Can something that sounds as innocuous as ice be dangerous and addictive? Absolutely. What is known as ‘ice’ on the street is a dangerous and addictive drug known within law enforcement and the medical community as methamphetamine. Whether you call the drug ice, meth, crystal meth, crank or speed, you are taking your chances should you decide to use it.
If you use ice because you feel like you cannot control yourself, you may be addicted already or fast approaching addiction. In either case, we urge you to contact Addiction Helper for free advice and referrals. We are here to assist drug abusers and their families get their lives back on track through treatment and support.
Despite what your friends may have told you, methamphetamine is highly addictive. Its stimulant effects influence how the brain works to the extent that taking the drug for extended periods of time can result in tolerance. Tolerance is just one step from full-blown addiction. If you need to use more ice to feel good, tolerance is already in control.
Basics of Methamphetamine
Ice is a stimulant that directly affects the brain and central nervous system. People smoke the drug using a glass pipe, a hot light bulb, or by placing it on a piece of aluminium foil and heating it from underneath. This process is known as ‘chasing the white dragon’.
There are two properties of ice that make it especially attractive as a recreational drug: its long-lasting effects and its relatively cheap cost on the streets. These two reasons combined are responsible for the meth epidemic seen in major cities around the world. Is so cheap and easy to get that it is the drug of choice for many young people.
How Meth Addiction Works
Methamphetamine is especially addictive because of the way it works on the brain. At first use, an individual will experience tremendous feelings of pleasure heightened by an increase in energy and an elevated mood. The effects of meth last longer than other drugs, giving users more value for money, as it were. Yet this value is one of the drug’s most dangerous properties.
Science has demonstrated that the elevated feelings of pleasure induced by ice are the direct result of the production of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Herein lies the secret to meth’s tremendous power to create addiction.
Dopamine is responsible for triggering the pleasure receptors in the brain. The more dopamine present, the more intense the feelings of pleasure are. Because meth can cause dopamine levels to spike to relatively high levels (up to 12 times more than other pleasurable activities, including sex), its ability to create intense pleasure in a short amount of time is not matched by many other drugs. And once a person is hooked on those pleasurable feelings, stopping use of the drug becomes more difficult.
Signs and Symptoms of Ice Addiction
Like all other psychoactive substances, meth use manifests itself through a number of visible signs and symptoms. As a person gradually moves from casual use to addiction, these signs and symptoms become more pronounced.
To make it easier to understand how to identify meth addiction, we have broken down the signs and symptoms into two categories: signs of abuse and signs of addiction. We urge you to closely look for the signs and symptoms in yourself (if you are a meth user) or someone you love who might be using the drug.
The signs and symptoms of meth abuse are:
- unexplainable increase in focus and attention span
- abnormal lack of fatigue when others would be tired
- increased talkativeness
- increased respiration, heartbeat, and blood pressure
- decreased appetite
- hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature).
The signs and symptoms of meth addiction are:
- formication – the sensation of something crawling on the skin
- skin picking – as a result of formication, meth addicts often pick at their skin
- tooth decay – also known as ‘meth mouth’
- hair loss as a result of meth chemicals
- long-term psychological effects including psychosis, hallucinations, and paranoia
- emotional effects including aggressiveness, tendency toward violence, and mood swings
- cognitive problems including memory loss and confusion
- changes in brain structure that can result in repetitive motor activities.
Practically every ice user experiences hallucinations at some point. Those who are addicted routinely experience auditory and visual hallucinations that they describe as frightening. What must be understood is that long-term meth abuse can lead to permanent and serious brain damage. Overdose can cause a stroke, coma, lung and kidney damage, and even death.
Treating Ice Addiction
Methamphetamine is a scary drug that does scary things to people who use it. As dangerous and frightening as ice is, it can be successfully treated with a combination of detox and rehabilitative therapies. Detox should always be conducted by trained professionals in a medically supervised environment to avoid the dangers associated with withdrawal. Addiction Helper can help you locate a private rehab clinic offering medically supervised detox.
Detox must be completed if the ice user is to overcome his or her addiction completely. Following successful detox, patients are transitioned to psychotherapeutic treatments that can include outpatient counselling and other therapies.
We typically recommend residential rehab at a private clinic for meth users battling addiction. Residential treatment provides concentrated care from experts in the field, along with a safe and distraction-free environment that is most conducive to restoring wellness. We can help you find a residential clinic in your local area ready to help with meth addiction.
If you are in ice user, we urge you to get the help you need to stop, right now. Please do not throw your life away by taking a dangerous drug that can only provide momentary pleasure. Here at Addiction Helper, our fully trained and experienced counsellors are standing by to speak with you right now. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner we can help you get into a treatment programme and take your life back.