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Tweak Meaning – Dangers of Meth Addiction

What is tweaking? Why is this slang name used to describe individuals with meth addiction? IAlthough it is important to be informed about the different slang words used in reference to specific drugs and drug use. It is also important to remember that some language that may be considered stigmatizing. Words matter. In fact, many people would argue that words can hurt people harder than almost anything else.

Tweak Meaning – Dangers of Meth Addiction

Meth can go by many names – crank, crystal, tweaks, speed, chalk – and it often depends on what form it takes. There are also various different methods for taking powder meth and crystal meth. It can be snorted, injected, smoked, or swallowed. Meth has accumulated numerous slang terms throughout its use. The more popular the drugs, the more slang is associated with it.

Creative names and abbreviations are used to disguise conversations as being innocent and to not raise red flags. There are a vast number of slang names and slang terms used in reference to drugs, and its use. This article is meant to be used as a brief and easy to use guide for loved ones to be able to pinpoint words they hear and be able to understand what it is in reference to. Drug slang is referenced to often in pop culture especially within music.

It is important for prevention providers, care givers and educators to be informed about the different slang words used in reference to specific drugs and drug use. One thing is for sure: no matter what it’s called or how it’s taken, illicit drugs, particularly meth, is a dangerous and addictive substance.

What does tweaking mean? Tweaking is a slang term to describe someone under the influence of methamphetamine. Tweak definition or someone who is tweaking is referred to as being “twacked”. Chronic crystal meth users are commonly known as tweakers or meth tweaker. Amongst users the drug itself is sometimes known as tweak. Meth tweaking can often lead to a full-blown meth addiction. In some situations, meth addiction can completely develop to Amphetamine psychosis.

Definition of Tweaker

The word “tweakin” is most popularly used in hip hop and rap culture and can refer to a person who is maybe high on drugs and doing crazy stuff, or just to describe someone acting irrational. Urban Dictionary defines it as: someone tripping on a meth high. They are paranoid about staying up for a week straight, seeing shadow people and such.

Methamphetamine addicts are also referred to as a “tweaker” or someone who “tweaks” meth. They have been known for their extreme paranoia, flagrant dishonesty, and lack of non-tweaker friends. The stereotypical definition of meth is that a meth tweaker will steal your stuff and then help you look for it.

Others say that “meth tweakers” is actually used by law enforcement and those out there who do not care or have no clue what using meth is like. Therefore, they have no first-hand knowledge of what meth actually does to the human mind and body. They use the term “tweaks” only to label meth users. It’s the same as calling a group of young men with baggy pants on thugs or a group of young men with their heads shaved skinheads.

Tweaker Meaning and Other Stereotypes

Just because a person has sores on their face doesn’t mean they tweaked meth and has meth sores. That person has probably never ever used meth a day in their life, and their skin irritation can actually be caused by eczema, skin cancer, a bacterial infection, or allergic reaction and not meth.

Other people automatically think that because an individual has messed up teeth, they have to be on meth and has meth mouth. Bad teeth stem from genetics and or bad personal hygiene, and just because you see someone with bad teeth doesn’t mean they are on meth.

Your “typical” meth tweaker is someone who likes to get high and often smokes throughout the day. They never stay in one place for too long because they are always on the go. They house surf and carry a backpack with all their belongings. They will sell whatever they have to get a pipe load, and they may appear dirty because they typically neglect their hygiene while they are addicted to meth.

High Functioning Meth Tweakers

High functioning meth tweakers are the ones you don’t and won’t even suspect be meth users at all. They are not the stereotypical “tweaks”. They are your rugged, clean-cut men and your prim and proper women that actively tweaked meth every day and hold down good jobs. There is no specific look to a meth tweaker. Meth tweaker is actually like a label put on individuals by individuals who have no clue what they are talking about.

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There are about 24.7 million amphetamine-type stimulant abusers worldwide. In 2018, these figures continued to increase. There are about 24.7 million amphetamine-type stimulant abusers worldwide. In 2018, these figures continued to grow.

2.6 million

Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 0.9% (or about 2.6 million people) reported using methamphetamine in the past 12 months.

Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

1.5 million

Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, an estimated 0.6% (or about 1.5 million people) had a methamphetamine use disorder in the past 12 months.

Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health


In 2020, approximately 23,837 people died from an overdose involving psychostimulants with abuse potential other than cocaine (primarily methamphetamine). 

Source: CDC

  Methamphetamine (Meth) Drug Facts

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant. The FDA-approved brand-name medication is Desoxyn.

What is its origin?

Mexican drug trafficking organizations have become the primary manufacturers and distributors of methamphetamine throughout the United States, including Hawaii. Domestic clandestine laboratory operators also produce and distribute meth on a smaller scale. The methods used depend on the availability of precursor chemicals.

What are common street names?

Common street names include:

  • Batu
  • Bikers Coffee
  • Black Beauties
  • Chalk
    Chicken Feed
  • Crank
  • Crystal
  • Glass
  • Go-Fast
  • Hiropon
  • Ice
  • Poor Man’s
  • Cocaine
  • Shabu
  • Shards
  • Speed
  • Stove Top
  • Tina
  • Trash
  • Tweak
  • Meth
  • Methlies Quick

What is its legal status in the United States?

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant
under the Controlled Substances Act, which
means that it has a high potential for abuse and a
currently acceptable medical use (in FDA-approved products). It is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled.

Today there is only one legal meth product, Desoxyn®. It is currently marketed in 5, 10, and 15-milligram tablets (immediate-release and extended-release formulations) and has very limited use in the treatment of obesity and ADHD

What does it look like?

What does meth look like? Regular meth is a pill or powder. Crystal meth
resembles glass fragments or shiny blue-white “rocks” of various sizes.

How is it abused?

Meth is swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked. To intensify the effects, users may take higher doses of the drug, take it more frequently, or change their intake method.

What is its effect on the body?

  • Taking even small amounts of meth can result in:
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Increased physical activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rapid breathing and heart rate
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia (overheating)

What is its effect on the mind?

Meth is a highly addictive drug with potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant properties. Those who smoke or inject it report a brief, intense sensation or rush. Oral ingestion or snorting produces a long-lasting high instead of a rush, which reportedly can continue for as long as half a day.

Both the rush and the high are believed to result from the release of very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine into areas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure. Long-term meth use results in many damaging effects, including addiction.

Reminder: Words Matter – The Removal of the Meth Addiction Stigma

Although it is important to be informed about the different slang words used in reference to specific drugs and drug use. It is also important to remember that some language that may be considered stigmatizing and is commonly used within social communities of individuals who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD).

Stigma is a discrimination against an identifiable group of individuals, a place, or a nation. Stigma about individuals with substance use disorder might include inaccurate or unfounded thoughts like they are dangerous, incapable of managing treatment, or at fault for their condition.

For individuals with substance use disorder, stigma may come from antiquated and inaccurate beliefs that addiction is a moral failing, instead of what we know it to be—a chronic, treatable disease from which patients can recover and continue to lead healthy lives. Use of non-judgmental, respectful and uniform language to describe individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) is recommended to reduce stigma. 

tweak meaning
Let us define tweaking. “Tweaking” is a slang word used to describe someone’s behavior and actions while under the influence of the drug methamphetamine (Meth).

Slang Names for Crystal Meth 

Crystal meth – also known as ice – is a form of methamphetamine or, to give it its technical name, n-methyl-1-phenyl-propane-2-amine. Instead of being produced as a powder (amphetamine or speed), it’s made as large chunks that look like crystals. Producing it as a solid lump can change how our bodies absorb methamphetamine.

The popular TV show Breaking Bad has put crystal meth use at the front and center of TV watching the public. The show pulls a few punches and is extremely graphic in its portrayal of drug addiction—specifically crystal meth addiction. This begs the question, does the TV show glamorize the use and sale of crystal meth? Or does the show provide a proper deterrent for young people considering taking drugs? The answer can be a mixture of both.

TV shows like Breaking Bad give us ideas on how street drugs like crystal meth are traded and why slang names are given to illicit drugs. Slang names exist for all types of drugs, from prescription medications to illegal substances. Knowing street names for various drugs, particularly meth slang and crystal meth street names, can help people identify substance abuse and prevent it from becoming an addiction.

