The side effects that “ice” can cause, affect the brain and nervous system which can be extremely dangerous and even fatal so it is important to read and be aware of the warnings and potential risks before contemplating taking this substance.
Users of ice, experience pleasure, euphoria, and short-lived boosts of energy. Short-term side effects mainly relate to the downfall symptoms that appear as a result of a change in these sudden emotional surges.
However, if not familiar with the substance in question, it may be somewhat confusing to understand exactly what ice is.
Ice is, typically, the name used on the street for a drug called crystal meth, a variant of methamphetamine. For anyone not familiar with methamphetamine misuse, it is somewhat confusing to understand the properties of these drugs that can potentially harm and lead to very serious consequences when abused.
Methamphetamine is a man-made substance and is a highly addictive stimulant that can have serious and long-lasting effects on the body. Due to the prevalence of more efficacious prescribed stimulants available today, methamphetamine now has limited therapeutic use. It is only very rarely used for conditions such as severe obesity or for intractable Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Methamphetamine may be referred to as “meth” or “speed”.
Crystal methamphetamine, on the other hand, is an illegal drug with no other use or purpose than for abuse. It is a variant of methamphetamine and supposedly is more concentrated and purer than the powder version, “speed”. The word “ice” is used simply due to the appearance of the substance.
By understanding what ice is, it may be somewhat easier to understand the side effects and long-term effects of this substance.
What is Ice and How is Ice Used?
“Ice” is a commonly used term for crystal methamphetamine which is methamphetamine manipulated in the form and appearance of a rock-like crystal that resembles ice due to its semi-transparent white or bluish colour. It can also come as a white, brownish-coloured powder with a strong smell and bitter taste.
To use ice, the crystal meth is generally heated up and smoked by users through a glass pipe. Occasionally, but less frequently, the substance is crushed, injected, or snorted. Smoking the substance enters the bloodstream much faster and promotes swifter addiction.
Crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) is a stimulant that speeds up the messages exchanged between the brain and body. It is an illicit drug and is much stronger with more damaging side effects than methamphetamine in powder form, commonly known as “speed”.
Does Crystal Methamphetamine Have Names Other Than Ice?
Ice or crystal meth is perhaps the most widespread term to define this form of methamphetamine use. However, there are other terminologies to describe this specific drug use, some of which are recognised as shard, frosty, glass, rock, meth, and crystal to name a few. The naming of this substance tends to be a synonym for its crystal-like appearance and all terms are widely used and recognised on the street.
Can Ice Lead To Overdose?
When ice is taken improperly, it can lead to overdose, as crystal methamphetamine use is highly addictive.
The substance is a stimulant that impacts the central nervous system causing high levels of intense sensations of pleasure, euphoria, and increased energy. These effects don’t last long so the user can quickly become dependent because of their continuous need for the drug to satisfy their feelings. As tolerance to the drug increases, the need for higher doses becomes more frequent, which develops into an elevated risk of overdose.
Overdosing on ice produces severe and dangerous symptoms to the brain and nervous system; the most severe cases can lead to strokes, heart failure, and death.
Side Effects of Ice Use
It is alarming to learn that in 2020, an estimated figure of 150,000 individuals, some as young as 12 years old, had already tried the drug for the first time.
Although an individual may not necessarily develop an addiction to crystal meth use after using it for the first time, they probably will still experience the pleasant effects it is associated with, such as feeling pleasure, more energised, and alert. It can decrease appetite but seriously increases breathing and heartbeat patterns.
However, adverse effects after just one single dose can lead to physiological changes, predominantly increased body temperature, hyperthermia, and irregular heartbeat.
There are even greater risks linked to first-time use of crystal meth if any other type of drug has been mixed with other substances, such as alcohol.
Crystal meth use has tremendous health risks and is highly significant in leading to possible drug addiction and overdose.
Some of the other harmful side effects that the use of ice may manifest are:
- Fast heartbeat.
- Elevated blood pressure.
- Fast respiration.
- Increase in body temperature.
- Anxiety and irritability.
- Insomnia and irregular sleep patterns.
- Tremors and convulsions.
- Signs of aggression or violence.
- Stroke or heart attack.
The harmful side effects resulting from individuals using crystal meth increase the risk of seriously damaging physical and mental health with detrimental consequences.
Long-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Use
When ice has been taken for a long time, the short-term side effects increase with more intensity and can become much more complex.
Some of the signs that appear after long-term crystal meth abuse include:
- More persistent psychotic symptoms in the form of paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions.
- Elevated mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
- Confusion or abnormal behaviour.
- The sensation of something tickling or crawling on the skin.
- Body sores and scabs from users picking at their skin.
- Breathing and respiratory problems caused by smoke inhalation.
- Irreversible damage to blood vessels throughout the body, including major organs like the brain and heart.
- Coma and blackouts.
Severe and prolonged use of crystal meth can show the external damage caused to the body by signs of ageing; the skin loses elasticity and becomes dull, showing an unhealthy complexion and often developing acne.
Teeth are also affected and prematurely begin to decay and crack, which is a condition typically known as having a “meth mouth”.
If dependence on ice or methamphetamine-related addiction is not treated and left unattended without intervention, one of the most severe and dangerous outcomes of this drug use is sudden death from stroke or cardiac arrest.
Where Can I Get Help For Someone Who Uses Ice?
For those who work and are involved in drug treatment and rehabilitation, understanding the difference between meth and ice is helpful in addressing each form of methamphetamine dependence and the challenges they bring.
At Kembali Recovery Centre, we use this knowledge in our approach to assist anyone affected by these substances. Methamphetamine-related conditions present different challenges, and the effects may vary from one person to another, so recognising the cycle of dependence enables us to structure personalised treatment programmes.
We are fully committed to ensuring that every individual is given appropriate care and support to defeat addiction every step of the way.
If you or someone you love might be struggling with a methamphetamine-related problem and need to turn to someone who can help with professional guidance, don’t wait until it is too late. We can help you and guide you through the options available, and our friendly team will answer any questions you have, so call now and find out how we can help.