Signs of Ice Addiction

Do you know how to read the signs of ice addiction?

Maybe you have started to notice a family member or friend is behaving out of character? Something is different, but you’re not sure what it is? You might start to suspect that they may be under the influence of a drug, or combination of drugs. The first question is often is “which drug?” Is it ice? Are they showing the signs of ice addiction?

The signs of ice addiction

To help you answer that question we have put together a series of quick guides to help you try and identify which drug is being used.  This guide is about learning to tell the signs of an ice/methamphetamine addition.

About ice

Crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, glass, P and shabu is a stimulant drug, that speeds up body’s processes, affecting our body’s sympathetic (flight or fight) system.

It’s usually injected, snorted or smoked, and is clear and crystalline in appearance, hence its nickname.

Signs of using ice

These physical objects are common signs of using ice:

  • Bags of crystalline powder
  • Implements that may be used to administer the drug. These include needles/syringes, glass pipes, etc. Ball point pens’ inner casings may be used as straws, as well as regular straws to snort ice
  • Aluminium foil (used to measure and secure an ice dose)
  • Cans with punctures in them may indicate that the drug is being smoked

Behavioural, emotional and physical signs of using ice

Behavioural, emotional and physical signs that a loved one may be using the drug ice, or under the influence of ice include:

  • Feelings of pleasure and an appearance of your loved one as being overconfident may occur.
  • Being unusually alert and wakeful. Sleeplessness is a key sign of being under the influence of ice.
  • Continual repetition of certain actions like itching and scratching. It’s common with long term use for a loved one to be covered in scabs that are a result of the ice user picking at their skin.
  • Rapid weight loss and loss of appetite as a result of overstimulation of the nervous system. The appetite is quickly regained as the user withdraws from the drug.
  • Increased sex drive. Your loved one may be engaging in sexual relationships with multiple partners or be unusually libidinous.
  • Dental issues – teeth grinding and tooth decay. With longer term use, the combination of bad breath, rotting teeth and inhibition of saliva (dry mouth syndrome) result in what users describe as “meth mouth”.
  • Sweating more profusely and that sweat being unusually odorous.
  • Lack of attention to physical grooming or personal hygiene.
  • Dilating pupils – with prolonged use of ice the pupils of the eyes may dilate and stay that way for hours, which a user may cover up with sunglasses.
  • Continual twitching around the eyes.

Withdrawal signs of ice addiction

Over a period of time, ice can become both physically and psychologically addictive and a user may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Increased appetite
  • Aches and pains
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Cravings for the drug and irritability

These symptoms occur because the brain’s production of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, which affects emotion and feelings of pleasure, plummets.
More immediate symptoms of the drug effect wearing off include:

  • Being lethargic
  • Sleeping for an unusually long amount of time

Drug induced psychosis

The most dangerous effect of ice use is the potential for drug induced psychosis.
High, and frequent doses of ice may induce ice psychosis. This condition is characterised by violent, aggressive or bizarre behaviour as well as feeling of delusion and paranoia.

These symptoms will disappear a few days after withdrawal of the drug, but its effect of “burning out” neurotransmitters such as dopamine, lingers for months after withdrawal resulting in the user feeling devoid of emotion or having a short emotional range of feeling.

Not all symptoms and signs of ice addiction listed above may be readily apparent, however with increased drug use will become very obvious.

More information

If you would like to know more about ice addiction and available treatment, please read:
Ice Addiction
Residential Addiction Treatment
Mental Health Effects of Ice
Ice Addiction in Women

Recovery stories

The good news is that with correct treatment long-term recovery from ice addiction is possible. For an insight into ice addiction and recovery please read these real-life stories:
I Was An Army Officer. And An Ice Addict.
DJ – My Addiction Experience
Our Son Is An Addict, What Do We Do?

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