The Dangers of Quitting Cold Turkey

cold turkey

Addiction is an incredibly insidious disease. Nobody who starts drinking or using drugs does so because they hope to get hooked and destroy their health and relationships, but sadly, that’s precisely the outcome for many people. Freeing yourself from the cycle of substance abuse isn’t easy, and involves a lifelong commitment to sobriety. Some people mistakenly assume that abruptly quitting on their own – with no resources or support – is a shortcut to recovery. The reality is that they could be putting themselves in genuine danger. What are the risks you should know about?

Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Fatal

Depending on your substance of use, you may have developed both a psychological and a physical dependency on it. Your physical dependency means your brain needs an influx of the chemicals from the drug to maintain its equilibrium. If you’ve been drinking or using for years, and suddenly stop, your system becomes imbalanced. At this point, withdrawal is often the result.

Withdrawal symptoms include a range of both physical and emotional issues that vary in severity. These can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Disorientation
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Heart palpitations
  • Body aches and fever, like having a severe case of the flu
  • Shaking uncontrollably
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

What Makes At-Home Detox So Risky?

If you imagine how frightening and uncomfortable it would be to experience the symptoms listed above at home, without any medical supervision, you can understand why so many addicts relapse back into drug or alcohol use to make their pain and suffering go away. Even the most determined, self-reliant person can return to substance misuse after a bout of withdrawal.

Sadly, many people are unaware of how dangerous it can be to try to quit drinking and using on their own, with no help from medical professionals. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs to try to quit using outside of a medical setting, since alcoholics who quit cold turkey are prone to experiencing a severe, potentially fatal complication called delirium tremens. Benzodiazepines and opioids also cause intense, prolonged withdrawal symptoms that require professional monitoring and intervention from trained addiction specialists.

Find Your Freedom at New Found Life

If you’re struggling with addiction and have determined it’s time to reclaim your full potential, self-detox is not the answer. Medically managed detoxification, accompanied by an individual treatment plan, provides a robust foundation for the later stages of drug or alcohol rehab. Working with a therapist will help you address the root causes of your addiction and gives you the skill set necessary to avoid a future relapse.

New Found Life offers a complete evidence-based continuum of care to help recovering addicts in Long Beach, CA. We believe chemical dependency is a disease, and that in treatment, you can learn to take control of your life, manage your relapse triggers and make a full recovery. To discover what we can offer you, request help from our admissions team 24 hours per day, seven days a week.