Have you ever told yourself you could stop using whenever you felt like it? Ever wonder why you couldn’t maintain this idea even when you tried to quit cold turkey?
Quitting cold turkey is a debated topic regarding addiction, and it can be challenging and dangerous. There are times when slowly tapering off the substance you are using might prove to be useful, but treatment is about so much more than stopping drug use.
If you’re interested to learn more about going cold turkey, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our comprehensive guide about quitting cold turkey below.
What Does Quitting Cold Turkey Mean?
When you quit drinking cold turkey, it means you’ve stopped using or drinking immediately. Another form of quitting is slowly reducing the amount you’re using until you’ve entirely stopped needing the substance altogether.
When someone is dependent on a substance, it’s challenging to stop using, and often when they do, they begin to experience feelings of withdrawal. Depending on the substance someone has been using, this can make going through withdrawal on their own dangerous.
For example, someone that has consumed alcoholic beverages every day of their life might need the help of professionals before they consider detoxing. The reason is that in severe cases, alcohol withdrawal can lead to seizures and other problems.
Some substances, such as smoking nicotine, aren’t life-threatening if a person decides to quit cold turkey. But you can still expect to undergo some form of withdrawal symptoms when you decide to quit.
Why Do People Choose this Technique?
It’s not uncommon for people to choose to quit cold turkey because they often believe it’s easier than other forms of treatment. In the mind of someone addicted, quitting is best because they’ve stopped using the substance at once.
They believe that if they stop abruptly, it will reduce the temptation in their mind to keep using, which means the chances of them using again are less likely. Another common reason people choose the cold turkey method versus other methods is that they have to.
If their addiction is wreaking havoc on their bodies, it might seem like a better idea to stop immediately to keep the problem from continuing.
What Are the Risks?
Quitting cold turkey has its risks that you need to be aware of. Whenever you decide to quit using cold turkey, the risk of relapse is higher because you’ve not learned how to identify your triggers and the coping mechanisms you can use to deal with these triggers.
As mentioned previously, if you’re quitting alcohol cold turkey, while most cases aren’t severe, quitting can pose a significant health risk to you and your body. There are times when you might experience delirium tremens.
This is when someone becomes confused because the brain’s chemistry is changing. Mortality can occur if you experience DT, especially when there are no medical professionals on hand to stabilize them.
Some symptoms of DT include:
- Increase in hyperactivity
- Rapid heartbeat
- Insomnia and other sleeping issues
- Excessive sweating
People with addiction can become addicted to a variety of substances. No matter which substance you’re quitting, it can all have severe consequences if not done in the right setting.
Now that you understand the risks associated with quitting cold turkey, here are some benefits.
Withdrawal Stops Sooner
Everybody goes through withdrawal after they quit using, and the withdrawal process varies for each person. When you stop using cold turkey, the onset of withdrawal begins soon after.
This means you can get through the withdrawal process sooner rather than later. Keep in mind if you quit cold turkey, you’re going to get through withdrawal quicker than if you’d chosen the tapering method of quitting.
Quitting cold turkey and quitting, in general, has many benefits for your body. When you quit, your body can begin the process of returning itself to homeostasis.
It can also begin to heal itself and recover from the time you spent using. While your body does not ever return to the normal it was before drug use; you can find a new normal that involves living with a free mind and a body free of alcohol or drugs.
Tips to Quit
If you’re going to quit, the first thing you need to do is seek help from trained professionals. They will understand what you’re going through as you enter withdrawal and provide you with the support you need to get through it.
Another tip we have to offer is to treat underlying issues you have. If you have a mental health issue, it’s essential to take care of this issue because it can increase the substance use problems you’ve had in the past.
Besides, continuing to ignore a mental health issue doesn’t make it go away; it can make it worse. In treatment, you’ll learn how to cope with your mental health and different resources to tap into to make sure you always prioritize your health.
You should also seek counseling, which is something offered in treatment. In counseling, you can identify why you’ve continued to use and what triggers it. You can also revisit trauma and address it instead of running from your emotions and the impact that trauma has had on you.
Quit Cold Turkey 101
Deciding to quit cold turkey might seem like a great idea, and in some cases, it might work, but overall, it’s best to seek help before you decide to quit using drugs and alcohol. Are you ready to take the next step in your sobriety journey?
Get help from Cenikor; we believe in you and want to help you believe in yourself.