Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey—Is It Safe?

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Once you’ve made the conscious decision to quit using drugs or alcohol, you may decide to begin abstaining right then and there and without outside help. This method of quitting drugs and/or alcohol is commonly referred to as “quitting cold turkey” and is commonly done without the supervision of medical professionals. Before you decide to quit cold turkey, know that it may carry health risks depending on the types of drugs you use, your level of addiction, and the presence of any co-occurring mental health conditions.

What Are The Risks?

Quitting drugs and alcohol seems like a smart choice for your health and well-being, but by electing to quit cold turkey, you assume several health risks. The threat of relapse is higher when quitting cold turkey, and especially for hard drugs or alcohol, can be dangerous or deadly. A notable issue with this particular means of quitting is often it does not involve the support of medical help or the guidance of professionals, so going through the detoxing phases by yourself will be increasingly difficult. 

Any way you decide to quit abusing drugs and alcohol will result in you having a withdrawal phase. If you quit cold turkey from using heroin, opioids, or benzodiazepines, your withdrawal symptoms will be more severe than with other drugs. Similarly, if you have been a long-time drug abuser, then your withdrawal symptoms will be more intense since the drugs have altered your brain and bodily function, making your body more dependent on these substances and much harder to operate without them. If there are co-occurring mental health disorders or conditions present, detoxing can illicit volatile, potentially harmful behavior.

Severe side effects beyond the typical withdrawal symptoms are possible when choosing to quit cold turkey. These may include seizures, tremors, blood pressure changes, tachycardia, hallucinations, or coma. Having medical professionals monitor your withdrawal symptoms or side effects helps to bring down the risks of detoxing.

Quitting drugs or alcohol cold turkey, though a somewhat popular method of getting clean, is not without risks or side effects, especially if you abuse hard drugs or have a co-occurring disorder. To avoid the potentially dangerous side effects of quitting cold turkey, find a treatment program to offer the necessary resources,  oversight, and support to help navigate you through the challenging recovery phases of detox and withdrawal. At Avalon Malibu, we specialize in tailoring individual treatment programs to give our clients a safe, supported recovery treatment. With our team of professionals, we will find the right blend of holistic and clinical treatment to help you overcome your addiction obstacles and restore your mind, body, and spirit. Call us at (844) 857-5992 if you are finally ready to say “Yes!” to recovery.

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