Addiction Withdrawal: Is Quitting Drugs or Alcohol “Cold Turkey” Safe?
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Addiction Withdrawal: Is Quitting Drugs or Alcohol “Cold Turkey” Safe?

November 21, 2016 Addiction Treatment

When a person reaches the point in their addiction when they are finally ready to say, “no more,” they might be tempted to quit “cold turkey” without considering the dangers of addiction withdrawal. While quitting drugs and alcohol is a healthy pursuit – and one that must be sought in order to safeguard health, happiness, and overall well-being, it should never be done alone or unsupervised by medical staff. In short, quitting drugs and alcohol cold turkey when one is addicted to either of these substances can be very dangerous.

Dehydration During Addiction Withdrawal

One of the dangers associated with addiction withdrawal is dehydration. When one is addicted to alcohol or drugs and stops using these substances cold turkey, withdrawal symptoms are inevitable–and can be both severe and debilitating. Dehydration is quite common for someone experiencing withdrawal symptoms like profuse sweating and vomiting. Moreover, a sufferer may in no condition to help themselves to water or fluids that could replenish those lost in the withdrawal process. Although common, one should never underestimate the serious nature of dehydration. When a person becomes dehydrated, their body’s functions and even organs can begin to shut down, a situation requiring emergency medical care.

Addiction Withdrawal: Is Quitting Drugs or Alcohol "Cold Turkey" Safe?

Physical and Mental Health Complications

Aside from dehydration, other serious complications can occur as a result of withdrawal symptoms. Some sufferers may experience severe seizures. Seizures are associated with accidents like falling down stairs or simply falling down and suffering a trauma to the head. Addiction withdrawal can be so severe that the individual can suffer cardiac arrest. Other people may experience profound psychological problems resulting in suicidal thoughts.

Likelihood of a Potential Relapse

While the above-listed risk factors are life-threatening, relapse and its health consequences can be serious and just as deadly. It is not uncommon for people who have quit cold turkey to relapse either during the withdrawal process or after. When withdrawal symptoms become severe, it’s quite natural for a sufferer to reach for the addictive substance in order to end the onslaught of withdrawal symptoms. Others may get through withdrawal only to succumb to abusing alcohol and drugs again because they have not addressed the mental and behavioral dependencies at a recovery center.

Medical Detox for Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Post-Detox Treatment

Alcohol and drug programs are designed to help people safely manage their addictions. Medical detox is the best way to overcome the physical dependency on alcohol or drugs. Sufferers can be safely weaned off the addictive substance at a recovery center. Their withdrawal symptoms can be reduced with medical interventions and their health can be monitored 24/7 so that if any complications begin to arise, they can be headed off with medications or other treatments. Once detox is safely completed, sufferers can then begin further essential treatment that targets the psychological and behavioral components of their substance addiction. According to experts, this is the ideal way to manage addiction and to help guard against relapse.

If you are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, quitting cold turkey–while tempting and admirable in some light–is simply too dangerous to be attempted. Call The Discovery House today at 1 (855) 203-7930 and our treatment specialists will meet you where you are at in your journey and help toward a foreseeable path to recovery. Once you discover the signs of addiction, it’s important to seek out the best alcohol treatment centers or drug rehabs where you can safely undergo the detox process and begin your road to recovery.

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