Many non-users assume that the term “tweaker” refers to the meth addict’s tendency toward erratic, high-energy behaviors. While this is not entirely far from the truth, the term more specifically refers to a condition known as “tweaking.” Due to the prevalence of Alaska meth addiction, it is a condition known all too well across the state.
What is tweaking? To understand it better, you must know how it fits into the other stages of meth addiction. If you or a loved one is using methamphetamine, look out for the following behaviors. They are surefire signs that meth addiction treatment should be sought before it is too late.
Stage 1 – The Initial High
The rate at which meth affects the user will vary depending upon the route of administration; however, whether smoking, snorting or shooting up, it works rather quickly. As the heart beats faster and the pulse rises, so does the blood pressure. This brings on an almost instantaneous feeling of euphoria, which contributes largely to meth addiction. Those who experience it once will often continue smoking so they can feel it again, especially since it only lasts for about half an hour or so.
Stage 2 – The Shoulder
The shoulder is what some people call the primary high. When people associate Alaska meth addiction with hyperactivity or obsessive cleaning, they are thinking of this part of the experience. For anywhere between four and over twelve hours, the user’s mind will race. They become incredibly focused, and occasionally paranoid. Appetite will generally lower, but physical activity will increase, contributing to the weight loss experienced during long-term meth addiction.
Stage 3 – Binge Using
Binging is a primary stage of many substance addictions, and meth addiction is no exception. For up to days at a time, the addict continues using meth in an attempt to keep themselves from coming down. Those who engage in binging are those who will be most prone to suffering the long-term side effects of meth addiction, which include irregular sleeping patterns, unhealthy weight loss, extreme dental problems, erratic and sometimes violent behavior, intense itching, paranoia and hallucinations.
Stage 4 – What is Tweaking?
So, what is tweaking? Well, after a long enough binge, those who suffer from meth addiction will no longer experience the initial rush or the long-lasting high. Despite the lack of euphoria, however, they still experience symptoms such as restlessness and itching. As sleep deprivation takes its hold, many meth users enter a state of psychosis in which their hallucinations take over. They will become distrustful. Not only will some associate the itching with unseen insects crawling under the skin, but they may believe that others are somehow responsible for their discomfort. Of all stages of Alaska meth addiction, tweaking is the one most likely to result in self-harm and violent behaviors.
Stage 5 – Crashing
After tweaking for some time without experiencing a high, the user eventually crashes. Meth addiction begins shutting their body down, and they may sleep for several days at a time. Some users have reported seizures while using that ultimately led to their crash. No matter how active and energetic someone suffering from meth addiction may usually appear, they will become practically catatonic during this stage. One might say that, while meth addiction is a miserable disease through and through, the crash is when users first realize just how miserable they truly feel.
Stage 6 – Hangover and Exhaustion
The crash leaves users exhausted. During the crash, they may have engaged in unusual sleeping patterns, during which they were unlikely to have consumed much food. Now, they find themselves starving and dehydrated. For many, this is the optimal time to enter drug addiction treatment, as they will be hyper-aware of the long-term side effects of Alaska meth addiction. If they choose to continue using as their primary solution, they will only succeed in suffering worse withdrawal symptoms when they finally choose to quit.
Stage 7 – Detox and Withdrawal
As is the case with most substances, the initial stages of withdrawal from meth addiction are the most discomforting. Patients will feel anxious, exhausted, and severely depressed. They may suffer from lingering symptoms of psychosis, and will almost certainly continue to experience intense cravings. Their best option at this stage is to seek medical detox followed by long-term recovery, lest they renew the stages of meth addiction from the beginning and start the cycle all over again. Since their cravings can last for up to four weeks or more (some say as many as ninety days) after the rest of their meth withdrawal symptoms subside, users will benefit from professional attention.
Finding Alaska Meth Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one suffers from Alaska meth addiction, an Aspire Health Network facility such as Aspire Alaska can help you. We provide all levels of care, ensuring comfort during detoxification before working on a unique treatment plan to raise every individual’s chances of maintaining long-term recovery.
Simply contact Aspire today for more information. What is tweaking, you asked? Nothing you need to worry about ever again.