Slang Names for Crystal Meth or Methamphetamine Slang:

  • Chalk
  • Crank
  • Crissy
  • Cristy
  • Tweak
  • Crystal
  • Glass
  • Go
  • Ice
  • Whizz
  • Meth
  • Shards
  • Speed
  • Tina

Slang Names for Meth Use

The illicit nature of meth leads both dealers and users to come up with slang terms for meth itself, its use, and other aspects of the culture surrounding it. This way they can elude authorities by avoiding using known terms like meth. Due to this, new slang terms are often adopted, and old ones dropped. In addition to street names of methamphetamine, meth users typically have a variety of slang used to describe being high, getting high, the effects of meth, etc.

  • Hot Railing: Heating crystal meth in a tube and then using the tube to inhale the drug.
  • Box or Rolling Labs: Small, mobile laboratories used to manufacture meth.
  • Hot Rolling: Liquifying meth inside an eyedropper to inhale the drug.
  • Tweaking: Typically happens at the end of high when the user engages in compulsive behaviors and may be irritable, paranoid, and violent.
  • Meth Mites: Sensation where meth users feel bugs are crawling under their skin.
  • Crank Craters or Meth Sores: Sores on the body and face are caused when meth users pick at skin due to tweaking or feeling of meth mites.
  • Tweaker, Meth Head, or Speed Freak: A regular meth user or addict.
  • Getting Glassed: Snorting meth.
  • Chicken Flippin’: Smoking crystal meth.
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Stages of Meth Tweaking and Bingeing 

There are 7 stages in the cycle of crystal meth tweaking:

1. Initial Rush

After injecting or smoking methamphetamine, crystal meth and powder meth users experience increased heartbeat, metabolism, and blood pressure.

2. The Meth High

Meth often makes a user feel more confident and intelligent, and they may become more argumentative and aggressive than usual.

3. The Meth Binge

As the end of the meth high approaches, the meth tweaker seeks to continue the high by smoking or injecting more meth. However, the euphoric rush is diminished each time after the initial dose, this is because tolerance is experienced immediately. A binge meth tweaker will continue to use meth over a three-to-fifteen-day period, until no rush or high is experienced, and become physically and mentally hyperactive, avoiding sleep.

4. Meth Tweaking

Toward the end of the meth binge, the meth user experiences a crash with feelings of emptiness and sadness. This state is called “tweaking”. While tweaking, meth users may take heroin or alcohol, to relieve the dismal feelings. Meth tweaking can produce extremely unpredictable, violent behavior, paranoia and hallucinations.

Tweaking is the most dangerous stage of meth bingeing because of the harm it poses to other including family members, law enforcement officers, and other individuals near the meth abuser.

5. The Meth Crash

A meth binge user eventually crashes when their body’s supply of epinephrine is depleted. They need immense amounts of sleep to replenish the body, often over one to three days.

6. Return to Normal

After crashing and replenishing the body, a meth user returns to normal. However, the meth user’s condition will be somewhat deteriorated from what it was before using the drug.

7. Meth Withdrawal

Withdrawal from meth often sneaks up on a meth user – one to three months may pass after using meth before withdrawal symptoms are recognized. There are no acute, immediate symptoms of physical distress. However, the meth user in withdrawal will slowly become depressed and unable to feel pleasure, lacking energy. Craving for meth can hit suddenly and combined with the feelings of depression may lead to suicide.

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Safety Tips to Use While Approaching Someone Who is High on Meth

1. Keep at seven to ten feet distance. Coming too close can be misconstrued as threatening.

2. Do not shine bright lights at the person. The meth tweaker is already paranoid and if blinded by a bright light the person is likely to run or become violent.

3. Lower the pitch of your voice and slow your speech. A meth tweaker already hears sounds at in a high pitch and a fast pace.

4. Slow your movements. This will decrease the odds that the meth tweaker will misinterpret your physical actions.

5. Keep your hands visible. If you place your hands where the meth tweaker cannot see them, he might feel threatened and could become violent.

6. Keep the meth tweaker talking. A tweaker who falls silent can be extremely dangerous. Silent usually means that the meth tweakers paranoid thoughts have taken over reality, and anyone present can become part of the meth tweaker’s paranoid delusions.

tweak meaning
Behavior while meth tweaking consists of frantic, irritable and compulsive actions that can also be enhanced by extreme bouts of Paranoia. 

