Meth Addiction Artwork

Methamphetamine Symptoms and Treatment

Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of the most devastating drugs someone can take.  Meth works by forcing the brain to pump dopamine – a neurotransmitter that induces and elevates the mood and creates a high in the person taking the drug.  While there are many different activities that can increase dopamine in a person’s brain, drugs can hijack the brain and force the brain to secrete more dopamine than is healthy and typical.

Meth is a powerful drug and is habit-forming, which opens the door to the potential for addiction and long-term consumption.  When used over a long period of time, meth destroys dopamine receptors in the brain.

Symptoms of a Meth Addiction

There are certain telltale signs and symptoms to look for if you believe you or someone you love has a meth addiction.  These symptoms include weight loss (because meth stops your brain’s hunger centers from becoming activated), dehydration, decreased libido, osteoporosis (because bones and teeth become more easily breakable as a result of meth use, skin abscesses (due to injecting the drug into the skin rather than a vein), elevated body temperature, and sleep deprivation (due to constant stimulation impacting the need for sleep).

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Treating an addiction to meth can be difficult, as it requires comprehensive detoxification courses.  The first step in treatment includes purging the presence of meth from an addicted individual’s body and helping them reacclimate to functioning without the use of the drug.  Since there can be significant psychological damage to a person’s mind over time due to use of the drug, treatment should also address rehabilitation of the mind.  Treatment for meth should include showing former users of the drug how they can regain the ability to function in everyday life without going back to old behaviors of seeking out the drug.

Treatment After Rehab

At Tharros House in the Boston area of Massachusetts, we work with people who have already completed some form of treatment.  We believe that learning how to live life without picking up a drink or a drug is critically important, but only half of the process.  At Tharros, we focus on skills to maintain sobriety, but also on helping each client build a life that they want to live in sobriety. To learn more about our approach and get answers to common questions, please visit http://tharroshouse.com/faq/.

Alcohol Abuse Side Effects Path in Boston Massachusetts

Alcohol Abuse and Side Effects of Withdrawal

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 87 percent of adults have had at least one drink during their lifetime.  While many addictive substances are illegal, alcohol is legal in the United States to those over the age of 21, and this substance is easily obtainable.

Many people are able to drink mild to moderate amounts of alcohol on a regular basis without any negative health consequences.  The Mayo Clinic has even published findings that drinking in moderation may even have some positive health benefits.  However, heavy drinking or binge drinking can lead to an alcohol problem.  Binge drinking is typically defined as drinking more than four drinks in a span of a few hours for a woman, or more than five drinks in a few hours for a man.

Additional Facts and Statistics Regarding Alcohol Abuse

  • It is estimated that approximately 16.6 million American adults had an alcohol use disorder in 2013.
  • One of every three visits to an emergency room is related to alcohol consumption.
  • Approximately 88,000 people die each year from an alcohol-related cause, making alcohol the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

Side Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is generally thought to begin between six hours and 24 hours after the last drink was consumed, according to American Family Physician.  There are three major stages of alcohol withdrawal.

Stage One

Stage One of alcohol withdrawal typically includes mild symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, stomach pain and/or vomiting, loss of appetite, mood swings, heart palpitations, and depression.

Stage Two

Stage Two of alcohol withdrawal includes more moderate symptoms, such as irregular heart rate, sweating, irritability, mental confusion, increased blood pressure, and increased body temperature.

Stage Three

Stage Three of alcohol withdrawal includes severe symptoms, such as fever, seizures, severe confusion, and hallucinations.

Tharros Sober Living House

Rehabilitation from alcohol abuse isn’t usually a quick process.  It requires effort, and it takes time.  Building a solid foundation will serve you for your entire life, which is the reason why we solely accept clients ready to put sobriety and recovery as their top priority.  To learn more about our approach and get answers to common questions, please visit http://tharroshouse.com/faq/.

Water Lily Sober Living Boston Massachusetts

Preventing Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) utilizes early intervention strategies in its efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and mental disorders in America.

