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What Is Ice?: Signs of Ice Abuse

a person holding a bag of drugs showing signs of ice abuse

Ice is a purified crystalline form of methamphetamine that is also known as crystal meth. It can be manufactured using cold medicine and chemicals like battery acid, antifreeze, or drain cleaner. Ice is a central nervous system stimulant that can rapidly lead to dependence and addiction. Among the most common signs that someone is using ice are irritability, problems sleeping, tooth decay, and weight loss. A few of the symptoms of ice use are kidney damage, heart attacks, depression, anxiety, and intense cravings. It can be difficult to determine if someone is using ice if you don’t know what to expect. Meth use can lead to psychological issues, co-occurring disorders, and other problems in a person’s life.

Many people using ice don’t know who to turn to when they want to stop or where to go for help. Don’t give up hope if you suspect someone is using crystal meth or if you yourself are using crystal meth. There are a lot of people who want to help. Contact the meth addiction treatment programs at Vertava Health today at 844.470.0410 if you need treatment for yourself or someone you love. 

What Is Ice?

Ice first showed up in the 1980s and has since become popular in the United States, Europe, Mexico, and other countries worldwide. Ice is a central nervous system stimulant that can be smoked, diluted, intravenously injected, or ground into a powder and snorted. Ice is a purified crystalline form of methamphetamine and looks like a fragment of glass. The color of the drug can be clear, gray, brown, yellow, orange, or pink, depending on the ingredients.

How Is Crystal Meth Made?

Crystal meth is characteristic of large cities, but drug trafficking also brings it to rural areas. Make no mistake. Ice isn’t only manufactured in cities or other heavily populated regions; it can be produced in what is known as meth labs. These labs can be anything from a shed, van, or even a tent in the woods. A person cooks ingredients like pseudoephedrine (cold medicine), battery acid, antifreeze, or drain cleaner to make this substance.

Unfortunately, those preparing the drugs are often using them as well, so this can rapidly become a dangerous situation for society and the environment. Meth labs create a lot of toxic waste, which manufacturers likely do not dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner. Not only that, the accidental explosions meth labs can cause are often deadly to anyone nearby.

Understanding Ice Use

Methamphetamine is similar to amphetamine, used in medicine, and treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by stimulating the part of the brain and nerves that control impulsive behaviors. The Drug Enforcement Administration has categorized methamphetamine as a Schedule II drug because of its high potential for use. Ice is among the most potent and addictive drugs in the world. Abusing it can lead to serious psychological addiction and fast. It can have a person addicted after just one use.

Crystal meth is dangerous, addictive, and often deadly. Those who become addicted to meth might not be able to control the amount of the drug they’re using because, so frequently, addiction starts with an obsession and leads to compulsive use of a drug. So why do people use the drug? Methamphetamine raises the amount of dopamine in the brain, which affects body movement, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

No matter how you look at it, it’s important to remember that the people suffering from addiction weren’t always that way. They’re still your neighbors, brothers, mothers, teachers, or friends who happen to suffer from a chronic disease. They’re people who need as much love and support as they can get during their recovery.

Signs Someone Is Using Ice

Some people abusing meth may wind up on a binge and have hallucinations, become extremely antisocial, or even seem like there’s no hope for a cure. Even though addiction is defined as a chronic disease, there’s always hope for recovery. If you aren’t sure if someone is abusing meth, here are some of the signs to look for:

  • Weight loss as a result of decreased appetite
  • Decaying teeth, a condition that you may hear people refer to as meth mouth
  • Irritability and violent behavior
  • Problems sleeping
  • Hallucinations
  • Meth mites or the belief that there are microscopic parasites under the skin

Long-Term Effects and Symptoms of Ice Use

If the use of crystal meth persists, the drug can cause symptoms beyond the signs and short-term effects; some of which aren’t treatable. Ice use can lead to:

  • Intense cravings
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Stroke
  • Kidney damage
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Faster breathing or heart rate
  • Overdose, which could be fatal

When someone is physically dependent on crystal meth, they may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using or run out of the drug. These symptoms are both mentally and physically draining and can be quite painful. Some symptoms embody the long-term effects of crystal meth and may include psychosis, anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, and intense drug cravings.

Is There Treatment for Ice Addiction and Dependence?

There are many people who are addicted to crystal meth, and some of them never make it to treatment. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t try if given a chance. Some of them may never ask for help due to fear of rejection or the guilt and shame they feel. However, there’s hope for a full recovery and drug-free life with the right inpatient treatment. Choosing to go to rehab can save your life or the life of a person you care about, and there’s a treatment program that suits nearly everybody.

Behavioral therapies are some of the most effective methods for treating an addiction to ice. Furthermore, people come from different backgrounds, so an individualized treatment tends to be the most effective.

The most commonly employed methods for treating crystal meth addiction include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and contingency management. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can prevent relapse by helping a patient recognize unhealthy behavior patterns and situations that would normally evoke a desire to use drugs. Dialectical behavior therapy helps a patient learn to change behaviors by teaching acceptance skills such as: 

  • Mindfulness
  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotional regulation 
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

Contingency management uses a system of rewards and motivational incentives to teach a person healthy behaviors for a substance-free life.

Find Meth Addiction Treatment at Vertava Health Today

If you would like to learn more about a meth addiction treatment center that’s right for you, contact Vertava Health. When you contact us, you can confidentially speak to someone who understands crystal meth addiction and find a treatment that meets your needs. Call 844.470.0410 today to learn more about how we can help you or someone you love overcome an addiction to meth.