholic Hallucinosis

Another risk associated with alcohol withdrawal is referred to as alcoholic hallucinosis. Alcoholic hallucinosis is an alcohol-induced psychotic disorder that can cause you to experience visual and auditory hallucinations. While this complication is not common, it is a risk you must consider if you are not under the care of a reputable medical detox program.

The symptoms of alcoholic hallucinosis include:[3]

  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations

If you develop this condition, alcoholic hallucinosis will begin 12 to 24 hours after your last drink and can be extremely distressing and even dangerous in some cases.

3. Todd’s Paralysis

If you develop withdrawal seizures, you are at an increased risk of developing another complication of alcohol withdrawal called Todd’s Paralysis. Todd’s Paralysis is a neurological condition that develops after you experience a seizure. The symptoms often mimic a stroke, can last from a few minutes to a few hours, and may include partial or complete paralysis.[4]

The symptoms of Todd’s Paralysis include:

  • Numbness
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness of a limb
  • Slurred speech

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this condition. If you experience Todd’s Paralysis, all you can do is try to rest comfortably. Resting can be difficult during alcohol withdrawal without medical treatment, highlighting the importance of attending an alcohol detox program.

4. Delirium Tremens (DTs)

If you have gone through alcohol withdrawal before, you may be aware of delirium tremens (DTs). This is the most dangerous form of alcohol withdrawal that can lead to death without professional treatment.

The symptoms of alcoholic delirium tremens include:

  • Agitation and aggression
  • Confusion
  • Trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tachycardia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Shaking, tremors, and seizures

If you develop DTs, they will begin to affect you 2 days after your last drink. Delirium tremens can last between 2 to 3 days and require extensive medical treatment to prevent symptoms from becoming life-threatening. While only up to 5% of people recovering from alcoholism suffer from DTs, it is still a large number of people, and it isn’t a risk you want to take.[5]

5. Relapse

Lastly, one of the most serious problems that can occur during alcohol withdrawal is relapse. When you are suffering from alcohol withdrawal symptoms without any medical assistance, the symptoms can become too much to bear. As a result, you may decide to begin drinking again to soothe your symptoms.

While drinking alcohol is not typically life-threatening, returning to your alcohol abuse after a period of abstinence can be. You might forget to factor in your loss of tolerance, causing you to drink too much alcohol for your body to handle. This can cause you to experience alcohol poisoning, which is another term for an overdose, accidental injury, or social problems.

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:[6]

  • Mental confusion, stupor
  • Difficulty remaining conscious, or inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking)
  • Extremely low body temperature, bluish skin color, or paleness

How Can an Alcohol Detox Program Help?

While the complications of alcohol withdrawal can be incredibly scary, receiving assistance from an alcohol detox center can reduce your risk of experiencing these conditions. Most detox centers use medications that prevent severe withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens and alcoholic seizures.

Because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) most alcohol detox centers prescribe long-acting benzodiazepines like diazepam or lorazepam that target the same neurotransmitter.[7] Benzodiazepines affect the same areas of the brain as alcohol, so they can alleviate withdrawal symptoms while also preventing seizures. Over time, your doctor will reduce your dose of benzodiazepines until you are no longer experiencing withdrawal.

In addition to medication, your vitals will be monitored constantly, allowing the medical team to promptly address any medical concerns you are experiencing. Between medications and monitoring, alcohol detox centers will prevent you from experiencing the severe consequences of alcohol withdrawal, keeping you safe, comfortable, and most importantly – alive.

Find an Alcohol Detox Center in Massachusetts Today

If you or a loved one suffers from alcoholism, never attempt to detox at home. Alcohol withdrawal can be incredibly dangerous without proper treatment, sometimes leading to life-threatening conditions like delirium tremens. At a reputable alcohol detox facility, you will have all of the treatment, medications, and support you need to remain safe and comfortable throughout your withdrawal process.

To find a detox center and make arrangements for your care, please contact Woburn Wellness today.



5 Signs You’ve Hit Rock Bottom in Your Addiction and Need to Go to Rehab

signs you've hit rock bottomAddiction can change the way you think, feel, and behave. It can be so powerful that you are driven to new lows and do things you wouldn’t normally do if you were sober. The term “rock bottom” is often used to describe the lowest emotional point in a person’s addiction. Rock bottom is usually seen as a breaking point during which a person suffering from addiction realizes the extent of their problem and becomes willing to get help. Rock bottom can look different for everyone.

While the need for rehab is often apparent to friends and family members, people struggling with addiction tend to have a difficult time realizing and admitting that they need treatment. Even if they hit rock bottom, they may rationalize or justify their behaviors. Or, they may act like the victim of circumstance.

So how do you know if you’ve reached the bottom? Here are 5 signs you’ve reached rock bottom in your addiction and need to go to rehab.

