"Tweaker" behavior without meth use?

I’ve interacted with a few meth addicts. The twitching, over animated, hyperactive behavior was pretty consistent and unmistakable.

So there is a fast food place where I sometimes stop in the morning, and less often at lunch time. One of the counter ladies acts like a stereotypical tweaker. I think they wear name tags, but in my mind she is “meth girl”. When I mentioned her to coworkers, there was no confusion at all about who I was talking about.

She waited on me this morning, and thinking back, I think she has been there over three years. She is there nearly every time I go in, so she must be full time.

Her teeth are pretty crooked, but not rotting…no meth mouth. No sores. She doesn’t LOOK like a meth head, just acts like one.

Now this place tends to have low turnover, after the infant mortality. They must pay better than typical McJobs, and treat the people well. The workers are all noticeably efficient, etc. All signs point to management being really on top of things.

This has got me thinking that maybe I’m wrong about her being a tweaker.

So I ask:
1-Is it possible for a meth addict to hold a steady full time job for 3+ years?

2-Are there medical conditions, or lasting effects after meth use have stopped that make a person act like this?

Where is this? This sentence leaped out at me.

Leaped out at me too. I think the OP means low turn over, when you discount the high turn over rate of new employees. Especially the ones that show up for a shift or two, and realize it’s not a good fit or get a better job offer elsewhere.

Albuquerque. Frontier/ Golden Pride. One near my house has several employees that have been there over 10 years, and it is rare to see a new face. a few years ago, they had a couple people that they were training and I never saw again, but it seems like if I see the same person more than once, they will be there for years.

Someone could be addicted to a stimulant and have the same behavioral side-effects without the physical damage that meth causes. Cocaine, for example, or some prescription drugs.

People who abuse stimulants often do so to keep themselves awake for work or school, so it’s not unusual for such a person to hold a job for a long time.

Classic PSA:


Just anecdotally, but my cousin was holding down a full time job (working with mentally retarded adults) and taking care of an unemployed manchild and his illegitimate child at home while doing crystal meth over the course of about 3 years. She finally stopped and stayed quit when she got pregnant/had the baby, and her weight ballooned through the roof since then. If she starts to lose weight again, I’d take it as a potential sign of relapse.

She never got meth mouth. No full-blown nasty scabby face but she had some sores which I always assumed were from adult acne (and I was mistaken). If anything she was a “casual addict”, if such a term can be said to exist, since it was not significantly affecting her ability to function as a normal (if enabling, in regards to her boyfriend) adult. Nobody even knew about her habit until she told her mom (my aunt) and started going to a Narcotics Anon support group.

My first thought was some sort of mental illness and the effect of the drugs used to treat it.

It isn’t usually applied to humans except in the most literal sense, in my experience, but ‘infant mortality’ in engineering means ‘loss of new components’, which happens during the ‘burn-in period’ when marginally defective parts are discovered to be marginal and discarded.

A related concept is the ‘bathtub curve’, which graphs the expected percentage of parts being discarded (y-axis) throughout the lifetime of the batch (x-axis). It describes a line with two peaks, one at each end, and a long, low trough in the middle. The first peak is infant mortality, the long trough is the service lifetime, and the second peak is the end of the service lifetime. It supposedly looks like a big, old bathtub in cross-section.

Fellow Burqueño checking in. I’ve known my fair share of Frontier employees, all of which are going to school. I’ve never understood how some of the employees stay there for so long considering the working conditions (droll, repetitive, hours of frenzied activity followed by hours of staring blankly at Central through the windows), but for everyone I’ve known or spoken to, it’s a means to an end. They pay something like $9.00/hour to start and easily accommodate school schedules.

Anyway, it’s impossible to know if this particular Frontier/Golden Pride employee is a tweaker or not. Most drug addicts I’ve known have left their menial jobs, one after another, out of disinterest in work and preoccupation with their drug of choice. Some, though, have been the picture of citizenship. The latter is rare, and doesn’t last forever (in my experience).

I’d exonerate her for drug addiction myself but, if she’s been at a Golden Pride THAT long, I’m kinda inclined to assume she’s a weirdo. This is Albuquerque, after all, and students, weirdos and tweakers make up a sizable chunk of our population.

Based on drug use threads I’ve seen here in the past I’d say the majority of recreational hard drug users are not the stereotypical crash and burn examples but are functional enough to hold down a job and still pursue their habit, though in a more limited sense than the utterly dysfunctional drug users.

My mother spent 20 years as a top flight executive secretary for one of the largest hospitality companies in the world. She did her job superbly and was held in high regard by the executive staff. She was also a lifelong, hard core alcoholic who would pound glass after glass of wine until she passed out once she got home at night. It eventually destroyed her teeth and her health, but only after she retired.

I have a friend that used to do meth back in the day. I didn’t know her then, but seeing her now you’d never know she’d had a habit.

Samantha Bee on The Daily Show reminds me of a tweeker. She never freakin holds still!

One of my very best friends, has been what many would consider a meth addict for over twenty five years (up until a year and half ago). He would use his drug of choice first thing in the morning, a little more at lunch, and more later in the afternoon. He called it his “coffee”.

He is a very skilled and creative individual. He designs and does custom construction work. Very healthy looking, all his original teeth (in good condition).

On weekends and days off he would do the normal binging behavior with other users, but on Monday morning he was raring to go. He also maintained a home and family during this entire time.

He is now approximately 50 years old, has quit using the substance and does quite well in his job, due the loyalty of previous customers who very much liked the quality and his work ethic in a market that is very difficult to survive in where he is located.

I would have to say that the differences in the way that different people react to different substances is amazing. I have watched others deteriorate within a year or less of the same type of abuse.

Another question might be: are there other medical conditions, perhaps neurological in basis which cause sufferers to exhibit similar twitching, ‘ticcing’ behaviours? I’m no doctor, but I’d be surprised if these symptoms are unique to crystal meth users.

A little ADD, some Aderal and a couple cups of coffee are probably all it would take to give that tweaker look. I’m not saying the employee isn’t a tweaker but there are other explanations.

Could be Tourette’s.

Tourette’s might cause that. Certainly it can cause twitching and ticcing.

ETA: Beaten to the punch!

Torretes and Sydenhams Chorea (St. Vitus Dance) You can twitch, vocalize, be OC and or hyperactive.

Could also be lupus …

It’s never lupus. :wink:

“Tweaker” behavior reminds me of dystonia and/or dyskenesia, which can indeed be part of numerous neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s, or side effects of antipsychotic medications. Dystonia can also be hereditary, or caused by head trauma, as well as by disease processes, including some infections. There was a woman on The Doctors yesterday who has dystonia, and had a cool surgery done to implant an electrode deep into her brain to smooth out the electrical stimulation. Her symptoms, several months after the surgery, are vastly improved, but they’re now at the stage where she just seems a little “off”, and a person who didn’t know how she used to be might be annoyed or confused by her behavior.

But yeah, she could very well be a meth user and hold down a job. Despite what the War On Drugs would have us believe, there are many, many casual users of drugs of all kinds who are not completely incapacitated by their drug use.

As others have mentioned, it could be a mental illness such as ADD or stimulant medication used to treat it. It could just be someone who uses a lot of stimulants such as caffeine.

It also could be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It’s also possible that it’s just that person’s personality, and they might otherwise be “normal”, to the extent that they aren’t far enough from “normal” to have a diagnosable mental illness.

There really isn’t enough information, and there isn’t a very polite way to inquire unless she mentions it first. Sorry.