Table with addictive substances under black light

What Are the Most Addictive Substances?

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that more than 21 million Americans aged 12 and older have had a substance abuse disorder. Drug and alcohol addictions are common enough that if you haven’t experienced it yourself, someone you know most likely has.

Learning more about what substances are the most addictive can help you avoid developing an addiction problem in the future. If you are worried you might already have an addiction, this information might help you realize when it is time to get help.

What Is a Substance Addiction?

A substance addiction is a disease that impacts your brain and behavior. It is characterized by an inability to control your use of the substance. Addictive substances activate the pleasure center of the brain, which can cause someone to continue to use that substance repeatedly to get that experience or feeling.

What Are the Most Addictive Substances?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse regularly conducts studies and analyzes data regarding addictive substances. It has found that the top five most addictive substances include the following:

1.      Alcohol

Alcohol is a legal substance and is one of the most abused. It enhances mood by altering dopamine levels, however it also works as a central nervous system depressant.

2.      Heroin

Heroin is an illegal drug that works by activating opioid receptors in a person’s brain, which blocks feelings of pain, increases feelings of relaxation, and induces a sensation of euphoria with the way that it impacts dopamine levels.

3.      Nicotine

Nicotine is another legal substance that many people are addicted to. It triggers the brain’s reward center, which causes people to continue to use it and eventually become addicted.

4.      Methamphetamines

Methamphetamines are powerful stimulant drugs that cause a euphoric high. It is a particularly dangerous type of drug because tolerance develops quickly.

5.      Cocaine

Cocaine works by flooding the brain with dopamine, which is connected with pleasure. The effects are short-lived, so it is a substance that can quickly become addictive.

Trying to Stay Sober?

Tharros House is a sober living home that can help you live a sober life more enjoyably and effortlessly. Contact us today to learn more.

Sober community with hands on top of each other

How Can My Community Keep Me Sober?

Becoming and remaining sober can be challenging, but it is genuinely worth it in so many ways. By staying sober, you can begin to rebuild former relationships that may have suffered throughout your addiction and become healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. Your community can also have a significant impact on helping you stay sober.

Find Support Groups and Meetings in Your Community

Support groups and meetings are designed to help former addicts come together to share stories, advice, and support. There are many different types of support groups, so you are sure to find one that fits your needs.

Some support groups are religion-based, so if that is something important to you, it can be an excellent way to get started finding others like you in your community. Other support groups are activity focused. These types of support groups are great for people who share similar hobbies, and it is an easy way to make new friends with the same interests as you.

Sober Living Communities

Another way that your community can help you to stay sober is to move into a sober living home. A sober living home is geared toward individuals who have been sober for a while and want to remain sober while starting to get their life back on track. Many people living in sober living homes have begun searching for jobs or have even started to work again.

These living communities are a great resource because you can live with other people who have gone through similar struggles as you have. It can be a place for support and encouragement, and even true life-long friendships. Many sober living communities also have group activities on a regular basis, such as game nights and other entertaining activities. The can not only be fun, but also work to build lasting connections with others.

Tharros House is a sober living home in the Boston, Massachusetts area. We are a sober living community that offers our residents many benefits, such as onsite support groups, group activities, and more. If you are thinking about joining a sober living community, we would love to speak with you to help you decide if we’re a good fit. Give us a call today to learn more about what Tharros House has to offer.

Three people excited about living a sober life

Relapse Prevention Tips

Although you are committed to sobriety, you should prepare for some of the challenges ahead. Unfortunately, relapses are a relatively common setback. But just because relapses can happen—it doesn’t mean that it must happen to you.

1. Understand the Signs of a Relapse

One of the most critical steps you can take to avoid a relapse is to educate yourself on the signs of it. Knowing what to look for can help you recognize when you need help. Some common signs to watch for include:

  • Becoming defensive
  • Feelings of anger
  • Poor sleeping and eating habits
  • Isolating yourself
  • Mood swings
  • Lying about your behaviors or feelings
  • Spending time with friends with who you used to drink alcohol with
  • Fantasizing about drinking alcohol
  • Thinking about or planning to try using alcohol or drugs again in the future.

2. Fill Up Your Free Time

Another thing that you can do to help avoid a relapse is to find fun hobbies and activities to fill up your free time. When you are involved in many other things and have additional responsibilities, it makes it hard to slide back into old habits.

3. Continue to Attend Meetings and Support Group Sessions

After you have been sober for some time, you might start thinking that you don’t need to attend meetings and support group sessions that help sober individuals stay that way. Try to resist the urge to give up these meetings and support groups—as they can be helpful for long-term sobriety.

You can also consider a sober living home, where you reside with other sober people similar to you. Tharros House is a great place to continue living a sober lifestyle. Give us a call today to find out if it might be the right fit for you.

Asian couple reading a book in nature

How Do I Deal with Cravings as They Arise?

After you make the decision to stop drinking, it is common to continue to experience cravings for alcohol for some time. Also, after committing to a sober lifestyle, you might be more aware of your cravings since you have made a conscious decision to avoid alcohol.