1. Getting Fired as a Result of Your Drug and Alcohol Use

When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, using substances becomes your top priority. You may start calling in sick to work, showing up late for your shifts, or going to work intoxicated and being less productive. All of these actions can put your position at work in jeopardy, and if the problem gets too severe, you could even get fired.

If you’ve been fired from your job because of your drug or alcohol abuse, you may have reached rock bottom and should consider going to rehab.

2. Getting into Trouble With the Law

Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to poor judgment and risky behaviors. As a result, many people suffering from addiction, even though they are good people, end up committing crimes and getting in trouble with the law.

Some offenses that are more common in substance users include:

  • Drug possession
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)/driving with intoxication (DWI)
  • Public intoxication
  • Distribution of a controlled substance
  • Manufacturing a controlled substance
  • Theft and burglary
  • Fraud
  • Prostitution

In some people, drug and alcohol abuse may increase the potential for violent tendencies.

If you have found yourself engaging in criminal acts or facing legal issues as a result of your addiction, you can benefit from substance abuse treatment.

3. Losing Custody of your Children

A sign of hitting rock bottom in addicted parents is losing custody of their children. Custody loss can be the result of a variety of different actions you may take due to your addiction, such as:

  • Neglect
  • Abuse
  • Criminal charges
  • Jail time
  • Divorce & being deemed an “unfit” parent by the courts

Losing custody of your children can be a terribly painful experience, and it means your addiction has gone too far. Seek help while you can before you lose your children forever. Going to rehab can benefit you and your kids.

4. Serious Financial Problems Because of Drug and Alcohol Spending

Addiction is an expensive habit. It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars a week on alcohol and even more on drugs. Even if you need to save money, you may find yourself spending more than you should on drugs or alcohol, and getting yourself into debt and other financial issues.

If you keep spending more money than you intended to on drugs or alcohol and it’s causing you financial problems, your addiction has gone too far and it’s time to seek treatment.

5. Health Problems, Overdose, and/or Hospitalization

Drug and alcohol abuse takes a serious toll on your body. Depending on the type of drug you are addicted to, you could be facing a range of life-altering health problems including HIV/AIDS, certain cancers, liver failure, respiratory problems, infections, and more.

Substance abuse can also lead to overdose and other adverse events that can land you in the hospital.

If your addiction has taken you to the point of harming your health and risking your life, there is no time to spare. You must seek treatment from a trusted drug and alcohol rehab center as soon as possible.

More Signs You’ve Hit Rock Bottom in Your Addiction

Rock bottom is different for everyone, and you can always fall deeper into the consequences of addiction. Other examples of reaching rock bottom include:

  • Going through a divorce or breakup as a result of your substance abuse
  • Feeling overwhelmingly discouraged, hopeless, or trapped
  • Developing serious mental health issues as a result of your addiction
  • Getting kicked out of your family home
  • Facing homelessness as a result of your addiction

What to Do if You’ve Hit Rock Bottom

Many people hit rock bottom in their addiction before going to rehab because they avoid treatment due to reasons like lack of resources, denial, or shame. However, when you reach a low enough point, you will feel as though you have no other choice but to seek treatment.

If your addiction has taken you to places you never thought you’d be, the best thing you can do for yourself is to check into a drug and alcohol rehab center. Rehab will help you detox safely, learn how to stay sober, and create a plan to start getting your life back on track.

Contact Woburn Wellness Today for a Confidential Substance Abuse Assessment

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and ready to take the first step toward recovery, please contact us today. Our team of dedicated admissions specialists is here to evaluate your needs and get you started with the right treatment program for you. Call now to get started.

What are Alcohol Blackouts and Does it Mean I Need Rehab?

alcohol blackoutsThe majority of people in the United States drink alcohol from time to time. Alcohol is available in many places and occasions, and most people drink occasionally.

But some people have difficulty managing the amount of alcohol they drink. Some people may regularly drink more than they should, and some engage in binge drinking–drinking a lot in a short period.

Frequent, heavy drinking can signify that you need help overcoming alcohol abuse. But what about signs of other types of problematic drinking, such as experiencing alcohol blackouts?

It’s important to know when drinking has become problematic and seek help immediately. Contact the Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment specialists today to learn about starting one of our treatment programs.

What are Alcohol Blackouts?

Alcohol blackouts can occur if someone drinks enough alcohol to raise their blood alcohol level to a certain level–usually around 0.16%.[1] Many factors affect a person’s BAC, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Weight
  • How much they’ve eaten
  • The amount of alcohol consumed
  • How fast they are drinking
  • Genetics
  • Other substances taken, including prescription medications

During a blackout, a person’s brain stops making new, long-term memories, meaning the person cannot remember what happened when the blackout ends.

