Ice Addiction Help & Treatment
Using ice leads to one of the most severe substance use disorders. It inevitably requires drug treatment.
This is because of how strong ice is and how accessing professional help is the only way of really understanding what you need to do to heal.
Get help for Ice addiction near you
Ice is an incredibly potent stimulant that causes both physical and mental health problems and as such requires intensive support and an approach that covers all angles.
Contact Rehab Recovery for advice on where you can go for help and treatment.
What is Ice?
It was, perhaps, made most famous by the TV show Breaking Bad which featured a teacher and student setting up an illegal lab to go into production together. Since then it’s been in public awareness.
Methamphetamine exists in powder form, whereas the crystal form of meth that looks like ice is – for obvious reasons – often called ice. It’s stronger than the powder form and is usually white. Sometimes meth has a brownish tint.
Ice is made in illegal labs using pseudoephedrine and ephedrine which are ingredients in cold medications.
They’re mixed with other chemicals to create meth. The chemicals used are extremely flammable and it’s seriously dangerous to actually make meth. The toxins it produces also destroy buildings and the surrounding land it’s made on.
It’s likely you’ve heard of ice or meth as it has a reputation as being one of the most dangerous addictive substances in the world due to its effects on the mind and body.
In the UK, crystal meth is a class A illegal drug. This means possession carries a seven-year sentence and production or supply up to life in prison.
How do people take Ice?
The main methods people use to take ice are to smoke, snort, or inject it. Sometimes it’s taken orally in pill form, although in this way, the high doesn’t last as long.
Ice can also be taken rectally and vaginally.
Users tend to inject ice as tolerance to it builds. Injecting the substance leads to a more intense and immediate high.
What are the effects of Ice?
There are many psychological and physical side effects that take place when a person is under the influence of ice, including:
- High energy
- Euphoric effects
- Feelings of invincibility
- Breathing faster
- A loss of appetite
- Grinding teeth
- Dilated pupils
- A faster, irregular heartbeat
- An increased temperature
- Experiencing mood swings
- Drug-induced psychosis
- Aggressive behaviour
About Ice addiction
A drug addiction stems from a psychoactive substance affecting the brain in such a way that the user enjoys and returns to it.
This is a type of brain “rewiring”. Once this happens, it changes a person’s ability to make sound decisions (i.e. to stop taking it).
As well as this, ice causes the release of dopamine (the chemical that reduces pain and helps people feel good), adrenaline, and norepinephrine.
These chemicals are linked to limbic system functioning. When released in high amounts, it can cause the user to experience severe highs and, of course, serious lows as the substance leaves the body.
Ice withdrawal symptoms
It has to be pointed out that due to how strong ice is, the below withdrawal symptoms aren’t “just” anything, all symptoms are felt at an extreme and distressing level:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Depression and suicidal ideation
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Sleeping for hours, even days
- Severe mood swings
- Severe anxiety and paranoia
- Being disorientated
Ice – the physical and psychological health risks
As with all psychoactive substances, long-term use leads to harmful side effects. Crystal meth is particularly known for how it affects a person’s physical appearance. Within a year a person can look completely destroyed.
Physical effects include:
- Skin sores
- “Meth mouth”, the substance leads to a dry mouth, erodes and rots teeth and causes gum disease
- Weight loss
- Health conditions linked to infections, vein problems, and heart issues
- Increased risk of HIV, hepatitis B and C.
- Abscesses and infections when injected into a muscle
- Heart problems
- Autoimmune diseases
Psychological effects include:
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Neurotoxicity leading to impaired cognitive functioning, memory loss, impaired motor control (development of “ticks”), and emotional and behavioural difficulties
- Disrupted sleep and insomnia
- Ice psychosis and hallucinations
- Violent behaviour
The effects of ice addiction also obviously include:
- Deterioration of familial bonds as relationships are impacted
- Loss of employment and housing
- Financial ruin
Ice use in the UK
As mentioned earlier, there are around 17,900 meth users in England and Wales. Interestingly, in 2013 it was reported that there were 17,000 adults who used ice. The numbers have hardly increased.
Where other stimulants have grown in use (in particular cocaine), meth hasn’t much. This is despite how much of a problem it is in other parts of the world such as Australia, Asia, and the Czech Republic.
The US is renowned for meth use where there are over a million users.
It’s thought that this might be linked to a lack of knowledge around how to produce it in the UK, the physical lack of space (i.e. in Australia you could drive for days without coming across a soul – that’s space were setting up an illegal lab is made easier), the availability of other stimulants (cocaine and ecstasy that are also high in purity) and the cost of ice in the UK (around £200 a gram).