To remain sober, you will have to face your cravings head-on and stay strong. Knowledge is power, so one crucial step you can take moving forward is to plan for how you will handle cravings when they pop up.

What Causes Alcohol Cravings?

Cravings often occur as a response to a trigger, which can be automatic. Triggers can be different from person to person. Common triggers for many individuals include stress and specific emotions and memories of something associated in some way with alcohol.

People who experience cravings for alcohol often have both internal and external triggers. Internal triggers can include emotions, thoughts, memories, or even physical sensations that give you the urge to consume alcohol. External triggers include environmental cues that you associate with alcohol—such as places, people, certain situations, and the time of day (such as the end of a workday).

Managing Cravings

While cravings for alcohol can be intense, the good news is that they often can pass after a few minutes go by. When you experience cravings for alcohol, it can help to remind yourself that the craving will soon disappear. Positive distractions are another excellent way to manage your cravings. Reading a book, watching a funny show, and going for a walk are all positive distractions that can help.

Tharros House Sober Living

The early stages of sobriety bring many challenges. One thing you can do to have a better chance at remaining sober is to live in a sober living home. Tharros House is a sober living home in Massachusetts that has helped many residents continue their sober journey. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help.

Woman in pink exercise gear stretching her arm.

How Can I Listen to What My Body is Telling Me About My Health?

If you pay close attention, you can catch certain signs about your health by listening to cues from your body.

One thing to keep in mind is that every person is different, so it is essential to learn your own body cues. Various health indicators can show up in different ways from person to person.

How to Listen to Health Cues from Your Body

The first way to make sure that you are ready to listen to your body’s cues about your health is to make sure that you know what is normal for you.

To get used to your baseline health indicators, you can keep a journal of how you are feeling daily. You don’t have to limit yourself to writing down just physical changes—tracking your emotions and mental health is beneficial, too.

There are many apps out there that you can use to log how you are feeling each day. Of course, writing things down in a notebook or journal works too.

By tracking your health and any changes each day, over time, you will have a good understanding of your general health and well-being, and you will be able to notice small changes that could be significant.

If you notice something unusual, consider doing a little research to clarify or isolate your concerns. While online research is certainly not a substitute for medical care, it can give you a little more clarity on the topic and allow you to explain your concerns to your doctor better.

Listening to your body and paying attention to any changes is crucial for your health, especially as you move forward in your sobriety journey.

A sober living home facility can be beneficial in many ways. If you are interested in learning more about this option, contact us today at Tharros House.

Woman relaxing with a cup of coffee

Relaxation Techniques for Times of Stress

One way you can help manage your feelings of stress is to begin practicing relaxation techniques. When you think about relaxing, the first thing that comes to mind might be enjoying a hobby or experiencing peace of mind. However, there is much more to it than that.

What Does Relaxation Do for Me?

Relaxation is a process that allows you to decrease the amount of stress on your body. By incorporating relaxation techniques as a daily part of your life, you can learn to cope with everyday stressors better. Additionally, relaxation techniques are useful in helping you manage long-term stress or health issues caused by stress—such as heart disease.

Relaxation Techniques to Work On

Many different relaxation techniques can be effective, so it is vital to find the right ones for you. Below are some standard relaxation techniques.

  • Visualization – To use this relaxation technique, simply begin visualizing mental images that allow you to imagine a peaceful and calm setting. It is helpful to sit somewhere comfortable and quiet and to close your eyes.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation – When using the progressive muscle relaxation technique, you begin by tensing and then slowly relaxing each group of muscles. This process helps you become more aware of physical sensations and learn to distinguish between tensing and relaxing.
  • Autogenic Relaxation – With this relaxation technique, you will use both awareness of your body and visual imagery to reduce your stress levels. Simply repeat phrases or words in your mind that help you relax and reduce muscle tension. For example, think about being somewhere peaceful and focus on breathing in and out slowly and lowering your heart rate.

Relaxation techniques are a simple way you can work on reducing your stress levels.

Tharros House

Tharros House is a sober living community in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Contact us today to learn more about what we have to offer.

Addiction to drinking and gambling in Massachusetts

What Constitutes Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary chronic disease of brain reward, memory, motivation, and related circuitry, which is reflected in an individual pursuing reward or relief by substance abuse. Addiction to nearly any substance can have a substantial negative impact on your life and the lives of those around you.

What Are the Basic Characteristics of Addiction?

Multiple unhealthy emotional responses or behaviors typically characterize addiction. Some examples of these behaviors and emotional responses include:

  • Impairment in behavioral control
  • Dysfunctional emotional responses
  • Cravings
  • Inability to abstain from using a substance or engaging in an activity
  • Diminished recognition of interpersonal and behavioral problems.

Additionally, substance abuse and dependence can cause impaired perception, learning, impulse control, and judgment. Because of these effects, individuals who suffer from addiction can have a hard time recognizing the extent of their problems. When someone with an addiction seeks out help, it is often due to close family or friends encouraging them to get help for their addiction, rather than seeking help on their own accord.