Alcohol blackouts can be extremely dangerous because people often continue to be awake and active while having them. People may drive, get into fights, or engage in other risky behavior. During a blackout, people are highly vulnerable. During alcohol blackouts, people may:

  • Spend money
  • Insult or argue with people
  • Have unprotected or unwanted sex
  • Act in a physically aggressive way or assault others
  • Damage property or other illegal activities

They are more likely to be the victim of a sexual or physical assault, may become injured, or may cause harm to others. They may cause severe, irreversible harm to themself or others or commit crimes without remembering it the next day.

Binge drinkingdrinking too much alcohol in a short period– can lead to alcohol blackouts.

How to Avoid Alcohol Blackouts

Once you are blacking out while drinking, it is not possible for you to understand that it is happening. People in alcohol blackouts may continue to act and appear as if they are awake and aware, but they are no longer in control of their actions.

The best plan is to avoid alcohol blackouts altogether. Here are some things you can do to prevent yourself from blacking out while drinking.

Avoid drinking binges

Before beginning to drink, decide how many drinks you’ll have and stick to it. Plan ahead so you’re not tempted to drink more than you should.

Eat before you drink

Planning to have a few drinks? Eat something before you even have a sip of your first alcoholic beverage. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause your body to absorb alcohol quickly, leading to a higher BAC.[2]

Slow down

Resist the urge to drink quickly. Drink slowly instead, and put your drink down between sips. This can help you avoid hitting a blackout-level BAC.

Drink water

Sipping water between drinks can extend the amount of time it takes to become intoxicated. Alternate between water and alcoholic beverages to avoid blacking out while drinking.

While drinking, be aware of signs of intoxication and stop drinking if you notice them. Some signs to watch for include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Blurry vision

These symptoms of intoxication could mean you’re headed toward an alcohol blackout, and you must stop drinking to avoid it.

Do I Need to Go to Rehab if I’m Blacking Out While Drinking?

Regularly drinking enough to cause alcohol blackouts may mean you need treatment for alcohol abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a binge is drinking four or more alcoholic drinks in a sitting for women and five.[3]

A drink is:

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits

Binge drinking isn’t always a sign of alcohol abuse or alcoholism, but a lack of control over your drinking defines these conditions. If you regularly drink more than you intended to, it may be a sign of a problem that requires treatment.

Some other signs of problematic drinking and alcoholism nclude:

  • Needing to drink more to get the same effects
  • Isolating from others
  • Requiring alcohol to socialize or perform in other areas of your life
  • Continuing to drink despite negative consequences
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking or drink less than usual
  • Using alcohol to numb physical or emotional discomfort

Frequent alcohol blackouts can be a sign that your relationship with alcohol has become unhealthy. Going to treatment can help you regain control of your drinking and learn the skills you need to avoid alcohol abuse or addiction and live a healthier, sober lifestyle.

Find Help for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction Now

When it comes to the alcohol rehab and recovery experience at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we incorporate 12-step immersion, the careful development of a personalized treatment plan, and an effective combination of therapeutic and holistic treatment methodologies.

If you or your loved one is ready to begin his or her personal journey of long-term healing, reach out to Woburn Wellness today for more information on our Boston-area alcohol rehab program.



When Does Casual Drinking Cross the Line into a Drinking Problem?

casual drinking vs a drinking problemAlcohol use is common in United States culture. Most adults drink alcohol at some point in their lives, and many enjoy alcoholic beverages from time to time. While many people drink in moderation, some develop problematic drinking or alcoholism.

Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to various mental and physical health problems. Prolonged periods of regular, heavy drinking can lead to severe short and long-term health complications and can lead to alcoholism.

Because drinking is considered by many to be a normal part of life, it can be hard to determine when someone has crossed the line between casual drinking, alcoholism, or other drinking problems. But it’s important to recognize the signs that you or someone in your life may have a drinking problem–and to know how to get the help you need to regain control of your life and health.

So, where is the line between casual drinking and a problem that could require professional treatment? We put together a guide to help you recognize the signs of alcoholism and other drinking problems. If you want to learn more or are interested in starting a holistic treatment program, reach out to the Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment team today.

What is Casual Drinking?

Many people enjoy alcohol from time to time. A glass of wine with dinner, a drink after work with colleagues, or beer at a sporting event or family gathering may be a regular part of life for most US adults.

Health experts generally agree that moderate drinking can be part of a healthy lifestyle and is not linked to serious short or long-term health risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define moderate drinking as:[1]

  • One drink per day or fewer for women
  • Two drinks or fewer per day for men

A “drink” is defined as:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits

Regularly drinking more than the CDC recommends may cause significant mental and physical health complications, including the development of alcoholism.

What are the Dangers of Drinking Too Much?

Regularly drinking too much alcohol is associated with a range of physical and mental health conditions. But how much is too much?

The CDC recommends that people should abstain from drinking alcohol or drink in moderation. Drinking more than recommended means:

  • For women, having 8 or more drinks in a week, or more than 4 drinks in a single occasion
  • For men, having 15 or more drinks in a week, or more than 5 drinks in a single occasion

Alcohol abuse impairs your judgment and can lead people to engage in risky behaviors, including driving under the influence and having risky sex. Being intoxicated raises a person’s risk of being involved in an assault, sustaining injuries in an accident, or other unintended events.

