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Alcohol Addiction in Massachusetts


Alcohol use is widespread in the United States, and its easy availability often sets the stage for alcohol dependence. Individuals may not be aware they have a problem with alcohol until it begins to be an overriding force in their lives. Treatment for alcohol addiction in Massachusetts is available to help these individuals overcome their dependence and rebuild new lives in sobriety.

About Alcohol Use Problems

Alcohol use disorders, or AUDs, have become a common problem. Abuse of alcohol can range from binge drinking on weekends to full-blown, all-day alcohol consumption and addiction. The path from social drinking to alcohol abuse and addiction can be a slippery slope and most individuals are unaware they have a problem until it is too late. In some cases, alcohol use can go on for years, with a variety of negative consequences, such as divorce, loss of a job or DUI conviction, before the individual acknowledges their alcoholism. Individuals with alcohol addiction in Massachusetts can take advantage of inpatient treatment to overcome their dependency and regain control over their lives.

Alcohol Dependency Statistics

Alcohol abuse disorders affect about 7 percent of the population over the age of 18, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Massachusetts consistently ranks in the top ten states in terms of alcohol use disorders. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that, of people who were enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program in Massachusetts in a single day in 2012, 14.2 percent were being treated for alcohol dependence. The statistics for deaths caused by alcohol poisoning in Massachusetts have also caused concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that Massachusetts was in the top quarter of all the states in terms of alcohol poisoning deaths. And these deaths were not confined to young people. Three-quarters of the death involved men between the ages of 35 and 64. Clearly, alcohol addiction in Massachusetts is a problem that requires access to treatment for people of all ages.

Why Is Alcohol So Addictive?

Scientifically backed studies have shown that alcohol acts on the pleasure and reward centers in the brain, releasing endorphins, small proteins that are naturally produced in the brain that make people feel good. Heavy drinkers appear to be more susceptible to these effects in the brain. When the alcohol is stopped, this pleasurable effect does not occur, and the individual begins to feel depressed and uncomfortable.

Causes of Alcoholism

Research into the causes of alcoholism has yielded some interesting results. Studies suggest that heredity has often a factor in whether an individual becomes addicted to alcohol. If other people in the family have had a problem with alcoholism, the risk of also having a problem increases. Certain psychological factors also play a part. Individuals with depression often use alcohol to overcome feelings of sadness and isolation. Those people dealing with posttraumatic stress disorder may also use alcohol to escape from recurring memories and feelings of hopelessness. The individual’s environment and how often alcohol is a part of everyday life may also play a part

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Drinking, and even occasional overdrinking are commonplace in many situations. However, an alcohol abuse disorder has a number of characteristic symptoms that indicate it is different than ordinary social drinking:

  • Frequent occasions of drinking more than was intended
  • Spending a great deal of time drinking
  • Wanting to stop, but couldn’t stop drinking
  • Spend time getting over the aftereffects of drinking
  • Experience cravings for alcohol
  • Experienced negative legal, work or family consequences because of drinking
  • Had to deal with withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop drinking
  • Gave up other expenses to have money for alcohol
  • Are experiencing increased tolerance to alcohol and need more to get the effects

Short and Long Term Effects of Alcohol Dependence

Over the short term, alcohol acts as a nervous system depressant, which can lead to accidents and injury from uncoordinated movements. It can also cause impairment when driving or using equipment at work. Alcohol use can also cause impairment of judgment, which can lead to fighting and other risky behavior. Its use also affects productivity and memory. The long-term effects of alcohol addiction can include:

  • Liver impairment
  • High blood pressure and the risk of stroke and heart disease
  • Digestive disorders
  • Diabetes complications
  • Problems with sexual dysfunction and menstruation
  • Bone loss
  • Vision problems
  • Cognitive and memory problems
  • Increased risk for cancer
  • Neurological problems
  • Immune system problems
  • Birth defects


Dangers of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction can lead to severe liver and kidney impairment that can be life threatening. Excessive alcohol use is also associated with increased risk for cancer. Poor coordination and impaired decision making can lead to vehicle accidents and death. Legal problems involved in driving under the influence and fighting are common with alcohol addiction. Loss of job and broken relationships are other common consequences of alcoholism.


Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Individuals attempting to withdraw from alcohol can experience a number of symptoms, some of which may be severe enough to require medical attention. Symptoms include depression, fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, tremors, mood swings, confusion, nausea, vomiting, seizures and hallucinations. An inpatient alcohol rehab facility can provide around-the-clock monitoring and intervention with medical treatment, when necessary.


Treatment for Alcohol Dependence

An inpatient alcohol addiction center can offer medical support during the detox process. It will also provide individual and group counseling to understand the underlying issues that lead to alcohol abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy can change negative thought patterns and provide new ways of dealing with stress, anger and frustration that often lead to drinking. Understanding the situations that trigger relapses and how to avoid them can also help to keep individuals stay sober after treatment. Medications that cause unpleasant reactions when the person tries to drink may also be prescribed to prevent relapse. Finally, treatment can refer patients to support groups that can provide social interaction to encourage sobriety.

Alcohol addiction can be an insidious problem that undermines health and destroys relationships. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol use, contact a treatment center today to discuss the options for treatment of alcohol addiction in Massachusetts.