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Quitting drugs, alcohol or any other substance is a very challenging and complex process. Treatment for substance abuse disorder generally includes a detoxification process combined with different psychotherapies. The whole treatment process is done under medical supervision to mitigate life-threatening risk arising due to withdrawal symptoms and relapse.

However, some people might find it easier to stop taking drug, alcohol, tobacco or any substance abruptly rather than gradually tapering off from the substance or opting for medical supervision. This sudden weaning off addictive substances is known as quitting cold turkey. It is called cold turkey because a person experiences gooseflesh due to withdrawal symptoms days after quitting any substance. The skin of the person resembles cold turkey in the fridge.

Such people are under a delusion that they won’t have the urge for the substance once they refrain from it. They are oblivious from the risk of withdrawal symptoms.  Studies show that cold turkey might be effective in some cases such as quitting cigarette, alcohol and tobacco. But it can be dangerous and life-threatening in case of quitting opioids and other harmful drugs. Cold turkey is quite dangerous for quitting drugs because drugs make significant changes in the brain chemistry of the person, therefore quitting it abruptly leads to acute withdrawal symptoms, including death.

The general physical withdrawal symptoms when someone quits substances include:

The emotional withdrawal symptoms include:

What are the Risks involved in going cold turkey? 

There is enormous amount of risk involved in going cold turkey. But the severity of risk also depends on the type of substance abused.

For instance, when someone decides to quit smoking, there is no serious health risk involved in going cold turkey. However, the person might again have the urge to smoke without family support.

In case of severe alcohol dependency, going cold turkey can compound several life-threatening risks. One of the risks involved is onset of delirium tremens (DT) within 48 hours of quitting and that can last up to five days. This withdrawal symptom can lead to confusion, affecting brain function, blood circulation and breathing. According to various studies mortality rate due to DT is nearly 37%— without appropriate treatment.

Drugs such as opioids, heroin, cocaine and Methamphetamine can lead to serious health issue or even death if a person opts to go cold turkey to quit these drugs. The reason for these life-threatening conditions on abruptly stopping these drugs is that these drugs make changes in the central nervous system developing a dependency on the drug. Going cold turkey leads to withdrawal symptoms, which can be very dangerous involving life-threatening medical conditions such as seizure, acute dehydration and heart issues.

Tips to relinquish substance abuse

There are several healthier ways to quit substance. Below are some of the options to consider:

How to quit smoking?

If a person decides to quit smoking, available treatments are:

How to quit Alcohol?

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH), 14.5 million people are suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder in United States. Quitting alcohol by cold turkey can be life-threatening. For alcohol use disorder, medical supervision and proper treatment plan is imperative. The treatment plans involves:

How to quit drugs?

The appropriate treatment plan to quit drugs includes:

How we can help?

Mission Recovery is dedicated to helping people grappling with drug or alcohol abuse. We have the best alcohol rehabilitation center and drug rehabilitation center in California. Our treatment plans include detox therapy, partial hospitalization therapy, residential programs, and intensive inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. We provide customized treatment programs to our clients based on medical assessment. To know more about our treatment plan, call us at our toll free number 855-355-1116. You can also chat with our online representative to know more about us.

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