Long-term heavy drinking can also cause severe health complications, including:[2]

  • Bleeding in the stomach or esophagus
  • Pancreas disease, swelling, and damage
  • Liver damage
  • Cancers, including esophagus, liver, breast, colon, and others
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Damage to brain cells
  • Depression
  • Sleep disruption

It’s critical to get help for a drinking problem as soon as possible to avoid worsening consequences of alcohol abuse, including alcoholism.

Casual Drinking vs. Alcoholism: Understanding the Difference

For some, casual drinking is not a problem. But for others, casual drinking can be the beginning of unhealthy patterns of drinking that develop into a serious problem. It’s essential to understand the differences between casual drinking vs. alcoholism and be able to recognize when someone’s relationship with alcohol has become unhealthy.

Casual drinking–defined as drinking moderately–is a pattern of alcohol consumption that does not have a significant short or long-term impact on your life or health. People who drink casually are in control of their drinking. They don’t drink more than planned, can choose to stop if they want to, and use alcohol to socialize–not to manage stress or cover up other emotions.

Alcoholism is a total loss of control over drinking. People with alcoholism are not in control of their alcohol use because their body is dependent on alcohol. Without drinking alcohol, they experience intensely uncomfortable–sometimes dangerous–withdrawal symptoms. Their bodies cannot function without alcohol, so they cannot choose to stop drinking, even if the consequences are severe.

Signs of a Drinking Problem

Many signs of a drinking problem can show up before a person develops alcoholism. Some of the signs of problematic drinking include:

  • Needing to drink more to get the same effects (tolerance)
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Financial or legal trouble related to drinking
  • Being injured or causing an accident while intoxicated
  • Engaging in risky behaviors while drinking
  • Isolating
  • Using alcohol to numb stress and uncomfortable emotions like anger, sadness, loneliness, or boredom

These signs may suggest that a person requires treatment to stop drinking. It’s important to seek treatment as soon as you recognize a problem.

People who drink at all must be aware that it only takes one episode of excessive drinking to alter the course of your life. If you or someone you love has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol or you want to learn more about casual drinking vs. alcoholism, reach out to an addiction specialist near you to learn more.

Find Help for a Drinking Problem Now

If you or someone you love shows signs of a drinking problem, don’t wait another day to get the help you need. Reach out to the Woburn Addiction Treatment specialists to learn more about how our treatment programs and support can get you back on the path toward the healthy, sober lifestyle you deserve to live.



Why Can’t Alcoholics Stop Drinking on Their Own?

why can't alcoholics stop drinking on their ownFor the average person, the idea that an alcoholic can’t simply stop drinking on their own may not make much sense. After all, most people who drink alcohol can do so responsibly. The truth is that alcoholism is deeply misunderstood.

Anyone who has struggled with alcoholism has been met with misunderstandings from friends and family who wonder, “why can’t they just stop drinking?” Stopping drinking is easy for someone who doesn’t have an alcohol problem, but nearly impossible for someone who does.

When someone you love refuses to stop drinking, you probably wonder what steps you can take to get them to go to rehab. However, the first step is to understand alcoholism, how it affects the brain, and why recovery isn’t as simple as putting the drink down.

Why Can’t Alcoholics Just Stop Drinking?

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a complex disease that affects 14.5 million people ages 12 and older. Recovering from alcohol isn’t as simple as just quitting drinking because quitting drinking can be extremely difficult to do. The main reasons why alcoholics can’t stop drinking on their own include:

Physical Dependence and Withdrawal

Excessive drinking causes the brain to become used to alcohol. The body will then compensate for alcohol’s depressive effects by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in an attempt to restore equilibrium. If a heavy drinker suddenly stops drinking, the brain will take time to adjust, and the body will continue acting the same way it would if the person were drinking. This results in symptoms of withdrawal. Many drinkers will continue drinking alcohol to avoid going into withdrawal.

Common alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Not only do many alcoholics continue drinking to keep their withdrawal symptoms at bay, but detoxing at home can actually be dangerous. Stopping alcohol abruptly after chronic, long-term use can result in severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms. The safest way to detox is to do so under close medical supervision, so alcoholics should find a trusted medical detox center rather than try to stop drinking on their own.

Mental Obsession and Lack of Control

Alcoholism is a disease characterized by a mental obsession and lack of control. People who are alcoholics may have difficulty thinking about anything else unless they’ve had a drink. They may even convince themselves that the only way they can function is with alcohol.

At the same time, these individuals are unable to control the amount and frequency they drink. Someone may begin drinking with the intent of only having one beer, only to lose control and end up having six or seven. They may promise themselves they won’t drink, but end up being unable to follow through with that promise.

