The effects of ice addiction

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social outcast dealing with the effects of ice withdrawal
Drug addiction
The Hader Clinic
The Hader Clinic
September 18, 2020
minute read

What ice does to your brain and body

Crystal methamphetamine, colloquially known as ice or meth, is a highly powerful stimulant. Consuming the drug, whether via ingestion, inhalation, or injection, speeds up messages between the brain and body. With this increase in speed comes an increase in dopamine — the chemical that regulates pleasure within the brain.

Enjoying a good meal delivers around 50 units of dopamine to the brain. At the end of the meal, we feel satiated for a time. After consuming ice, the brain is flooded with around 1300 units of dopamine. This flood delivers euphoria, confidence, and alertness. However, the experience usually does not end with positivity.

The Hader Clinic is here to help you break free from the cycles of ice addiction. Our inpatient treatment programs can help you find freedom from substance abuse.

[content_aside]Note: The information conveyed within this article has been compiled from The Hader Clinic's experience in treating ice addiction. Symptoms may vary from patient to patient. Because of this, we model our treatment plans to address facets of addiction concurrently, ensuring that all patients get the absolute best in support.[/content_aside]

Physical effects

Ice is demonised in the media. Public service announcements conjure up visions of aggressive, skeletal users with a range of physical problems. While some of these are common in users, others are not so easy to identify. Here are some of the hidden physical effects of ice:

  • Internal organ damage and cardiovascular problems
  • Infectious diseases and abscesses from sharing needles
  • Dental and other oral problems if smoked or ingested

One of the most common and unaddressed physical impacts of ice is completely hidden from view. Like other great chemical imbalances, including depression, ice addiction can completely restructure the brain. While the brain learns to accommodate the constant influx of dopamine, it restructures itself in irreparable ways. This can make recovery difficult, but not impossible.

Emotional and psychological effects

The emotional and psychological effects of ice addiction are also difficult to identify, and manifest themselves in different ways depending on the user and the habit. What's important to note is that they are all largely negative. No brain responds well to an influx of manufactured pleasure.

The emotional and psychological effects of ice addiction include:

  • Substance-induced mood disorders,  and mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Compulsion,  obsession, and paranoia
  • Fear, psychosis, and hallucinations

Unlike the stereotypical display of violence and irrationality in addicts, some symptoms are more common and harder to spot. Ice abuse can also lead to a sharp decrease in cognitive function while using the drug. For example, addicts often become disorientated and confused by the world around them. This can lead to further isolation and dependence, if not addressed.


Learn more about treatment for ice addiction


Social effects

Ice addiction comes with a range of negative social effects, largely related to how a user is inclined to withdraw when using the substance. The stigmatisation of ice encourages users to hide their abuse from family, friends, and loved ones. The habit remains contained to fellow users who continually enable and exacerbate the abuse of the drug.

The social effects of ice are easier to identify than physical and psychological manifestations. Changing behaviours and interactions with the world are noticeable, and can include:

  • Lack of interest in pastimes and other activities
  • Failing to show up for family commitments
  • Extended periods of absence, sometimes lasting days
  • Behavioural or performance issues at work or school

Spiritual effects

Ice addiction wreaks havoc on the soul. When we use the term soul, we don't mean a representation of consciousness, or spirit, or any other metaphysical manifestation of our being. In this sense, our soul is the image of ourself that we use to interact with the world around us. It is, in part, grounded in psychology and emotion. It extends beyond ourselves and informs our own perception of who we are.

The spiritual effects of ice addiction are more difficult to identify, but are no less impactful on a person. A wounded spirit is just as harmful to a person as a gaping wound. These can include:

  • Damaged perceptions and relationships with oneself
  • Destroyed self-confidence and a severe lack in self-worth

Finally, the most tragic spiritual effect of ice addiction is that of complete and utter dependence. Many users admit being unable to function without the substance. This goes beyond addiction. When a person's identity is so intrinsically bound to the pleasure derived from one substance, there's little they can do to escape.

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