The Facts about Ice

Ice user’s road-rage fury

Shotgun aimed at two kids

What do you feel? Rage? Shock? Alarm? Physically sick?

This was the headline that caught my attention as I opened my local paper last week. The story went on to describe the incident: the lawyer for the defendant stated there was a simple explanation for his irrational behaviour.

“In a word that explanation is ice – an all too common excuse…at the time of this offending he was on a bender and would not have produced the firearm if he had been thinking rationally.”

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of VictorHabbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Increasingly the drug Ice is drawing community attention due to dramatic incidents such as this. However, not all Ice user’s will automatically be violent. In fact many people in the community rely upon Ice recreationally, circumstantially and for the physical health benefits. However, where a person is using two or more drugs in combination or is already dealing with serious physical and/or mental health issues the combination can have major risks for the user and for other people.

What is ice?

Ice is a stimulant drug, affecting the Central Nervous System by speeding up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. Bodily functions such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and body temperature are so impacted that an individual’s mood, behaviour and physical functioning change dramatically.

Reading these headlines, you might want to ask, ‘If Ice is such a harmful drug why do people use it?’ As a recreational drug, people enjoy the positive effects of Ice.

Positive Effects of Ice:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased pleasure
  • Alertness
  • Confidence
  • Stamina
  • Increased strength
  • Increased libido
  • Long periods awake
  • Appetite suppressant
  • Talkative

The stimulant effect of Ice is also attractive for purposes where a circumstance requires long periods of mental alertness: the long-distance truck driver, the shift worker or the young single mother doing two jobs might use Ice to deal with the demands upon them. The drug is readily available but also highly addictive and dependence is likely to develop rapidly if an individual relies upon it.

There are also some very negative effects.

Negative Effects of Ice:

  • Increased Blood pressure
  • Increased sweating
  • Higher body temperature
  • Rapid, irregular heart rate
  • Chest pains
  • Jaw clenching, teeth grinding
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to sleep
  • Appetite suppressant
  • Repetitive actions
  • Picking, scratching of skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Facial sweating and redness

Typically, whilst the user is aware that Ice changes their behaviour they are frequently unaware that these negative effects can also be attributed to the same drug. Over time, increasing dependence makes it very difficult to cease use of the drug and any individual who wants to come off the drug will require much support, encouragement and understanding.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

How do you know if someone is using Ice? Here are the signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Movement: twitching, restless, fidgety, moving about
  • Facial: may be flushed and/or sweating, pupils dilated
  • Speech: loud, rapid, may be tangential, unable to keep on topic
  • Skin: in long term users, may have scabs, if injecting may have abscesses
  • Body: long term users, thin, undernourished, and also very active
  • Teeth: may be discoloured, ground down, gums receded
  • Behaviour: Irritable, anxious, may be aggressive

If you use Ice yourself or know someone who users this drug, it is helpful to be aware of these facts and do frequent ‘mental checks’ as to the safety level for the individual and/or other people. If you believe that you or someone else is ‘at risk’ you can seek help through your local government health service provider or go to the following websites for further information: www.bluebelly.org.au/; www.meth.org.au/  

Talking about your concerns and acknowledging that you may have a problem, is the first step to recovery. Colleen Morris, at Watersedgecounselling, is able to talk with you about your issue and offers support, encouragement and advice when you are ready to take your next step to recovery. You can contact her for a FREE 10 minute consultation on 0434337245 or you can make an appointment to see Colleen go to the online scheduler by pressing the BOOK NOW.

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