Ice in the gay community
Polysubstance use of course introduces an increased overdose risk. Worryingly, the combination of these three drugs, often also in conjunction with alcohol puts the body under serious strain and can be fatal.
The signs you have an ice addiction
There are different signs that make it very clear that you’ve developed problematic or addictive ice use.
If you’re using more of the substance to feel an effect, then it’s likely you’ve developed a tolerance which is a clear indicator of addiction. Perhaps you’re thinking about meth every day, or need it to face the day, maybe you’re craving it; all this reveals a problem.
If your loved ones are concerned about your behaviour or how your personality and behaviours may be changing, then this is a sign that you require help.
Of course, on top of this, you’ll likely be experiencing money issues, problems at work and emotional and behavioural difficulties (which might have developed into a mental health disorder); all of these signs indicate that you would benefit from rehabilitation support.
What does an Ice overdose look like?
The risk of overdose with ice is high, especially when injected or mixed with other substances.
The main signs of overdose are:
- Chest pain and a racing heart
- Confusion and disorientation
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Loss of consciousness
What to do if someone has an Ice overdose
If you think someone has had an ice overdose then ensure you do the following:
- Call emergency services on 999 and explain you think the person is overdosing on methamphetamine
- Put the person into the recovery position, on their side, and ensure the airways are clear
- Stay with the person while they’re unwell and until emergency services arrive
Help and Treatment for Ice addiction
Ice leads to psychological dependence especially characterised by strong cravings. These can be especially difficult to get through alone at home and is why so many people repeatedly fail to quit without treatment.
Many people wonder whether beginning the recovery process is worth it, will they ever return to the person they used to be?
What can be encouraging in this instance is learning how brain imaging studies show the amazing ability of the brain to recover through abstinence. The dopamine transporters can be restored so long as abstinence is maintained.
While this is an excellent service for people with mild substance use, this doesn’t usually tend to be the case for ice users.
For ice users, a more intensive approach is necessary.
Rehab – inpatient treatment for Ice
Whatever form of therapy is required to heal the psychological and social issues you face, you’ll receive.
Therapies you’ll be treated with include:
- Counselling is where you’ll be encouraged by the staff member to face your true self and who that is separate from the addiction. You’ll be encouraged to think in new ways and to reach conclusions.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is provided so that you start to understand how addiction works; how your automatic thoughts drive your behaviours. The therapist will also teach you techniques to use so you can alter these thoughts and therefore change behaviours that lead towards a healthy lifestyle.
- Dialectical behavioural therapy originated in CBT but is for people who struggle to manage their emotions, especially useful in the context of meth use.
- Family therapy might be offered if there are difficulties for you at home and the family needs to learn healthier ways of talking to each other.
- Group sessions also take place every day and follow both 12 Step and SMART guidelines.
- Holistic therapies include equine, music, and art therapy, yoga, reiki, mindfulness and ear acupuncture. All of these are shown to improve a person’s capacity to heal. The everyday activities that take part in rehab often become a part of a person’s routine on returning home.
Medical detox for Ice
Due to how strong ice is, going through the detox process is important. At rehab, you’ll be looked after by medical staff who can ensure your cravings and mental health symptoms are minimised.
There are various medications that might be prescribed according to what the doctor deems to be appropriate for your symptoms.
Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety might be offered if you’re struggling with co-occurring disorders or severe symptoms caused by the meth. Naltrexone might also be administered in order to reduce cravings.
For those seeking a substance-free life but who are worried about the cost of treatment at a private clinic, it’s worth knowing that there are limited funded places through the NHS. These can be accessed through local NHS drug and alcohol services.
Get the help you need now
Ice addiction has devastating effects. While it isn’t hugely popular in the UK, there are groups of people who use it and quite often use it with other substances.
It doesn’t take long for a severe addiction to develop and this is notoriously difficult to overcome without professional input.
To take the first step towards a healthy life, you can contact a private rehab. This offers you the most efficient way of building a solid recovery with all the treatments you need.
If you’d like help finding out about rehab clinics that specialise in meth addiction, contact the Rehab Recovery team today.
What is the drug Ice?
Ice is crystal meth, also known as methamphetamine. It’s a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. In the UK, it’s a class A illicit drug.
Why is ice so addicting?
Not only is ice incredibly potent, it causes a release of dopamine, the brain chemical linked to pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation, making a person feel euphoric and invincible. This can make a person return to it. When this happens a few times, the behaviour starts to hard-wire into the brain so behaviour becomes compulsive.
How do I stop myself from craving ice?
Ice cravings are difficult. You can reduce the amount of ice you use and how often you do it. However, it’s important to seek professional support in order to learn the techniques that will help you manage cravings until they wane and subside.