Signs of Addiction

If you believe that you or someone you care about is suffering from an addiction, there are some signs and indicators that you should be aware of that can help you move forward with seeking help. These signs include:

  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
  • Excessive time spent recovering from the usage of alcohol or drugs
  • Substantial focus on pursuing addictive substances
  • Adverse physical and emotional consequences from substance use
  • Worsening preoccupation with drugs or alcohol
  • Lack of desire to give up problematic behavior

Tharros House

For individuals who have suffered from an addiction in the past and are now living a sober life, moving into a sober living home can offer many benefits. Contact us today at Tharros House to find out if our sober living residence is a good fit for you.

Man screaming in anger after being triggered

What Kinds of Triggers May Cause an Addiction Relapse?

If you are recovering from an addiction to any substance, it is crucial that you become aware of common triggers that could potentially lead to a relapse. By understanding what could trigger or lead to a relapse, you can make sure to avoid these triggers so that you can continue living a sober life.

What Is a Trigger for Addiction?

Any social, emotional, or environmental situation that brings up memories of drug or alcohol use in the past or encourages you to revisit this time period in your life is considered a trigger. Triggers can stir up strong emotions that may give you the impulse to go back to using a substance that you formerly abused.

Although experiencing a trigger does not necessarily mean that you will relapse as a result, triggers can make it more challenging to resist the cravings that they produce. When you are happily living a sober life, experiencing a trigger event is an unwanted distraction.

What Common Triggers Can Cause a Relapse?

One of the most common triggers that can lead to an addiction relapse is stress. It is difficult to live a life completely void of any stress, so if stress is a trigger for you, it can be helpful to find ways to strengthen your coping skills. With stronger coping skills, the stress you experience in life may not have such a negative impact.

Other triggers that you should be aware of when it comes to addiction relapse include:

  • Certain feelings and emotions, such as feeling angry, tired, or lonely
  • Social isolation
  • Romantic relationships under certain circumstances
  • Situations in which drugs or alcohol are readily available
  • Mental or physical illness
  • Moving to a new residence
  • Changing jobs
  • Other people, particularly those with whom you used to abuse substances

Tharros House

If you live a sober lifestyle and are actively working to avoid triggers and setbacks to maintain your sobriety, a sober living home might be the right choice for you. Give us a call today to learn more about Tharros House and find out if we can help.

Woman laying down smoking in Massachusetts

What Are the Best Ways to Quit Smoking?

Many people decide to quit smoking once they realize the negative impact of the habit on their overall health. Fortunately, once a smoker does quit, there are significant health benefits that take place almost immediately.

Why Is Smoking So Addictive?

Smoking is an addictive habit due to the active ingredient in tobacco called nicotine.

When you smoke cigarettes, your brain quickly adapts to the nicotine, causing you to crave more and more of the chemical to feel the way you did after your first cigarette.

Over time, your brain begins to predict when you are ready to smoke a cigarette, then you have one, and then the cycle repeats again.

How to Quit Smoking, Once and For All

It probably won’t come as a surprise that the most challenging days of quitting smoking are the first few days.

Although it probably will not be easy to get through the first couple of days after quitting, it is essential to stick with it.

One helpful way to quit smoking is to choose a day and commit to being done with smoking that day and beyond. Having an end date that you commit to will make the process feel final and give you a better chance at success.

Another way to quit smoking is to make a list of all of the reasons you want to stop smoking and write down all of the benefits you will gain once you achieve your goal. Having a plan written out in front of you with reminders of why you are quitting in the first place can help you focus on your goal and move forward.

You may also want to consider nicotine replacement patches, gum, or prescription medications that can help curb cravings. These options can be extremely helpful.

Tharros House

Tharros House in Massachusetts is a sober living home facility where individuals can live and work on maintaining their sobriety in a collaborative atmosphere. Give us a call today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

MRI scan of the brain

What is Addiction?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction or substance use disorder is a complex condition in which someone uses a substance in an uncontrolled manner despite harmful consequences.

Individuals who suffer from addiction focus on using a particular substance (or multiple substances), such as illicit drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, to the point where their ability to function in day-to-day life becomes impaired.

People addicted to a substance continue to use the substance, even when they know it is causing problems.

Why Do People Become Addicted to Substances?

Not everyone who tries drugs, alcohol, or tobacco will become addicted to those substances.

While no one knows exactly what causes someone to become addicted to a substance, we know that there may be changes in the brain structure and function of someone using certain substances, which may contribute to an addiction.

The changes in brain structure and function cause people to have intense cravings for a particular substance and may also lead to changes in personality and behaviors. In fact, brain imaging studies have been conducted that show changes in the brain area related to decision making, judgment, memory, learning, and behavioral control.

When someone repeatedly uses or abuses a substance, they may change the way that their brain functions. These changes can be immediate (during the intoxication period), or the changes may occur at a later time.

Intoxication symptoms differ for each substance, so the specific effects vary depending on the substance being abused.

Tharros House and Sobriety

When a person decides to conquer their addiction and live a sober lifestyle, a sober living facility can be a helpful step in this process.

Living among others facing the same challenges as you can be beneficial in many ways. Contact us today at Tharros House to find out more about how we can help you continue with your sober lifestyle.