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What Is Alcohol Dependence?

an empty beer mug sits on a table while the person drinking wonders if they have an alcohol dependence

Alcohol misuse continues to affect millions of men and women each year despite the known dangers of abusing this addictive substance. Alcohol dependence happens when a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol on a daily or weekly basis. If you are not careful, one or two drinks a day can turn into a full-blown addiction before you realize it.

Evoke Wellness at Waltham is a comprehensive alcohol rehab center in Waltham, MA, that supports residents who need help treating substance use disorders. When you first arrive at our beautiful treatment center, we will run a full health assessment to create a comprehensive treatment program. You will work with an experienced therapist in group and private therapy sessions, where you will develop new coping skills and a better understanding of the reasons behind the misuse.

Call 866.276.1920 today if you would like more information about our alcohol rehab in Waltham, MA.

What Is Alcohol Dependence?

According to the National Library of Medicine, alcohol dependence is characterized by “fundamental changes in the brain’s reward and stress systems that manifest as withdrawal symptoms when alcohol consumption is stopped or substantially reduced. These changes also are purported to fuel motivation to reengage in excessive drinking behavior.”

In simpler terms, the more you drink, the more you will want to continue drinking. This happens because the chemicals in alcohol interact with cells in your body and signal a massive release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy.

Depending on how much you drink, it can take up to 12 hours or longer for your body to cleanse itself of all of the toxins in alcohol. If you drink before this happens, you will develop an alcohol dependence in a short amount of time. This means if you don’t continue drinking, you will experience intense cravings and several withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mental confusion
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Shaky hands

Evoke Wellness at Waltham understands the dangers of alcohol addiction and works closely with each patient to identify the underlying cause behind the misuse to begin the healing process. Our treatment programs utilize cognitive-behavioral therapy and other beneficial therapies along with medical support to stop the abuse safely and with fewer risks of relapse.

The Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Despite its legality, alcohol can cause serious health concerns, even with short-term abuse. Some of the common short-term effects of alcohol addiction include:

  • Significant injuries due to driving under the influence or blacking out and falling
  • An increase in violent behaviors that can include sexual assault, homicide, and spousal abuse
  • Alcohol poisoning is due to consuming too much alcohol in one night
  • Risky sexual behaviors can lead to adultery, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintentional pregnancies

Misusing alcohol for a long period of time is very detrimental to your health. Other long-term effects of alcohol misuse include:

  • A weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive issues
  • Cancer in the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, or rectum
  • Cognitive problems, including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease
  • Increased risk of developing other mental health disorders, like depression, anxiety, and psychosis
  • Withdrawing from friends and family and becoming more anti-social
  • A decline in work or school performance.

Although addiction has no known cure, enrolling in an addiction treatment program offers the most effective path toward overcoming addiction and acquiring essential coping mechanisms for maintaining sobriety. The program teaches patients about the dangers of addiction, how to stop the abuse, and gain a new positive outlook on themselves and the world around them.

Call Evoke Wellness at Waltham to Begin Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Evoke Wellness at Waltham provides a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that promotes wellness and sobriety for people who are ready to break their alcohol dependence. Our programs include a healthy mix of therapies and medical support to treat all aspects of the disorder. Your individualized treatment program may consist of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), motivational interviewing (MI), yoga and meditation therapy, nutrition education, and family therapy.

To see if our alcohol rehab program is right for you, give us a call at 866.276.1920 or contact us online to take that first step toward a better life.