The Physical Effects of Ice Addiction

There are many consequences, both immediate and long term, that come with the regular use of Ice. Ice, Crystal, Tina, Meth, Krank, all are names for a certain neurotoxin;

The very powerful stimulant called methamphetamine. When taken, ice will give the user an instant elevation and heightened awareness, a sense of euphoria, or a blissful warmth. And these are just some of it’s main effects.

There are, however, many negative and life threatening side effects that arise due to how damagingly methamphetamine works in the body, and how heavily the user pursues this high. Understanding both the immediate and long term effects that ice has on the brain and on behavior will also help us understand how to best treat the addiction and begin to heal the body and the mind.

Short-Term Effects

When absorbed, methamphetamine or ice, will signal the body to release an elevated amount of dopamine to the brain. Dopamine serves a very important role in our central nervous system and works closely with the reward and motivation pathways of our brain as well as with some motor function. When we are feeling good inside after eating something sweet, or happily receive a compliment, or become excited to play a game, dopamine will be involved.

When using meth, it is the influx of dopamine that creates a flood of sensation and often a pleasurable feeling which comes immediately after smoking, snorting, or shooting the drug. However, some users will experience anxiety, aggression, discomfort, irritability, or paranoia.

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A Tool For Recovery

The transition away from a life of impulse and feeding unhealthy desires, into a lifestyle of self discipline and thoughtful action is not an impossible journey but it is a most difficult one. To make such a journey we need support and we need tools, tools that help raise our self awareness and give us confidence in times of weakness. There is an old acronym familiar to those in recovery which serves as a helpful reminder that, when we find ourselves vulnerable and battling temptations, we are often ignoring some very basic human needs.

H.A.L.T.

Each of these letters represents a very natural human condition and a high-risk situation which can lead to us inviting a harmful thing back into our lives.

Hungry: When we are hungry our bodies are trying to communicate a vital need that requires attention, “nourish me”, it says. Hunger is not be confused with feeling like having a snack, it is the deeper, more persistent, voice that craves good healthy foods and water. Our brains and body can only function using the nutrients found in the food and drink that we put in. For example, when we eat too much sugar and not enough proteins, vitamins, and minerals, our ability to focus and to think clearly soon suffers. Many drugs and alcohol are appetite suppressants and when we stop our hunger returns. Without enough hydration our energy level will sink and we can begin to resort to our quick fixes or pick me ups, in order to quiet the unsatisfied voice of hunger.

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Am I Addicted?

This question can be asked by the CEO of a large corporation, an unemployed parent of five, or a freshman in high school. Addiction does not judge us by our age, race, or status and substance abuse does not spare those who give it room to work in their lives. If we are honest, and remain self-aware, we may address the issue early and make adjustments now that will only become more difficult if we wait. In reality many of us need to be approached multiple times by others and forced to reflect before asking ourselves: Am I an addict? How do I even know if I’m addicted?

The way to identifying if we are dependent is through a dialog of total honesty. We must honestly assess to what degree we choose our substance over everything else in our lives, particularly when our relationships, job, and health begin to suffer. One place to start is with this valid and easy self-test.

The CAGE Test for Alcohol Addiction

  1. Have you ever felt that you should Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have you ever felt Annoyed when people have commented on your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty about your drinking?
  4. Have you ever felt that you needed an Eye opener, a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?

Though many self-test questionnaires were designed to evaluate alcohol addiction, they are easily adapted for other addictions.

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