There are 7 stages in the cycle of crystal meth bingeing:
1. Initial Rush
After smoking or injecting methamphetamine, crystal meth users experience increased heartbeat, metabolism, and blood pressure.
2. The Crystal Meth High
Meth often makes a user feel more intelligent and confident, and they may become more aggressive and argumentative than usual.
3. The Crystal Meth Binge
As the end of the meth high approaches, the user seeks to continue the high by smoking or injecting more methamphetamine. However, the euphoric rush is diminished each time after the initial dose, as tolerance is experienced immediately. A binge meth user will continue to use crystal meth over a 3 to 15 day period, until no rush or high is experienced, and become mentally and physically hyperactive, avoiding sleep.
4. Crystal Meth Tweaking
Toward the end of the crystal meth binge, the meth user experiences a crash with feelings of sadness and emptiness. This state is called “tweaking”. While tweaking, crystal meth users may take alcohol or heroin, to relieve the dismal feelings. Meth tweaking can produce extremely unpredictable, violent behavior, hallucinations and paranoia.
5. The Crystal Meth Crash
A crystal meth binge user eventually crashes when their body’s supply of epinephrine is depleted. They require immense amounts of sleep to replenish the body, often over 1 to 3 days.
6. Return to Normal
After crashing and replenishing the body, a crystal meth user returns to normal. However, the user’s condition will be somewhat deteriorated from what it was before using methamphetamine.
Withdrawal from methamphetamine often sneaks up on a crystal 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 crystal meth user in withdrawal will slowly become depressed and unable to feel pleasure, lacking energy. Craving for methamphetamine can hit suddenly, and combined with the feelings of depression may lead to suicide.
Tweaking (stage 4) is the most dangerous stage of bingeing because of the harm it poses to others including law enforcement officers, family members, and other individuals near the abuser.
Stop Drugs.org provides several safety precautions to use while approaching someone who is high on meth.
1. Keep at 7-10 ft. distance. Coming too close can be perceived as threatening.
2. Do not shine bright lights at him. The tweaker is already paranoid and if blinded by a bright light he is likely to run or become violent.
3. Slow your speech and lower the pitch of your voice. A tweaker already hears sounds at a fast pace and in a high pitch.
4. Slow your movements. This will decrease the odds that the tweaker will misinterpret your physical actions.
5. Keep your hands visible. If you place your hands where the tweaker cannot see them, he might feel threatened and could become violent.
6. Keep the tweaker talking. A tweaker who falls silent can be extremely dangerous. Silent often means that his paranoid thoughts have taken over reality, and anyone present can become part of the tweaker's paranoid delusions.