Mental and Substance Use Disorder Statistics

Substance use and mental disorders can have a major impact on the health of individuals, along with their families and their communities.  Approximately 9.8 million adults aged 18 and older in America had a serious mental illness in 2014, and 1.7 million of these adults are classified as young adults, aged 18 to 25.  Additionally, about 15.7 million adults and 2.8 million youth (aged 12 to 17) reported suffering a major depressive episode during the last year.

Drug and alcohol use can lead to the development of other chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.  Dealing with the impact of substance abuse is thought to cost Americans an estimated $600 billion dollars per year.

In 2014, about 22.5 million Americans that were 12 years old or older reported needing treatment for illicit drug use or alcohol.  These types of disorders are included in the top conditions that result in disability and have a high burden of disease in the U.S.  As a result, these disorders result in high costs to families, health systems, and employers.  It is estimated that by the year 2020, mental and substance abuse disorders will become a major cause of disability throughout the world, surpassing all other physical diseases.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Prevention

Selective prevention strategies focus on assisting people to develop the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to make positive choices and change harmful behavior.  These strategies can be implemented in a classroom setting.

Universal prevention approaches incorporate the usage of environmental prevention strategies.  Environmental prevention strategies are tailored to local communities and address root causes of risky behavior by creating healthy environments.

Are you or a loved one dealing with substance abuse?

Sober living houses, like the Tharros House, can be a helpful place to begin your recovery process. Visit www.tharroshouse.com to learn more.

Sober house road to recovery in Boston Massachusetts

Sober Living Residences and Half-Way Homes

When a person is working on recovery from addiction, it can be extremely helpful for them to live in a sober living facility or a half-way home to aid in their recovery.  Living in a drug-free and stable environment can help eliminate certain factors that can be detrimental to maintaining recovery.

Some of the earliest forms of sober living residences were run by religious institutions, such as the Salvation Army and also the YMCA.  These sober living homes were first formed in the 1830s.  In Los Angeles following World War II, “Twelfth Step” houses emerged to help combat alcohol-related issues that had become more widespread during that time period.

Maintaining Sobriety While Living in a Sober Living Residence

Exercise at least three times per week – Exercising can be helpful not only to help your body stay in shape physically but also can help you mentally.  While you exercise, your body releases endorphins which can help to elevate your mood.

Maintain a healthy diet – Eating healthy foods and keeping a regular meal schedule of eating three times a day will help you with your overall health levels.  Falling into unhealthy eating habits can lead to relapsing, hurting your recovery progress.

Attend a 12 Step Program and get a sponsor – A 12-step program is an addiction recovery support group.  These groups often have meetings every day.  A sponsor is a mentor who can help someone recovering from addiction.  Often, a sponsor has already gone through many of the same issues that someone new to the recovery process is currently experiencing, which makes a sponsor a very helpful resource.

Sober living residences, like the Tharros House, can be a helpful place to begin your recovery process.  Living with others who are going through the same things can be a helpful built-in support group.

Sober Living Home Fence in Boston Massachusetts

Sober Living Homes

For those suffering from addiction, sober living homes can be helpful when trying to maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol.  A stable and drug-free environment is important for continued recovery from addiction.

Sober Living House Expectations

While there are different types of sober living home arrangements, there are some general expectations that apply to sober living houses.  These include:

-No stealing from the house

-Paying fees/dues on time

-No drinking alcohol

-No taking drugs

-No sexual activity with other residents

-No violent actions

Tips for Staying Sober in a Sober Living Residence

  • Attend a 12-Step Program – A 12-step program is a support group for people working to overcome addiction.  There are meetings every day that you can attend as needed.  Many people in the support group have experienced similar circumstances and can offer guidance on how they overcame their own personal setbacks on their path to recovery.
  • Exercise Three Times a Week – Exercising releases endorphins, which make you feel good and elevate your mood.  Exercise can also help reduce compulsive behaviors.
  • Eat Three Meals a Day – Eating healthy foods on a regular schedule is an important part of your overall health.  A person dealing with substance abuse is more likely to relapse if they also have unhealthy eating habits.
  • Get a Sponsor and Contact Them When Needed – A sponsor is a mentor for someone recovering from addiction.  A sponsor is usually at a point in their own recovery where they have already worked through many of the issues that someone newly dealing with addiction recovery is experiencing, so they can be a helpful resource.

