Melbourne's Trusted Team for Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Speed, Ice & Crystal Meth

What is ice?

Ice is a street name for crystal methamphetamine, which is a powerful, synthetic stimulant drug. Stimulant drugs speed up the messages going to and from the brain.

Ice is more potent than other forms of amphetamines. It is more pure than the powder form of methamphetamine (speed). It often appears as large, transparent and sheet-like crystals that may have a hint of pink, blue or green colour. Other street names for ice include meth, crystal, crystal meth and glass.

How is it used?

Ice is known to be smoked, swallowed, snorted, injected or inserted anally (shafting). Some people smoke ice using a glass pipe, while others heat it on aluminium foil and inhale the vapours (chasing).

Immediate effects

Soon after taking ice, a person may experience a number of psychological and physical effects including:

  • Feelings of euphoria, excitement and wellbeing
  • Increased alertness, confidence and libido, more energy, feelings of increased strength, talkativeness, restlessness, repeating simple acts, and itching, picking and scratching
  • Tremors of the hands and fingers
  • Speeding up of bodily functions, such as increased breathing rate, body temperature, blood pressure, a rapid and irregular heartbeat and excessive sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping, reduced appetite, dilated pupils, dry mouth, stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and severe headaches
  • Abrupt shifts in thought and speech, which can make someone using ice difficult to understand
  • Nervousness, panic attacks, anxiety, paranoia
  • The variable purity of each batch of ice increases the risk of negative effects and overdose

Long-term effects

Long-term use of ice can result in a number of health issues, including:

  • high blood pressure and increased risk of heart-related complications such as heart attack and heart failure
  • malnutrition and rapid weight loss due to reduced appetite
  • chronic sleeping problems
  • reduced immunity and increased susceptibility to infections due to the person not sleeping or eating properly
  • depression, anxiety, tension and paranoia
  • brain damage (there is some evidence that amphetamines may damage brain cells resulting in reduced memory function and other impairments in thinking)
  • dental problems (from grinding teeth)
  • lung damage (from smoking ice)
  • damage to the lining of the nose (from snorting ice)
  • irritability, aggression, hostility and amphetamine psychosis, including hallucinations, paranoid delusions and unusual behaviour
  • scarring, abscesses and vein damage (from injecting ice). Sharing injecting equipment increases the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses, such as hepatitis B and C, and HIV

Let’s put it all into TCM terms

In Chinese Medicine terms anything that speeds up bodily functions is said to create a “false heat” in the system. Heat, naturally allows energy to flow more freely. These substances over stimulate the brain and bodily functions. Too much heat will begin to dry things out, including the fluid that surrounds your brain and is found between bones, such as in the spine, in the knees and elbows.

We all know of the yin/yang principle, where yin is nourishing, cooling and nurturing while yang is the mover and doer. The excess heat created by use of ice damages the yin. How this will manifests in the user physically is extreme weight loss, withered complexion, aches and pains that are caused by not nourishing the body properly and other body systems break down as well.

Psychologically , the “drying” out of the bodily fluids affects the mind (shen) with the user experiencing paranoia, extreme unprovoked anger bursts and a feeling as if bugs are crawling underneath their skin causing them to pick at their skin and leaving it scabby and sore. The deficiency of yin in this instance causes the skin to not heal properly.

What can be done to help?

Meth, ice or speed are dangerous drugs. Initially they may give people the perception that they are invincible. However, long term the effects can be quite damaging, not only to body but the mind as well. The damage done to the body is reversible but the damage inflicted on the brain may not be, and that’s scary part of it all.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can strengthen the individual’s will power whilst also correcting the damage inflicted upon the body. Treatment protocols are designed according to the client’s specific needs, so if it is something that you would be interested in pursuing further do not hesitate to give us a call.

If you’d like to find out other conditions that Chinese medicine and acupuncture treat for emotional & psychiatric issues click here or call us on 1300 432 639.

Written by

Dr Scott Ling
Dr. Scott Ling is the Chief Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist and the founder of Sustain Health. He holds a PHD Doctorate Degree in Chinese medicine from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. Dr Ling’s extensive qualifications also include a Master of Reproductive Medicine (western medicine). Due to his unique medical background, Dr Ling’s approach stresses on the integration of Chinese and Western medicine to ensure patients get the greatest benefits from the best of both medical systems.
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