You take a hit of ice on Friday night, determined that it’ll be your last – and by Saturday afternoon, you feel depressed and anxious. Have you noticed that taking a break from ice invariably throws you into the pits of despair? Find out why – and how to overcome it.
Ice – one of the most addictive substances in circulation – is a drug of extremes. Its highs are higher, and its lows are lower, than any other drug you can get your hands on. To top it off, the post-high crash is so intense and long-lasting that ice addiction treatment is almost always necessary to recover fully.
Due to the intensity of the crash, recovery can be perilous – and getting off of the rollercoaster and back to your baseline can be tough. Recent research indicates that ice use might predispose you to lifelong depression, significantly change your brain and alter your mood.
Has your ice use taken away your chances of future happiness – or can you heal your brain?
We’ll explore the short-term high ice brings, how that high affects your brain and the long-term pain it ultimately inflicts on you. We’ll also talk about whether finding happiness after an ice habit is possible – and how to give yourself the best chance of achieving it.
The Fleeting Pleasure of Ice Use
Using ice can make you feel like a god, transformed into a braver, smarter, stronger version of yourself just seconds after taking a hit.
When you’re high on ice, you might:
- Lose your insecurities
- Experience dramatically increased productivity
- Feel indestructible
- Have limitless energy and razor-sharp focus
Ice is intoxicating – dangerously so. Let’s take a look at what happens in your brain when you take a hit, and what happens when you stop using.
How Meth Affects Your Brain
When you take a hit of ice, it hits your brain with a massive dose of dopamine, the feel-good chemical, and gives you a shot of adrenaline for good measure. This intense rush of neurochemicals is what gives you the pleasure and euphoria you experience – and what keeps you coming back for more.
But the high doesn’t last. Your brain’s neurotransmitters are running on full blast – and what goes up must come down. In this case, you don’t just come down, you crash – hard. Over time, your become desensitised to these chemical surges, and your brain requires more meth to achieve the same effect – and rendering you unable to feel ‘normal’ without using.
What’s more, ice is made up of harsh, toxic chemicals (lithium batteries, drain cleaner and paint thinner often play a part) with the potential to eat away at your brain, causing serious damage.
Now that we’ve explored what happens to your brain when you stop using, let’s take a look at how you’re likely to feel on the outside.
The Aftermath of Ice Use
Somewhere between six to ten hours after taking your last hit, your high starts to fade – and your mood starts to shift dramatically.
You feel depressed – even hopeless – as your brain struggles to cope without the chemical surges it’s become accustomed to. You can’t feel pleasure and have a hard time enjoying things that brought you happiness before you started using. Things like romance, sex, money and kids lose their appeal. Clinically, this is called ‘anhedonia’.
Unfortunately, this experience is extremely common – 95% of regular meth users feel depressed and anxious when they’re not using. And low moods often lasts for a long time – even if you stay clean consistently.
Can you avoid this long-term depressive meth hangover? And, if so – how?
Can You Get Your Happiness Back in Meth Recovery?
Through your meth use, your brain has been hit with surges of dopamine that it can’t possibly create on its own, leaving you feeling listless in its absence. And, to top it off, your brain has likely been damaged by meth’s toxicity.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to approach repairing your brain and getting your dopamine levels back to baseline – all of which give you a better chance of finding happiness again, naturally.
Studies are currently exploring the feasibility of giving your brain an artificial dopamine boost, temporarily, to help it bridge the gap after you give up ice. Adderall, Ritalin and Wellbutrin are a few potential pharmaceutical interventions. The idea is, giving you these drugs will restore your motivation and zest for life – gradually tapering off as you to pick up the slack.
How to Find Motivation
Another option is to take the reverse approach. Figure out what you need to be doing in order to be living your best life, and do those things before you feel the motivation to do them. Motivation can be developed – as can its associated dopamine boost. After all, you have to start running if you’re ever going to experience a runner’s high.
Aside from your dopamine levels, physical damage to your brain has likely been significant – but, fortunately, our brains are amazingly resilient. As long as you stop using and don’t relapse, even a damaged brain is largely capable of repairing itself to a significant degree. Engaging in healthy habits can help your brain rewire itself in ways that support your new life in sobriety and fuel your happiness.
One thing is for sure: the sooner you stop using ice, the better your chances of repairing your brain – and regaining your happiness.
The Cabin Melbourne can Help You Break Free From Ice Addiction
Giving up ice – and being happy without it – is possible, but you’re a lot more likely to be successful if you have some support along the way. Contact The Cabin Melbourne today for an overview of how we can help you stop using and start a new, joyful life.