The Dangers of Meth – Tweaker Meaning

Methamphetamine causes changes in the brain circuits that control reward, stress, decision-making, and impulse control, making it more and more difficult to stop using even when it has adverse effects on your life and health. Frequent use also can lead to tolerance and withdrawal, so you need more of the drug to feel normal. Additional effects of using methamphetamine can include anxiety and depression, chronic fatigue, paranoid or delusional thinking, and severe psychological issues.

Meth causes an intense elevated or euphoric mood that is much stronger than cocaine. Experiencing these unnatural dopamine levels causes a strong desire to continue using the drug. It becomes addictive because your body experiences intense cravings to maintain the euphoric state, which often results in constant redosing and binge-like behavior to achieve that goal.

Meth can cause addiction in as little as one use in some users. People typically abuse meth and alcohol together, which increases the side effects. This is mainly due to the rush of dopamine produced by the drug. Dopamine is a chemical responsible for inducing feelings of pleasure and motivation, memory retention, learning, and reward processing. People who use meth sometimes combine it with other drugs, such as fentanyl (a “speedball”), which can be particularly dangerous and raise the risk of an overdose.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal

When a person who abuses meth on a regular basis stops taking the drug or significantly decreases their dose, they may develop the following signs and symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Intense cravings

Many people turn back to meth and continue to take the drug to avoid these feelings.

Methamphetamine Overdose

One of the greatest physical dangers of abuse is a meth overdose. While a person can overdose the first time they take the drug, people who have used meth for long periods of time also face this risk [4].

A meth overdose occurs when the drug reaches toxic levels that the body can’t eliminate fast enough. 

Signs and symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Panic
  • Rapid breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Tremor

A severe methamphetamine overdose can be fatal and cause a heart attack, hyperthermia, organ problems, seizures, or stroke. For these reasons, a methamphetamine overdose can be a medical emergency.

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How Does Meth Affect Your Health?

Meth affects your brain. Methamphetamine causes changes in the brain circuits that control reward, stress, decision-making, and impulse control, making it more and more difficult to stop using even when it negatively affects your life and health. Frequent use also can lead to tolerance and withdrawal, so you need more of the drug to feel normal. Additional effects of using methamphetamine can include anxiety and depression, chronic fatigue, paranoid or delusional thinking, and serious psychological issues.

Meth affects your body. Methamphetamine use increases heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of stroke. Other negative consequences of long-term methamphetamine use are extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, and skin sores caused by scratching. Methamphetamine use affects the levels of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. It affects, among other things, movement, motivation, emotions, and feelings of pleasure. Because meth causes a flood of dopamine to the brain, the natural supply gets depleted. Thus, activities that would increase pleasure may no longer do so. This can lead to depression.

Meth affects your self-control. Methamphetamine can cause aggression, violent behavior, and loss of contact with reality.

Meth affects more than the user. Methamphetamine use impacts the user’s family and friends. Children found in meth labs may experience emotional, behavioral, and cognitive problems. The chemicals used to produce meth can cause fires and explosions, produce toxic vapors, and damage the environment.

tweak meaning
A meth tweaker may appear relative normal to the passive observer. However, upon close inspection, one may notice rapid eye movement, a shaky voice, and quick, jerky movements.

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Getting Help for Meth Addiction

First and foremost, if you think a loved one is abusing meth, you should research its drug and ask yourself, “what does meth look like?” and addiction to understand better what your loved one needs. Next, you must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle their addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, offer compassion and support instead of judgment. 

Lastly, offer your support throughout the entire treatment process. In addition, prolonged meth use can have severe physical and psychological effects, so seeking treatment as soon as possible is essential. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you promptly get through the early stages of withdrawal. Meth can kill you.

Medically Assisted Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process but doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient drug rehab helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can give the necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.


Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily. The meth effects on the nervous system can be treated simultaneously with the help of therapies.

If you or a loved one is struggling with crystal meth smoke addiction or a high-functioning meth addict, call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation. The We Level Up NJ treatment center network offers nationwide facilities. Connect with one of our rehab specialists.

tweak meaning
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