Intense Alcohol Cravings

Regular alcohol abuse changes the body and brain chemistry. One of the reasons alcohol develops is because alcohol makes people feel good which the brain interprets as a reward. This reinforcement causes drinking behaviors to increase to the point where people will experience intense cravings if they do not drink.

Even people who want to stop drinking may not be able to stop drinking in the face of alcohol cravings. Cravings can be so intense that the desire for a drink drowns out the desire to be sober, resulting in continued alcohol abuse.


Some people refuse to even try to stop drinking because they are in denial. Coming to terms with the fact that you’re suffering from alcoholism is not an easy thing to do, and sometimes the psyche puts up a mental block that makes people think they don’t really have a problem. Addiction denial is extremely common, but it often prevents people from getting the help they need.


Alcohol is the most widely abused substance for a reason. Alcohol is everywhere and widely accepted in American culture. Celebrations, parties, nights out with friends, and even networking events are ripe with alcohol. Unlike other drugs, it is almost impossible to avoid alcohol completely, which makes it even more difficult for people who have a problem with alcohol to abstain.

How to Help a Loved One Stop Drinking

First, it’s important to have compassion for people who are having trouble stopping drinking because many of them aren’t able to stop on their own–they need professional help. So how do you convince someone to get the help they need?

  • Tell your loved one how much you care and ask them if they’re willing to get help
  • Set healthy boundaries and avoid enabling your loved one’s drinking habits
  • Stage an intervention with a group of trusted loved ones
  • Lead by example by stopping drinking yourself or eliminating alcohol from the home

Finally, reassure your loved one that you support their decision to get sober. Be willing to participate in family or group counseling with them if it is offered during treatment to demonstrate your support.

Find the Right Alcohol Rehab Center for You

Quitting drinking isn’t easy, but with the help of a licensed alcohol rehab center, recovery is possible for everyone. At Woburn Wellness, we offer patients access to safe medical detox programs in Massachusetts before transferring them to one of our evidence-based alcoholism treatment programs. If you or a loved one are interested in seeking treatment or learning more, please reach out to our dedicated admissions coordinators today.

How to Find an Alcohol Detox Center in the Boston Area

finding an alcohol detox in BostonaAlcohol abuse takes a toll on your physical and mental health and can keep you from taking care of your basic needs. Your relationships may suffer, and you may find yourself facing serious legal, financial, or medical problems.

Alcohol abuse treatment can give you the support, care, and guidance you need to regain control over your drinking and teach you how to live a healthy, sober lifestyle. But the road to recovery may not always be straightforward. Alcohol abuse changes the way your body functions, making it very difficult to stop drinking on your own.

For many, the first step of recovery is participating in a medically-supported detox program. If you are looking for an alcohol detox in the Boston area, you likely have a lot of options. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand what will happen during detox and help you make an informed choice about your care.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

Moderate drinking is not associated with any known, long-term harm to a person’s health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines moderate drinking as one or fewer alcoholic drinks per day for women and two or fewer daily drinks for men. The CDC guidelines for what counts as an alcoholic drink are as follows:

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits like vodka, whiskey, or gin
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor

The CDC defines heavy drinking as drinking more than recommended during a week. For women, this means having more than seven alcoholic drinks weekly. For men, consuming 15 or more drinks is considered heavy drinking.

Regularly engaging in heavy drinking may lead to tolerance–needing to drink more alcohol to get the same effects. Tolerance is one of the benchmarks for addiction and indicates you may need help to stop drinking safely.

As your tolerance increases, you may begin drinking more. Drinking larger amounts more frequently can lead to the development of physical dependence on alcohol, resulting in symptoms of withdrawal if you abruptly quit drinking. If you experience withdrawal symptoms if you go periods of time without alcohol, it’s time to seek help from an alcohol detox center near you.

Do I Need the Support of an Alcohol Detox in Massachusetts?

If you are in Massachusetts and live with alcoholism, you may require treatment in an alcohol detox program to manage withdrawal safely.

Recognizing the signs of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol is the first step toward getting the help you need to recover. Some of the signs of alcohol abuse or addiction include:

  • Drinking to manage physical pain or difficult emotions, such as boredom, sadness, anxiety, or anger
  • Needing to drink more and more to get the same effects
  • Being involved in an accident, injuring yourself or others, or experiencing health problems related to your drinking
  • Experiencing legal or financial trouble due to your drinking
  • Isolating or only spending time with others who drink
  • Regularly drinking more than you meant to
  • Wanting to stop drinking but finding that you can’t
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking
  • Neglecting your relationships and responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about drinking, getting alcohol, and recovering from drinking

Alcohol addiction means a total loss of control over your drinking because your body is dependent on alcohol to function. But there are many ways to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. It’s crucial to get the help you need before facing the serious, sometimes life-threatening consequences of alcohol addiction.

What Happens During Alcohol Detox?