While in the process of recovering from addiction, it is important to set goals for yourself and come up with a long-term recovery plan.  Living in a sober living residence, such as the Tharros House can help you progress with recovery from your addiction.

Prescription Drug Abuse in Boston Massachusetts

The Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse

More American adults than ever before are turning to prescription drugs to cure their ailments.  At least thirty-four percent of Americans are taking one or more prescribed medications.  Prescription medications are quickly becoming the go-to way to resolve all types of common conditions, including stress and anxiety.

Prescription Medication Safety

Americans may be lulled into a false sense of security regarding prescription medication, figuring it must be safe because their doctor prescribed it.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has conducted studies involving patients who share prescription medication with friends and family.  The studies found that many people were unaware of the dangers that sharing medication may bring.

The Dangers of Narcotics and Addiction

One of the most dangerous categories of prescription medication includes narcotics.  It is estimated that approximately three out of four overdoses each year involve narcotic drugs.  Narcotics can be extremely addicting, requiring higher doses of the medication to maintain the same level of relief to the body.  After a person has been taking certain drugs for an extended period of time, their body’s tolerance for the medication builds.  Most people are aware that you can become addicted to medication that you are taking for recreational use and may not be actively prescribed to, however addiction can also occur even when you are taking prescribed medication, so it is important to discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Commonly Abused Prescription Medications

Some prescription medications are more commonly abused than others.  The top three categories of drugs that are abused the most are opioids (narcotic painkillers), stimulants, and central nervous system depressants.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Addiction

Addiction may not be easily noticeable at first.  There are many different side effects associated with a wide variety of medications, so some side effects of addiction may simply be side effects of taking the medication.

One symptom that may signal addiction to prescription medication is an onset of erratic behavior.  You may notice erratic behavior in someone addicted to medication if they are desperate to replenish their medication supply or engage in risky behaviors in order to get more of the medication.  Some addicts even resort to forging prescriptions or trying to get their prescription filled at multiple pharmacies at once.

Treatment and Recovering From Addiction

Addiction can be very difficult to overcome, but there are many resources available to help individuals suffering from addiction to medication.  There are rehabilitation and treatment centers that specialize in helping addicts recover.  These facilities can help addicts through all stages of recovery, including the initial withdrawal physical symptoms.  Trained professionals also work with people suffering from addiction to help them work through their emotional dependency on the medication.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends behavior therapies for the treatment of addiction in conjunction with detox treatments.

Reducing Medication Dependency

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has begun monitoring prescription dispensaries such as pharmacies in an effort to help control the prescription drug use epidemic.  As of 2011, there are thirty-seven states that have implemented prescription drug monitoring programs.  These efforts may help to fight the epidemic of prescription medication abuse.

Tharros Sobriety House

At Tharros House Structured Living in the Boston area of Massachusetts, we find that people have the most success battling prescription drug addiction when exposed to various ideas and are given the power to choose their own path to recovery. It’s important to identify what’s meaningful for you in order to direct your own recovery. Visit www.tharroshouse.com to learn more about this approach.

 

Drug Detox Symptoms and Treatment in Boston Massachusetts

Drug Detox – Symptoms and Treatment

From Drug Consumption to Drug Dependence

Most users of substances started using with the idea that they would try the substance, and maybe use it recreationally.  No one plans to become dependent, and many don’t even realize it’s happening.  Casual consumption turns to dependence psychologically and physically.  As use becomes more frequent, drug tolerance is developed, which can start the path to drug dependence, and drug addiction.  Drug tolerance simply means that the drug effects diminish, and more of the drug is needed to achieve the same feeling.  As users take more and more to get the desired effect, the risk of drug overdose becomes higher.

