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Is Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey Safe?

brunette woman considering is quitting alcohol cold turkey safe

Is quitting alcohol cold turkey safe? The short answer is no. Quitting alcohol cold turkey can lead to serious health complications and even death. If you need help to stop alcohol use, an alcohol rehab center can provide the medical support you need to stop drinking.

Woodland Recovery Center offers alcohol detox and both inpatient and outpatient treatment services. If you need help stopping alcohol use safely, we can help. Call 662.222.2989 today to learn more about quitting alcohol at Woodland Recovery Center.

Is Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey Safe?

“Cold turkey” is the popular term for stopping substance use suddenly without cutting back or getting professional help.

Quitting alcohol cold turkey is often considered to be a matter of willpower. There’s a mindset that if only you can stick out the discomfort, you’ll come out the other side.

Unfortunately, this perception isn’t just wrong—it’s also damaging. Quitting alcohol cold turkey is highly dangerous. It’s also ineffective. Overcoming alcoholism goes far beyond simply saying no to a drink.

Effectively quitting alcohol for good requires developing an understanding of why alcohol use disorder develops and how to prevent it in the future. This type of support comes from a professional treatment program, not an at-home, cold-turkey detox.

Risks of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

Heavy alcohol use leads to physical dependence. This means that when alcohol use is suddenly stopped, the body’s equilibrium is thrown into shock. The physical sensations that accompany quitting alcohol cold turkey are known as withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are highly unpleasant. For some individuals, these symptoms can be so strong that they ultimately relapse out of a need for relief.

Some of the most common alcohol withdrawal symptoms that accompany quitting alcohol cold turkey include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Alcohol withdrawal can also trigger serious health issues. Some of the most common include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure

The risks of quitting alcohol cold turkey can also lead to severe health complications. When alcohol dependence is severe, it’s common for a person to experience complications that include:

  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens
  • Death

Delirium tremens is a highly dangerous condition that can develop as a result of suddenly depriving the body of the alcohol levels it is accustomed to. It can involve severe agitation, hallucinations, and loss of consciousness.

Delirium tremens is considered to be a medical emergency. If a person attempting cold-turkey alcohol detox experiences this condition, they need to be taken to an emergency room immediately.

How to Quit Alcohol Safely

If a person has developed a physical dependence on alcohol, the only safe way to quit is with professional support.

When you get help from a treatment center, your alcohol use and any other health conditions will be thoroughly evaluated. The treatment team will prescribe medications designed to safely help you detox from alcohol.

Medical professionals will also monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. You may need support with other aspects of physical health as well. Heavy alcohol use is often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies and other health conditions like anemia.

Getting professional help to stop alcohol dependence doesn’t just rid the body of alcohol. It also paves the way for lasting recovery. You’ll be connected to programs that can support mental and emotional health, offer education on addiction, and help you make a plan to achieve a lasting recovery from alcohol use disorder.

Get Help with Alcohol Addiction at Woodland Recovery Center

Don’t risk your health and your life by attempting to quit alcohol cold turkey. Working with a treatment center isn’t just safer—it’s also a far more comfortable way to achieve the same result with a much greater chance of success.

Call 662.222.2989 today to learn more about alcohol detox at Woodland Recovery Center.