If you’ve been drinking heavily or frequently for a period, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop. Uncomfortable physical and emotional symptoms can begin to develop within just a few hours of your last drink and include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors/shaking
  • Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach
  • Cravings for alcohol

These symptoms are often so uncomfortable that many people relapse before having a complete detox. Withdrawal symptoms can last for days or weeks, making them vulnerable to relapse for a long time.

Receiving treatment from an alcohol detox center in the Boston area, you will have round-the-clock care and supervision from a team of medical and support specialists. Your treatment team will assess and treat you for withdrawal symptoms by providing medications, emotional support, and holistic therapies that support overall healing. This care and support will help you achieve a safe, complete detox and keep you comfortable throughout the process.

Finding an Alcohol Detox in the Boston Area

It’s crucial to find a high-quality alcohol detox center that can give you the support you need to overcome the physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects of addiction. Some of the signs of a high-quality detox program include:

  • Safe, clean, calm environment
  • Staff are licensed to provide detox services
  • The program and center are accredited
  • The center offers multiple levels of care to accommodate your unique needs
  • The program utilizes evidence-based therapies and treatments

The staff at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is dedicated to helping clients who need detox find a high-quality, effective alcohol detox in the Boston area. Whether Massachusetts is home for you or you want to travel for first-rate treatment, our admissions staff would be happy to tell you more about the available programs and help you get started.

Find a Top-Rated Alcohol Detox Center Near Boston, Massachusetts Today

If you or someone you love require addiction treatment or are looking for alcohol detox in Massachusetts, reach out to the Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment specialists today to get started on your recovery journey.

Why is there Stigma About Going to Rehab and How Can You Overcome Addiction Stigma?

experiencing addiction stigmaMost people are aware of the stigma that is attached to addiction. You have probably heard someone use the terms “junkie” or “crackhead” when referring to an individual who suffers from a substance use disorder. These are just small examples of how the stigma of addiction affects the way society thinks about and refers to people who struggle with addiction.

Addiction stigma stems from a misconception that addiction or alcoholism is a moral failing. Society as a whole tends to stigmatize any behavior that is considered to be out of the norm or less than desirable, which includes substance abuse, addiction, and mental health. While substance abuse should never be praised, looking at addiction as a “moral failing” makes it extremely difficult for people to feel comfortable in asking for help or even believing that they can get sober in the first place.

If you are afraid to seek help for your addiction out of fear of being stigmatized, understanding how to debunk and overcome the stigma of addiction can allow you to seek the help you need.

Understanding the Stigma of Addiction

People who suffer from addiction often deal with strong feelings of guilt and shame. This is because of the stigma that has been attached to addiction. More often than not, people who perpetuate the stigma of addiction are uneducated on substance use disorders in general.

The most common misconceptions about addiction are that individuals who abuse substances have made poor personal choices, have bad morals, and have a defect of character. While substance abuse is an unhealthy coping mechanism, it does not make you a bad person. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that affects the way your brain works, causing you to prioritize substances over other responsibilities in your life.

Most people who suffer from addiction have a history of trauma, untreated mental illness, or genetic predispositions that made them more susceptible to addictive behaviors. In other words, addiction usually stems from experiencing adversity and not having the proper tools to overcome it.

Once addiction begins developing, changes occur in the body and the brain that make it nearly impossible to stop using drugs without professional help–even when people truly want to get sober. As a result, people with addiction should be treated like someone who is struggling with a treatable disease, rather than an individual with poor morals.

Overcoming the Addiction Stigma

Suffering from a substance use disorder is never easy. Addiction can cause behavioral changes, social isolation, poverty, increased mental health issues, and the development of physical health conditions. Professional treatment is necessary to restore your health, learn proper coping mechanisms, and improve your overall quality of life.

Unfortunately, the stigma that is attached to addiction often prevents people from seeking the help they need. If you are afraid to attend drug and alcohol rehab because you are worried about facing judgment, learning about how to overcome stigma can make it easier to ask for help.

The best ways to overcome addiction stigma include:

Educating Yourself and Others

The first thing you should do is become educated on the disease of addiction and educate your friends and family as well.

Addiction changes the way your brain works by rewiring the structure. When you abuse drugs or alcohol, the substances hack into your brain’s communication system and interfere with how cells send, receive, and interpret information. Substances cause your brain to release a surge of dopamine, which causes it to associate drugs with reward and pleasure.

Because your brain believes that reward and pleasure stem from substance abuse, it will begin craving substances, causing you to prioritize drugs and alcohol over everything else in your life. If people understood how addiction affects the brain, they wouldn’t be able to perpetuate the misconception that substance abuse is a moral failing.

Finding a Community

Another way to overcome the stigma of addiction is to find a community of like-minded people. There are plenty of addiction support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that can provide you with a safe space to discuss your addiction and recovery with others who have been in the same position as you. Seeing these people experience success and happiness in sobriety can help you understand that addiction is a disease, rather than a defect of character.

