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Here’s Why You Should Avoid Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey

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By Orlando Treatment January 24, 2022

Here’s Why You Should Avoid Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey

When an individual begins the process of quitting drugs “cold turkey”, abruptly, or suddenly, there are significant risks that can occur. This can especially be the case if a person discontinues using benzodiazepines, opiates, or alcohol. It’s not advisable if a person has been using the drug in large quantities and for an extended period. This is because of the high-risk drugs or because you might suffer from extreme withdrawal symptoms. There seems to be an appeal to quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey, but it’s important to know what happens when you quit drinking cold turkey or end drug use abruptly.

What is the Reason Quitting Cold Turkey is Appealing?

The biggest reason quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey is appealing to some individuals is because at first, it seems easier to entirely avoid the drug than to moderately use it. Especially when your typical mode is to consume the drug in an uncontrolled manner. Many individuals feel they are strong enough to easily separate themselves from the drug use world, along with avoiding all places, people, and reminders of the drug. 

When individuals attempt to quit drugs cold turkey, they are nonverbally saying that they desire a fresh start. The main reason quitting can be dangerous on your own is because of the way that the nervous system adapts to specific high dependency drugs. When you abruptly take these particular drugs out of your system, a variety of potentially life-threatening and serious medical conditions can occur, including heart problems and seizures. 

If you are asking the question, “Is it bad to quit drinking cold turkey?”, this blog will serve as a guide on why it’s bad to quit drugs and alcohol cold turkey.

Why is it Hard to Quit Drugs Cold Turkey?

Quitting drugs cold turkey is extremely difficult for two main reasons: withdrawal symptoms and cravings. If you are addicted to drugs, your body has most likely developed an unhealthy mental and physical dependence on a specific substance. As a matter of fact, your body and brain will start to crave the chemicals to sustain balance. 

However, when you quit drugs abruptly, your body begins purging itself of all the substances, attempting to return to a sense of normalcy and a non-addicted state. The entire process produces withdrawal symptoms and cravings that can impact you emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

Is It Bad to Quit Drinking Cold Turkey?

It might seem like a quick and easy option to engage in quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey because you’re able to experience the process in the confines of your own home without the judgment or scrutiny of other people. However, it can actually be quite harmful to quit drinking cold turkey. There are numerous risks associated with it that can jeopardize your ability to maintain and achieve sobriety and jeopardize your health. It’s essential to remember that drug addiction is a chronic disease that has high relapse rates. 

Self-detoxing without professional assistance, support, or guidance further intensifies the risks. The cravings that you’ll experience also make it more challenging to refrain from drug use. Also, sometimes withdrawal symptoms are so intense that it might seem more tempting to return to drugs instead of going through the process. 

What Is the Main Risk of Alcohol Withdrawal?

The main risk of alcohol withdrawal is developing delirium tremens, also known as DT’s or alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This complication can occur when individuals suddenly stop consuming alcohol. It is even more likely to occur following heavy and long-term alcohol use. Delirium tremens are potentially fatal and have a mortality rate of 5%. Symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal generally begin 6 to 24 hours after an individual had their last drink. 

Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Hyperthermia
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Restlessness and irritability 
  • Delusions
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Nausea

While it is true that the progression of symptoms varies from person to person, the actual severity of the symptoms can predict the actual risk of death. Drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and nicotine have less noticeable physical dependence. But, these drugs can produce unpleasant and severe withdrawal symptoms that can make life emotionally difficult and uncomfortable. A big danger of quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey is that the individual’s body will lose tolerance to drugs and alcohol quickly, so if the person were to relapse and take their usual amount of the drug, they have a higher risk of overdose. 

What Factors Impact Your Success With the Cold Turkey Method?

There are numerous factors that impact your success with quitting drugs cold turkey. You might ask, “What happens when you quit drinking cold turkey?” Or “Is it bad to quit drinking cold turkey?” Below are some more reasons why you shouldn’t attempt cold turkey. 

The drug you are addicted to – The drug that your body is dependent on can make a huge difference in the type of withdrawal symptoms you may experience along with the severity. Drugs such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and heroin are highly addictive and can lead to potentially serious withdrawal. 

The severity of your addiction – The more you use a drug and the length of time determines how heavily dependent the brain and body will be on the substance. The more severe your addiction is, the more intense your withdrawal symptoms will be. 

Co-occurring medical and mental health conditions – Medical conditions and psychological issues can certainly complicate drug withdrawal. These factors can make quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey potentially dangerous and more unpredictable. 

What Happens to Your Body When You Suddenly Stop Using Drugs?

Many withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop drugs cold turkey:

  • Stomach cramping or pain 
  • Agitation and irritability 
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Mental fogginess
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Pain sensitivity 
  • Muscle aches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression 
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea 
  • Anxiety 

Withdrawing from some drugs dangerous side effects:

  • Blood pressure changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Tachycardia
  • Delusions 
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Why Is Medical Supervision for Drug Abstinence the Safest?

Medical supervision for drug abstinence is the safest option because when you’re quitting drugs cold turkey under the management of a physician, they can give you medication to lessen withdrawal effects. In several cases, a brief time in a detox program can present to be the safest option with the medical staff on hand just in case of a medical emergency. The medical staff is also able to assist with providing:

  • Medications intravenously if you are struggling with a significant amount of vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea
  • Hydration 
  • Nutrition 

After completing detoxification, it is best to enter a rehabilitation program. A partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program may be helpful. 

Starting the Detox Journey Today at Orlando Treatment Solutions

Now that you are aware of the negative effects to end the use of drugs and alcohol by yourself. The great news is you don’t have to do this alone. We want you to detox safely, experience as few withdrawal symptoms as possible, and avoid relapse. Contact us today to get started. Orlando Treatment Solutions is here for you!

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