When a person consumes large amounts of alcohol frequently, their brain will adjust over time and get used to the effects. If they stop drinking cold turkey, they can experience signs of withdrawal that include both mental and physical symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can occur as soon as the person’s blood-alcohol level lowers and can be severe or even fatal. Quitting cold turkey from drinking can be dangerous.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
For some people, withdrawing from alcohol can cause headaches or nausea. Some people may become fatigued and have anxiety or depression. Others may experience the following:
- Trouble sleeping
Withdrawing from alcohol can be different depending on the person and the amount of alcohol they regularly consume. It is common for a person who is withdrawing from alcohol to experience an imbalance of electrolytes, dehydration, and malnutrition.
Dangers of Quitting Drinking Cold Turkey
For some people who have been heavy drinkers for a long amount of time, quitting cold turkey may result in serious problems, including seizures. A serious problem that can occur from quitting cold turkey is delirium tremens or DTs. DTs often cause symptoms such as tremors, confusion, and extreme sensitivity and occur due to a change in the chemistry of the brain and central nervous system. A person who is experiencing DTs is considered to be in a life-threatening medical emergency and should seek immediate medical attention since their situation can worsen over time and result in death.
Not only do some people experience DTs, but some may develop a fever, have hallucinations, and become disoriented. Stopping drinking cold turkey can even result in a rapid heart rate or high blood pressure.
Options to Quit Drinking
If you or a loved one is trying to quit drinking and has fears of withdrawal, seeking help from a professional is a wise option. Many resources are available that can provide the assistance you need when quitting drinking. Supervised options that are safe and effective include:
- Medically supervised detox
- Alcohol addiction treatment program
While detoxing under medical supervision, you will be monitored closely for signs of withdrawal and symptoms will be managed accordingly. If you choose to quit alone, this is not possible.
After detox from alcohol, treatment for alcohol addiction may consist of individual and group therapies, one-on-one counseling, medication, 12-step meetings, and continued support.
Relapse After Quitting Cold Turkey
If you quit drinking cold turkey without a supervised detox, you may be at higher risk for relapse. Since withdrawing from alcohol can be painful and unpleasant, many people give in to the urge to take a drink to ease symptoms and stop the pain.
A lasting recovery from alcohol addiction requires ongoing support and the creation of new healthy habits. To stay sober, you may need to build a network of support. You can find a wide variety of 12-step meetings that can connect you with others who share the same journey and experience.
Benefits of Quitting Alcohol
Alcohol can have negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health. When you quit drinking, you may experience many positive side effects, including:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of certain cancers, such as liver, breast, oral, and esophageal
- Improved cognitive function
- Better-looking skin
- Healthy weight
- Improved mood and better mental health
- Reduced risk of heart problems, including heart attack
When you quit drinking, the benefits are endless. You may begin to enjoy life like never before. You can develop new habits and find activities and interests that you can do while staying sober. Long-term recovery is possible if you put in the work and replace old behaviors and habits with healthy new ones.
Detox Help Is Available
The thought of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol can be overwhelming and frightening. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction and need help, we at Twin Lakes Recovery Center can address your specific needs. We offer drug and alcohol detox services as the first step in our treatment process. Our experienced staff is available 24 hours a day and will help you detox in a safe and comfortable home-like setting. As part of the detox process, we can administer medication to help ease the pain and discomfort and can create an individualized plan of care. To find out more about our programs and services, contact one of our addiction specialists to set up a confidential consultation.