You can also find a community within a drug and alcohol rehab program. When you attend addiction treatment, you will live with other patients who are recovering from substance abuse as well. Being around individuals who are in the same position as you will help you feel less alone or alienated.

Speaking Out Against the Stigma

Once you are recovered from addiction, you can begin to help fight the stigma. By telling your story to others, people can begin to understand that the individuals suffering from addiction are not immoral or wrong. Showing them that people can recover from addiction and live successful, happy lives will begin to normalize addiction as a disease, rather than a moral failing.

If any of your friends or loved ones believe the stigmas about addiction, you can provide them with information and knowledge on the disease. Oftentimes, people are just uneducated about how substance use disorders work, causing them to believe the misconceptions they hear.

Take the First Step Toward Recovery Today

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, help is available. Living with a substance use disorder can be extremely difficult, causing a variety of adverse social, financial, and health effects, but drug and alcohol rehab centers can provide you with the support and tools you need to overcome addiction and live the life you imagined.

Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment offers services corresponding to Levels of Treatment as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). ASAM Criteria are used to assist in placing individuals in the proper level of care at intake and to shift treatment per individual progress. The addiction treatment programs we provide at our treatment center near Boston, Massachusetts include Day Treatment, Intensive Outpatient (IOP), and Outpatient (OP) program options.

Don’t let stigma stop you from getting the help you deserve. Call today to find the right drug and alcohol rehab program for you.

Why do Some People Get Addicted and Others Don’t? Understanding Risk Factors for Addiction

risk factors for addictionPlenty of people experiment with substances, from alcohol to marijuana and even cocaine. While some people can use drugs and alcohol without becoming addicted, others fall into a cycle of substance abuse, dependence, and full-blown addiction. But why do some people get addicted and others don’t?

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 50% of people aged 12 or older have used illicit drugs at least once. Out of those individuals, 25.4% suffer from a substance use disorder.[1]

Addiction develops due to an array of underlying circumstances. Certain people face specific risk factors that make them more prone to addiction than others. While anyone can get addicted to a substance after repetitive use, some individuals find themselves suffering from the condition after only taking drugs once or twice.

Understanding the risk factors for addiction can help you or your loved ones take preventative measures to ensure that you do not develop a substance use disorder.

Risk Factors for Addiction

One of the reasons why some people get addicted to drugs while others don’t is that they have underlying risk factors that their peers do not face. For example, having a family history of addiction, suffering from mental health conditions, or experiencing a traumatic event puts you at an increased risk of developing an addiction.

Individuals who do not have these underlying risk factors may be less likely to abuse and become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

The common risk factors for addiction include:


According to the American Psychological Association, “At least half of a person’s susceptibility to drug addiction can be linked to genetic factors.”[2]

Genes are functional units of DNA that provide the information responsible for directing your body’s basic cellular functions. Genes determine what color your hair will be, how tall you are, and even how susceptible you are to developing certain diseases like heart attacks, diabetes, or addiction.

However, it is important to note that genetics are never solely responsible for the development of addiction. If you have a genetic predisposition to addiction, you must also suffer from other risk factors to develop a substance use disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “research shows that a person’s health is the result of dynamic interactions between genes and the environment.”[3]

Mental Health

When you suffer from a mental health condition, you are more likely to develop substance abuse issues. This is especially true if your mental illness is left untreated because mental disorders can be extremely difficult to cope with, often causing individuals to seek out forms of self-medication.

While any mental health issue can put you at an increased risk of developing an addiction, certain illnesses are highly linked to substance abuse. For example, bipolar disorder often causes people who are experiencing mania to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors like abusing drugs or alcohol.

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, “brain changes in people with mental disorders may enhance the rewarding effects of substances, making it more likely they will continue to use the substance.”[4]

Traumatic Experiences

When someone experiences something traumatic, they often deal with difficult emotions and painful memories. Without professional treatment, the symptoms of past trauma can become so difficult to cope with that you begin participating in unhealthy coping mechanisms. More often than not, this leads to self-medication with drugs and alcohol.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, trauma exposure led to substance abuse in up to 76% of individuals.[5]

A history of trauma is one of the most common risk factors for addiction. Because of this, people who have suffered from a traumatic event should always seek counseling to process their trauma before it impacts their lives further.

Early Use

The large majority of people who suffer from addiction report abusing substances in their adolescent years. When you abuse drugs or alcohol before your brain is fully developed, you may experience changes in your brain that put you at an increased risk of addiction.

Substance abuse can affect adolescent brain development by:

  • Creating memory issues
  • Ingraining expectations of unhealthy habits into brain circuitry
  • Inhibiting your development of perceptual abilities
  • Reducing your ability to experience pleasure naturally
  • Interfering with neurotransmitters and damaging important connections within the brain

Keeping this in mind, abusing substances as a child or a teen increases your risk of developing an addiction for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that your impulse control is not fully developed until your mid to late twenties. When you are abusing substances as an adolescent, your ability to control how much and often you use drugs is extremely low.