 Drug Addiction and Drug Withdrawal

As drug consumption continues, and drug tolerance is increased, our brains change to account for the increased use.  Stopping or reducing use, with many substances, can lead to drug withdrawal, as drug detoxification takes place in the body.  With opiates/opioids, cocaine, alcohol, and even nicotine, this physical drug withdrawal can be very uncomfortable.  People feel physically sick, and their brain craves the drug, often motivating individuals to take actions that they would not normally take- like stealing, skipping work, and lying to family and friends.

Drug Detox and Drug rehabilitation

Drug detoxification serves multiple purposes.  It provides external accountability to help people not give up and use, it provides medical care to ensure that the user is safe during the body’s detox process, and it also serves to keep the user more comfortable through the process.  Detox is still hard, but a professional detoxification can make the process considerably safer and more comfortable, than doing it on your own.  Once the body is detoxed, the process of rehabilitation can start.

What does it mean to enter drug rehabilitation?

Drug rehabilitation is the process of making changes in your life to avoid falling back into drug use and drug addiction.  There are a great number of ways that people can start a path in recovery, and many times this starts after drug detox, with some kind of treatment.  If the user has the opportunity to engage an inpatient or residential treatment, this is often a great start to the recovery process.  What’s commonly referred to as “rehab” is this kind of treatment, where someone lives at the treatment center for a period of time; this allows for the focus to be placed solely on recovery, and it also helps the person remain accountable to their sobriety.

After treatment has taken place, it’s time for the person in recovery to re-enter their lives.  This may include returning to work or family.  It may also include designing a new life that is very different from what they engaged during active addiction.  At Tharros, we focus on this stage of recovery.  To learn more about our approach, and what you can expect at Tharros, visit our website at www.TharrosHouse.com

 

Living a Sober Life in Massachusetts

Living the Good, Sober Life

Stick around people in recovery long enough, and you’ll hear a common message: Sober is better.  In Boston, it sounds more like Sobah is Bettah!  But there’s a reason for the statement, however you pronounce it- for those who stay sober and get recovery, life gets really good!

Road to a better life:

Let’s be clear.  Not many people wake up one day, decide to stop using substances for no reason, and then find that life is better without them.  Usually, there is a reason to stop.  What worked for us at one time, has stopped working.  So we’re willing to try something different.  Some of us engage treatment, a sober community or sober housing.  We look for ways to engage sober support to help us stay sober while working on our recovery.  Yes, most of us had to find sobriety, in order to find recovery.  Sober recovery led us to a life where we felt better, found joy, and discovered, sober is better!

What is sober recovery?

Sober recovery is more than abstinence from alcohol and drugs.  Recovery is about changing the way we engage in life, looking at what’s important to us, and taking action to build a life we want to live without substances.  Stopping your coping mechanisms (drinking/drugs) and taking no further action isn’t likely going to give you much recovery.  If you like white knuckles, this is your path!  To get more, we do more.

What is the sober way?

Finding your path to a life of recovery isn’t easy.  But it’s worth it, and you can do it!  Most of us find it important to build a sober network, surround ourselves with a sober community, and engage sober support, like a sober coach or a sober house.  At Tharros, we’ve combined community with aftercare, and our house offers a safe place to explore sober meaning.  We focus on recovery, with you choosing the fellowship and resources that speak with you.  Our team has many different experiences in recovery, and we make many suggestions, while following a framework designed to help each person move toward a full and meaningful life.  We help you build a life you want to live!

We involve sober entertainment, sober games, sober jobs, and sober dating too!  Living life in recovery doesn’t mean giving up what’s important to you; to the contrary, it’s about finding what’s important to you, building it, and living life in a way that’s meaningful to you!  For those of us on that path, it’s easy to say, Sobah is Bettah!

To learn more about Tharros House and our approach to recovery, visit http://tharroshouse.com/about-2/ or read more of our blog posts at http://tharroshouse.com/blog/

 

Recovery House Covered by Sober Hands

Recovery Homes for Lifelong Recovery

Staying at a recovery home can be one of the most important steps you can take to on the path to lifelong recovery. The battle through addiction can be a daunting task for anyone, yet with the proper tools and help getting and staying clean can become much more manageable.

