What Does Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey Mean?

Quitting drugs “cold turkey” refers to the complete halt of taking a drug. This method of purging can be very dangerous and is difficult to sustain. We offer an array of programs to help treat drug and alcohol addictions. 

Dangers Of Quitting Cold Turkey?

An individual quitting drugs abruptly, or “cold turkey,” will experience symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms will vary depending on the type of drug and severeness of the dependency. General symptoms of withdrawal linked with quitting cold turkey include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Shaking
  • Feeling agitated or irritable 
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleeping problems
  • Concentration issues

In some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. For example in the case of alcohol withdrawal, seizures and delirium tremens (hallucinations, tremors, and more) can be fatal. Delirium tremens kill every 1 in 20 people who develop its symptoms. 

The spread of misinformation on the internet also poses a danger to the cold turkey method. A common misconception about withdrawal symptoms is that electrolytes and lots of water will decrease the severity. This is not true. Individuals should have professional medical supervision to assist them when detoxing.

quitting drugs cold turkey

Factors That Affect Success Of Quitting Cold Turkey

Without the help of medical professionals, there is an overwhelming number of variables that negatively affect recovery. Quitting drugs or alcohol cold turkey leaves you more vulnerable and at risk of relapse. 

Substance You Are Addicted To

As mentioned above, the type of drug you are addicted to will play a role in your path to sobriety. For example, alcohol withdrawal could include seizures, tremors, and hypothermia. 25% of patients even develop hallucinations. Opiate withdrawal usually presents itself in flu-like symptoms and can leave patients prone to infections. 

The extremity of Your Addiction

The severity of withdrawal symptoms often correlates with the severity of the addiction. In the case of barbiturates and benzodiazepines, the withdrawal is usually mild but can be severe in chronic users. Severe symptoms include seizures and the breakdown of muscle tissue, infecting the blood.

Co-Existing Conditions

Many addicts also suffer from additional medical or traumatic conditions. This increases the risk associated with withdrawal. A common symptom in recovery from cocaine abuse is depression and dysphoria. These symptoms can last for several weeks, as the recovery process is often very long. 

How Can You Avoid These Dangers?

Medication-assisted treatment is the best way to avoid the dangers of quitting cold turkey. Our medical professionals understand that withdrawal symptoms are severe and can cause lasting discomfort and pain. Providing prescription withdrawal medication helps minimize these effects. 

Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used prescription drug to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, according to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. They have the general effect of calming the nervous system, which in turn numbs the pain of withdrawal symptoms. The most commonly used Benzodiazepines are: 

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Oxazepam (Serax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

Quitting cold turkey and taking one of these prescriptions on your own can lead to the development of a new dependency. Here at Little Creek Lodge, these medications are administered with direct supervision from our medical professionals. Prescription intakes are closely monitored to ensure that all patients are safe. 

Relapse Statistics

Quitting a substance that you are dependent on takes a lot of willpower and requires support from loved ones. This necessary support and structure can be found in our treatment programs while quitting cold turkey can be very isolating. Quitting alcohol is a clear example of this. Without professional treatment or self-help programs, only about 20% of alcoholics can sustain their sobriety. 

A huge factor of success when quitting drugs and alcohol is aftercare. Detoxing is only the first step. We will help you move through the 5 stages of grief towards acceptance, practice mindfulness, and focus on spiritual growth. The Recreation Program is just one way we at Little Creek Lodge promote these ideologies and help guide you through your aftercare journey.

Starting Your Road To Sobriety

Quitting drugs cold turkey is an isolating experience with more cons than pros. The withdrawals can be dangerous without medical supervision and the sustainability rate is low. Here at Little Creek Lodge, we want you to have all of the tools you need to maintain your sobriety.  

Reach Out To Little Creek Recovery Today!

Our goal is to help guide you on your journey to sobriety mentally, physically, and spiritually. We know that accepting you have a problem and asking for help can be difficult. Don’t wait until it’s too late. To learn more about Little Creek Recovery and the programs we offer to help you, contact us today!



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