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.

Cigarettes of an addict

How Do I Know If I Am Addicted to Something?

It can be difficult to recognize when something has become an addiction.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is defined as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s memory, motivation, and reward functions.

A person with an addiction will experience feelings of craving that substance. In many cases, those with addictions may ignore other parts of their life in order to support or fulfill these addictive needs.

What Are Common Signs of an Addiction?

There are some commonly recognized signs of addiction that everyone should be aware of. These signs include:

  • Lack of control
  • Inability to stop engaging in the behavior or to stay away from a substance
  • Physical effects such as withdrawal or requiring higher dosages
  • Ignoring risk factors like sharing needles
  • Decreased socialization such as ignoring relationships or abandoning commitments

Typically, a person with an addiction will exhibit one or more of the above signs. The degree of intensity for each of these signs tends to depend on how long they have been battling the addiction.

Recognizing Addiction

When a healthy person notices a negative behavior, in many cases, they are able to get rid of it. However, this is not the case with someone who has an addiction.

Someone with an addiction will often find ways to justify and continue their behavior rather than admit that they have a problem. With real addiction, if it is left untreated, it can increase a person’s risk of illness or develop into a debilitating habit.

If you become aware that you are dealing with an addiction, it is essential to seek help right away.

After you have begun the recovery process, you can also look into sober living homes such as the Tharros House to live in to retain your sobriety.

Man holding blank card, not identifying with his addiction.

Identifying with Your Addiction

An individual’s identity, or self-image, constantly adapts to the environment, rather than just remaining static.

Most people are able to incorporate multiple different identities into their daily life. For example, someone may have a work identity in the workplace, along with a different identity while they are relaxing with friends and family.

Since identity is never fixed, as an adult, a person may have an evolved identity or self-image from their teen years.

The Identity of An Addict

People who fall into an addiction tend to adopt a certain new type of identity. Their new self-image is typically influenced by other substance abusers.

An addict identity may involve different beliefs, ideas, behaviors, and motivations, such as:

  • The priority in life is getting drunk or high
  • A belief that substance abuse causes people to be more creative
  • A distrust of addiction professionals
  • The idea that sober people are boring
  • A higher tolerance for sexual promiscuity than the average person
  • A willingness to use dishonesty to achieve a goal
  • An “us against them” mentality used to bond with other groups of addicts

How to Escape the Addict Identity

When an addict decides to become sober and to recover from their addiction, part of the process involves shedding the negative aspects of the addict identity. A recovering addict will often need to avoid friends and acquaintances with whom they used to drink or do drugs. These individuals will only pull the recovering addict back into their former identity.

To escape the addict identity you may decide what type of person you would like to become, and then move forward with building those positive personality traits.

The environment that you are in can have a huge effect on your identity. Therefore finding a sober living home can be one of the best steps to changing your life.

Contact the Tharros House today to learn more about how a sober living home may benefit you in your recovery.

sobriety statistics beach Massachusetts

Statistics on Sobriety

While the goal for those recovering from addiction is to maintain their sobriety, it is unfortunately not always the case that they are able to do so the first time they attempt recovery, or at all. Luckily there are many different programs and approaches to recovery.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism—Study on AA Members

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol performed a long-term study on the success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)members. The study focused on three groups, which included formally treated,informally treated, and untreated participants who suffered from an addiction to alcohol. After the one-year and three-year follow-ups, the results indicated that of those who entered into the AA program by their own choice, about half of them were sober. Only about a quarter of individuals who chose formal treatment were sober at these same check points.

The study concluded that individuals with alcohol issues who participated in AA along with formal treatment were more likely to be abstinent from alcohol between years one and three. Another follow-up was done at the eight-year point. At this follow-up, participants had a higher rate of abstinence if they participated in both treatments. The conclusion of this study was that AA attendance did positively impact recovery.

Additional Statistics on Sobriety

Another study found that only approximately one third of people who become abstinent from drugs or alcohol for less than one year actually remain abstinent. Once someone with an issue with addiction achieves a full year of sobriety, they have about a 50% chance of relapsing. Additionally,if a former addict is able to reach five full years of sobriety, the chance of a relapse is actually less than 15%.

For a sober individuals recovering from addiction, the Tharros House is an excellent sober living facility that can provide recovery support.

Various types of addiction

Different Types of Addiction

When someone thinks of addiction, they typically are thinking of alcohol or other drugs such as heroin, marijuana, or cocaine.  However, there are many other drugs that are commonly abused that may not immediately come to mind when one first thinks of addiction.  Staying up-to-date on your knowledge of side effects and long-term effects of commonly abused drugs can help you if you find yourself in a position of needing to help a loved one who may be suffering from addiction.

Stimulants                                                                  

Simulants are a drug that causes levels of nervous activity in the body to rise.  These drugs have the effect of increasing mental alertness; however, they also can cause an elevated heart rate along with elevated blood pressure.  Common withdrawal symptoms include depression and sleep disturbances.  Long-term abuse of stimulants can lead to paranoia and potentially even heart failure.

Depressants

Depressants cause the body’s central nervous system to slow down.  Depressants have the effect of making the user feel calm and relaxed.  Individuals with anxiety or with insomnia tend to be the ones who are more likely to abuse these drugs.  In addition, depressants can lower a person’s inhibitions and affect their decision-making ability.  Some of the other negative effects of depressants include drowsiness, poor coordination, and slurred speech.  Abuse over time can lead to respiratory issues and liver damage.

Opiates

Opiates are often prescribed to individuals suffering from illness or injury to treat pain.  These drugs promote positive feelings coupled with blocking pain receptors in the person’s brain.  Since a higher dosage continues to be needed in order to result in the same positive effects, overdosing is common.  A consequence of overdosing may be cardiac or respiratory arrest.  Withdrawal from opiates is difficult, with those experiencing opiate withdrawal often reporting symptoms of fever, chills, insomnia, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These three categories of drugs are some of the most commonly abused drugs.  If you or someone you know is going through drug withdrawals or dealing with addiction, it is important to seek help right away.