Find Help for Yourself or a Loved One

Just because you have the risk factors for addiction does not mean you will develop it. However, if you do abuse drugs and alcohol, your chances of becoming addicted are extremely high. Regardless of your history, anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol, so it is important to care for your mental health, address any past traumas, and avoid substance abuse–especially when addiction issues run in your family.

Unfortunately, preventing addiction can be difficult when you do not have the resources or support you need. If you or a loved one find yourself suffering from a substance use disorder, professional treatment can help you gain the tools you need to recover. Contact Woburn Wellness today for more information on our drug and alcohol rehab program.



How to Convince an Addicted Spouse to Go to Rehab

convincing an addicted spouse to go to rehabNo one chooses to develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol. But once someone is living with this life-altering condition, its impacts are felt by everyone in their life. This is especially true for people with an addicted spouse.

When your spouse lives with substance abuse and addiction, you live with it too. Addiction’s financial, legal, social, and physical aspects can wreak havoc on your relationship and personal well-being.

But how can you convince your addicted spouse to go to rehab without pushing them away? The balance is tricky. We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate this topic and get your addicted spouse the help they need to recover from addiction.

Recognizing the Signs of Addiction

Recognizing the symptoms of addiction is key to convincing an addicted spouse to go to rehab. In some cases, their substance abuse may be clear. However, substance abuse can fly under the radar for a very long time.

It’s important to recognize the physical, emotional, and behavioral signs of addiction so that you can get your addicted spouse the help they need quickly.

Some of the signs of addiction include:

  • Being dishonest or secretive about their substance abuse
  • Neglecting work or responsibilities at home
  • Changes in their appetite, mood, sleep, or appearance
  • Preoccupation with drinking or using drugs
  • Isolating from loved ones or hobbies
  • Financial or legal difficulties related to substance use
  • Injuries associated with drinking or using drugs
  • Developing tolerance–needing more of the substance to get the same effects
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if they cut back or stop using substances

These signs could indicate that your spouse needs the support of a drug rehab program to overcome substance abuse or addiction.

How to Help an Addicted Spouse Break Through Denial

Addiction can cause so much harm to a person’s physical, emotional, and social health that it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t recognize that they need help. But many people living with substance abuse and addiction are in denial of how serious the condition has become–and just how close they are to losing everything.

But what is denial? Denial is a coping mechanism that shields people from the severity of their current situation. In some cases, denial can help people function in overwhelming circumstances. But when someone lives with addiction, denial can prevent them from recognizing that they need treatment.

Some common signs of denial include:

  • Becoming irritated when others express concern about their substance use
  • Secretive behavior
  • Shifting blame to others or their circumstances
  • Believing their substance use doesn’t affect anyone else
  • Downplaying the severity of their substance use
  • Thinking binges aren’t as bad as everyday use
  • Failing to keep promises
  • Rationalizing their substance abuse–saying, “I need it to sleep/perform/get through a stressful time”

It’s crucial to help an addicted spouse get treatment as soon as you realize they are living with substance abuse or addiction. If you are able to convince an addicted spouse to go to rehab, they will undergo therapy and treatments that help them break through their denial and learn skills to prevent relapse in the future.

Sometimes, it takes a serious event–a medical condition, accident, injury, or loss of a relationship–to help people escape denial. But there are also steps you can take to convince an addicted spouse to go to rehab that may be helpful.

 How Do I Convince an Addicted Spouse to Go to Rehab?

It can be challenging to convince an addicted spouse to go to rehab. Taking these steps can make the process easier.

1. Learn about addiction

The better you understand addiction as a disease, the better you can help an addicted spouse. Find accurate information about addiction and recovery by reading books, joining a support group, or attending Al-Anon meetings.

2. Stage an intervention

An intervention is a carefully planned event where family members and other loved ones gather to convince their addicted loved one to go to rehab. It is essential to carefully choose who will be there, when you will hold it, and what treatment you can offer.

Hiring a professional interventionist increases your chances of having an effective intervention.

3. Act quickly

Without treatment, addiction can turn deadly. It’s important to act quickly. However, you must be able to help your addicted spouse by finding a high-quality treatment center that can meet their needs.

4. Practice self-care

Living with and supporting someone with an addiction can be physically and emotionally draining. Finding the support you need to help an addicted spouse is essential. Engage in individual therapy, stay active with hobbies you enjoy, eat healthily, and make time for rest as much as you can.

The more information and resources you have available for you and your spouse, the more likely you will convince your loved one to go to rehab.

Get Help Now

You do not have to live under the weight of your spouse’s addiction alone. Addiction affects you and your spouse alike, but a drug rehab center can help heal your marriage and get both of your lives back on track. Reach out to the Woburn Addiction Treatment specialists today to learn about finding the treatment and support your spouse needs to overcome addiction.