Benefits of a Recovery Home vs. Rehab Alone

Drug detox and rehabilitation can do wonders for a person stuck in the depths of an addiction. It takes them out of the toxic surroundings for a bit and helps them get clean – but staying clean is another matter.

People with addictions generally build a life around them that helps feed that addiction; from friends to the places they choose to live. While rehab is great and can be the answer for some, many times it takes building out new habits and living in a friendly sober place away from all of the old temptations.

A recovery house provides you with a safe drug-free environment with like-minded individuals on the same path to recovery. There is an emphasis on spirituality, connecting with others, and learning new habits / ways of thinking to make it through the most difficult times in life without using drugs or alcohol.

Tharros Sober Living Recovery House

When looking for a recovery home it’s important to find one with experienced staff, safety & comfort, and structure. At Tharros House we have all of the above and then some, going above and beyond to ensure you feel safe and secure while learning how to live a sober life.

Our program leadership are all Boston Massachusetts natives. They pull from experiences with various sources of intervention including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , Psychoanalytical Therapy, Hypnosis, Acupuncture, Yoga, Meditation, Family  Therapy, as well as  Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs.

For more information on Tharros Recovery House visit our website at http://www.tharroshouse.com.

Types of drug abuse in Boston Massachusetts

Treating Drug Abuse in Massachusetts

There can be a fine line between regular use of drugs and drug abuse. To find out whether or not someone that is using drugs is dependent on them or just taking them recreationally you can ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Why does the personal use drugs?
  2. What happens when they are under the influence of drugs?

What makes someone abuse drugs?

Many times people with alcohol dependence and/or drug problems use the drugs to acquire a specific effect, such as escaping emotions.  While there may be many reasons for someone to use drugs, the people that become addicted usually all desire the escape.

It is still possible to like the escape / feeling that comes with alcohol and drug use while not having a drug problem, which brings us to the second question of ‘What happens when they are under the influence of drugs?”. Behaviors such as blacking out, uncontrolled drinking, and not caring about the negative consequences that come from drinking alcohol / taking drugs can all point towards a drug abuse problem.

Ignoring the Consequences

A major sign that someone has a drug abuse issue is that the user will continue using despite all the negative consequences of their actions. Take a DUI for example – a normal users would try to ensure that they never get in this situation again and avoid it completely. People with drug abuse disorders would recognize that they definitely don’t want another DUI but would continue to get themselves in the same situations and still take the risk.

Treating Drug Abuse

Once someone has accepted that they have a drug problem the first step, depending on the severity of the problem, is to go to a drug detox facility. Going cold turkey after years of abusing drugs or alcohol can have serious life threatening consequences, so it’s important to do it the right way.

Once completely detoxed the most important thing to do is to go through primary treatment, aka rehab. Rehab is essential to drug recovery as it removes the person from all the daily stresses and triggers in everyday life that play a role in their addiction. When the person leaves rehab there are oftentimes many challenges in the day to day life.

This is where sober living comes in. Living in a sober house helps by giving you the tools you need to succeed in everyday life. At Tharros, we work with people who have already finished some form of major alcohol or drug treatment.  Our clients are sober and free from drugs.  A commitment to staying free from all mind changing drugs is a condition of living at Tharros House.  People usually stay between 4-6 months, however some reside as long as a year, or longer.

We believe that learning how to live life without having to pick up a drink or a drug is seriously important, but it’s just part of the process.  At Tharros House, we concentrate on skills to maintain sobriety, but also on helping each client to build a life that they want to live in being sober.  Our staff helps each client to recognize how to include purpose, meaning, success, and other key factors of a joyful life.  Clients direct their personal recovery with support, suggestions, and accountability provided by our team and community.  Learning the skills of life are incorporated both on an individual basis through activities like grocery shopping, meal planning, and service commitments, and on a group basis, like cooking classes.

Rehabilitation from drug abuse isn’t usually a quick process.  It requires effort, and it takes time.  Building a solid foundation will serve you for your entire life, which is the reason why we solely accept clients ready to put sobriety and recovery as their top priority.  To learn more about our approach and get answers to common questions, please visit http://tharroshouse.com/faq/.