Ice Addiction Treatment

The Facts About Ice Addiction.

One of the most devasting and dangerous drugs to blight the lives of many in Australia is crystal meth, more commonly known as ‘ice’.

Whilst the frozen water we call ice can has many positives, including its use in preserving food, we can categorically state that the drug called ice could not in any sense be considered something positive and far from being a preservative, it is almost without equal as a destructive force in the lives of those who are addicted to it.

What Is Ice?

Ice, also known as crystal meth, is a methamphetamine drug. Other names you may have heard for methamphetamine drugs include speed, shard, glass, tina and gak. Methamphetamine drugs can come in three different forms, namely, base, powder, and crystal. Crystal is the form in which ice usually comes.

The reason it is called ice is that in its crystal forms the drug looks like tiny pieces or shards of glass, which to some also resemble small pieces of ice. Ice is a drug that can be manufactured from several different substances which can include, household chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, acetone, red phosphorous and iodine crystals. In most cases it will contain no organic ingredients, meaning it is an entirely synthetic drug.

How Is Ice Taken?

When ice is manufactured, the end product usually appears as a brown-white crystalline powder. Its smell is strong, and it usually tastes very bitter. Users can consume ice in one of four ways, and each method of taking it has variable times for the first effects to be felt as follows:

  • Swallowing – 15 – 20 minutes
  • Snorting – 3 – 5 minutes
  • Injecting – 15 – 30 seconds
  • Smoking – Immediately

Due to them having much faster reaction times, most ice users will opt to either smoke or inject it. Once the effects are felt, they can last up to 12 hours.

Ice Addiction: What Happens When You Take Ice

The process that takes place within the body when ice is taken, is increased levels of a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine being released. Dopamine is associated with several physiological and psychological reactions within the body, including motor functions, reward, motivation, and most applicable to ice, pleasure.

When someone takes ice, the pleasure centres within the brain are activated, and usually, this leads to unnatural amounts of dopamine being produced. This can lead to a mixture of reactions and sensations within the individual, including:

  • Feelings of invincibility
  • Long periods of feeling happy
  • Sustained periods of euphoria
  • Having lots of energy
  • A sense of mental clarity
  • High levels of confidence
  • Increased libido

As for some of the immediate and noticeable physical reactions and side effects that can take place, these include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Increased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating excessively
  • Grinding teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling itchy

Note, these are just the immediate physical signs that can occur having taken ice. There are far greater physical risks and complications that can occur as a result of taking ice for prolonged periods, which are highlighted further on.

Another facet of ice’s effect on users is that the level to which any of the above is felt by the individual will depend upon one or more of the following factors:

  • Physical size
  • General health
  • State of mind
  • Amount taken
  • Strength of the dose
  • Reaction to ice (e.g. long-term users will react differently to first-time users)
  • Mixing ice with other drugs
Ice Addiction

Coming Down From Taking Ice

Given the reactions and feelings that someone experiences when they take ice, it goes without saying that is often described as a ‘high’. As with any drug-induced high, there is the inevitable ‘coming down’ which produces many unpleasant feelings and sensations.

  • Being irritable
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling low
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizzy spells
  • Being on a ‘downer’
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

What is worse for anyone coming down from having taken ice, is that these symptoms are not done and gone within an hour or so as they can last for several days. The risk then is that the person uses another drug to try and cope with what they are experiencing, taking them on what can become a cycle of dependence on uppers and downers, all fuelled by, and reliant upon, drugs.

Immediate Serious Complications From Ice

Many people consider the dangers of drugs, including ice, to be applicable only after long-term use of them. However, whilst long term use of drugs can do irreparable damage to one’s health, some extremely serious and potentially fatal complications can occur as soon as the first time a person uses ice.

