What Does Tweaking On Meth Look Like?

“Tweaking” describes a set of behaviors associated with heavy methamphetamine abuse. It’s characterized by mood swings, fidgeting, scratching, and psychological irregularity.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


“Tweaking” is an unofficial term used to describe the changes that occur toward the end of a high resulting from methamphetamine use.

When you are tweaking, you may act erratically as a result of rapid changes in your body.

Common Signs And Symptoms Of Tweaking

Tweaking on meth affects both your mental and physical state.

As a result, there are a wide variety of symptoms. Some are easily visible. Others are only known to the person who has been using meth.


Tactile hallucinations often occur during the tweaking phase. Formication hallucinations are the most common among people who use meth.

These hallucinations make you feel like there are insects crawling under your skin. The sensation will make you scratch. You may scratch hard enough to draw blood.


Psychosis is a well-established risk of meth abuse. It usually begins during the tweaking phase. In a state of meth-induced psychosis you will almost certainly experience paranoid delusions.

These delusions will convince you that people are out to get you. You may think it’s a family member, doctors, or the government.

Everyone is different, but you won’t be able to tell the difference between your delusions and reality.

Depending on the nature of your hallucinations, you may engage in violent behavior.

Meth-related psychotic episodes are common among people with addictions, and they can be extremely dangerous.

Intense Itching

Intense itching is typically caused by formication hallucinations, but there are other causes. Methamphetamine opens up your blood vessels and amps up your central nervous system.

Both changes may make you feel sporadic, tingling sensations across your skin during the tweaking phase.

The incessant fidgeting and scratching is actually where the term “tweaking” comes from. Scratching can also cause meth sores to form on the skin.


When you’re tweaking, the last of the drug is leaving your system. It can still be found in your urine and hair, but the effects on your brain are wearing off.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug, so you will likely experience some withdrawal symptoms even if it’s your first use.

Meth withdrawal symptoms start with intense cravings because your brain is no longer able to function normally without the increased levels of dopamine and serotonin.


Cravings are often accompanied by desperation. You’re still under the effects of meth, but you’re increasingly aware that it’s wearing off.

If you have formed a dependence, the cravings can be so unbearable that they make you feel desperate. You may do things you regret.

Causes Of Tweaking

Tweaking is associated with the comedown from meth, but there are nuances to this description. There are three scenarios that cause tweaking.

Meth Binge

A meth binge is any period of time where you immediately take more methamphetamine before the drug can start to wear off.

You will eventually enter the tweaking phase when your binge ends and the effects of the drug begin to wane.

Meth Tolerance

All continued drug abuse will eventually lead to a tolerance. Essentially, your brain compensates for the changes initiated by drug use and adapts to the presence of methamphetamine.

These adaptations prevent you from enjoying the high that you have come to expect. Some people try to get their meth tolerance back by increasing the dose or using other delivery methods, but brains will always adapt.

With continued meth use, the tweaking phase will make up all or most of your high due to the changes in your response to the drug.

The Meth Comedown

Depending on the individual, you may not experience serious tweaking the first time you use meth. The severity of tweaking is partially related to your dependence.

Dependence will build quickly, and symptoms will become more severe as tweaking becomes intertwined with meth withdrawal.

The meth hangover, or intense low period followed by stopping meth use or the end of a meth high, will worsen with continued use.

Treatment Programs For Methamphetamine Abuse

The severity of meth abuse necessitates immediate treatment. Fortunately, there are robust substance use treatment programs available throughout the nation that offer a wide range of services.

For meth addiction, a quality treatment center will offer medically supervised detox and your choice of inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Meth treatments should be flexible, allowing for co-occurring mental illness treatment and personal preferences.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we take our mission to provide judgment-free aid seriously.

We understand that you have an addiction, and we want to help you get the addiction treatment you need to enjoy your life again.

If you’re ready to overcome the effects of drug abuse, such as tweaking, give our Massachusetts treatment facility a call today.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-misuse

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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