  • Ice can cause a person’s body temperature to rise dramatically, and if this reaches extreme levels, the risk of them losing consciousness is real. In extreme cases, a high temperature can be fatal.
  • Paranoia can manifest itself in many ways whilst someone is under the influence of ice, and the riskiest one is when the individual tries to self-harm themself during a paranoid episode.
  • A racing heart and difficulty breathing are common symptoms, however, these become extremely dangerous for anyone who might have an underlying, or undiagnosed, heart problem.
  • We have mentioned passing out is a risk when high body temperature occurs, but it is also a symptom that can occur at any time if ice has been taken. If a person is driving, operating machinery, or in a situation where a loss of consciousness is a danger, not only are they risking their own life, but the lives of others.

Overdosing From Ice

If the previous section highlighting problems from ice where not enough to scare anyone from trying it, here is one scenario that should be. We are, of course, talking about overdosing on ice. Overdosing on ice can occur in one of three ways; 1) Taking an excess amount of ice, 2) Taking a dose of ice from an extremely strong batch, and 3) Mixing ice with other drugs.

As you will see, some of the symptoms are similar to the so-called normal use of ice, but if the person in question does not get medical help quickly, these can escalate, and tragically, the person can die in these circumstances.

Heart Palpitations: Even for those with an otherwise healthy heart, palpitations carry a high risk. Ultimately, they can lead to a cardiac arrest and without emergency treatment, death can occur as a result.

Breathing Difficulties: Again, something that many ice users can experience, but in the worst cases, the ice user can find it almost impossible to get a breath. This can lead to them becoming unconscious, with all the risks that can accrue, and in the worst cases, it could be fatal.

Fits And jerking: If someone has taken large amounts of ice to the extent they have overdosed, their body may be seen to be jerking excessively. In the worst cases, they can have an outright fit which is a serious state that requires medical attention as quickly as possible.

Apart from the symptoms outlined above, any person who is overdosing on ice could experience a heart attack, stroke, or other forms of organ failure, such as kidney failure. Whilst these may not always lead to death, the fact that they can, especially without medical attention, is why ice is considered such an extremely dangerous drug.

Long Term Problems That Ice Can Create

So far we have highlighted some of the immediate impacts that ice can have on someone, but now we are going to focus on the harm that ice can do to someone who is a long-term user of the drug.

Memory Loss or Damage: As well as some loss of memory, and difficulty remembering, another symptom ice users can experience is damage to their episodic memory which leads them to continually relive events that have occurred in their past.

Psychosis: ‘Ice psychosis’ can manifest itself as violent outbursts, unpredictable moods, hallucinations, and paranoia.

Depression: Many ice users experience depression, and in the worst cases, they can have suicidal thoughts

Anxiety:  Ice users can show increasing signs of nervousness and anxiety without any apparent trigger.

Weight Loss: This often occurs due to the person having a lack of appetite which is induced by them taking ice.

Physical Problems: Long term use of ice can lead to several physical and medical issues ranging from minor to life-threatening. These include:

  • Dental problems
  • Signs of aging
  • Increased susceptibility to colds or flu
  • Stiff muscles
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • Breathlessness
  • Stroke

Finally, what many consider the worst consequence of using ice over the long term is that an individual becomes addicted to it. This dependence upon ice means that they remain in a seemingly endless spiral of highs when taking ice, and lows when they come down. Thankfully, there are ways to end that vicious cycle, thanks to the treatments and therapies available at Sivana Rehab for those dependent upon ice.

Treatment For Ice Dependency At Sivana Rehab

Apart from being a safe and affordable environment in which to recover from dependency on ice, Sivana Rehab is a fully supervised rehabilitation centre that provides the support and medical care our clients need. We do not judge our clients but instead tend to both their physical and emotional states during their recovery which will invariably create difficult moments for them as they withdraw from their dependency on ice.

All our fully trained therapists are here not just for the physical treatment of those who come to us, but the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of them too. Each client is given tailored support within our treatment program which has unparalleled success in enabling long-term recovery from ice addiction.