Author: Charles Frank

Quit Drinking Cold Turkey

how to stop drinking cold turkey

If you drink heavily, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be harsh, dangerous, and even fatal. For this reason, it’s generally best to avoid quitting abruptly, or at bare minimum speak with a doctor first and have someone looking out for you. Remember, quitting drinking is not easy, but with the right approach and support system, it is possible. If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, know that there are resources available to help you on your journey to recovery. In addition, seeking professional help can be a crucial step in the recovery process.

These substances cause physical changes in the brain that lead to severe cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them. This is why it’s always best to find some form of long-term support in sobriety. Support groups, from Alcoholics Anonymous to SMART Recovery, are one free way to find a community of people on the same journey. There are also a number of anti-craving medications to help you avoid drinking again, or even help with your tapering process. Finally, finding a therapist or a recovery coach can help you develop new coping mechanisms and move forward in your life.

Developing delirium tremens (DTs) is the main risk of alcohol withdrawal. Also known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome, this complication can occur when people suddenly stop drinking. It is more likely following long-term, heavy alcohol use and is potentially fatal, with a mortality rate of around 5%. Proper hydration and nutrition play a crucial role in supporting your body’s recovery during alcohol withdrawal. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and consume a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Proper nourishment can help alleviate some withdrawal symptoms and promote overall well-being.

Myth #3: You Can Quit Drinking Cold Turkey Without Help

Alcohol also changes your brain chemistry, which can result in higher levels of anxiety and depression for the first several months. Finally, just because you’ve gotten past the withdrawal phase doesn’t mean you won’t continue to face psychological aspects of addiction—including alcohol cravings and drinking triggers. Tapering is meant to reduce the withdrawal symptoms from quitting alcohol, but this isn’t a guarantee. As mentioned above, many people will still experience some level of withdrawal, just to a lesser degree. This may work for many people, but in practice each individual will respond best to a different pace, and each doctor will have their own recommendations. The risk of tapering too slowly is that you won’t stick with it, while the risk of tapering too fast is severe withdrawal.

The body’s vital signs, like your heart rate or blood pressure, can shift dramatically. Various severe complications can result, including metabolic problems, cardiac issues, and delirium tremens (DTs). Start by estimating how much you drink on a daily basis—and be honest with yourself. It can help to make use of standard drink measurements, as mentioned above.

BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. The extent of the severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the seriousness of the addiction. If you have alcohol use disorder, pour out all of the alcohol in your fridge and pantry. Take any unused medications to a police station or other authorized collection site. Research on quitting smoking is mixed, but some studies have found abrupt stopping to be more effective than a gradual reduction. Various factors such as how much the person has been drinking, how long they have been drinking, and their age will play a role in how the process of quitting unfolds.

how to stop drinking cold turkey

Another danger of quitting cold turkey is that your body loses its tolerance to the substance consumed. So, if you relapse and then take your usual amount of the drug, you have a higher risk of overdose. Plus, some people feel that they can more easily separate themselves from the world of drug use if they do so completely. Quitting cold turkey enables them to avoid all the people, places, and other reminders of the substance so they can start sobriety afresh.

If you are ready to quit drinking, look for high-quality rehab facilities that fit your needs and will help you along your recovery journey. While some people may only experience minor effects of alcoholism, some face extreme discomfort and pain. When it comes to drugs, only benzodiazepines have been shown to reduce the risk of fatal complications resulting from seizures and delirium tremens. Regular over-the-counter medicines can help with more benign parts of alcohol withdrawal syndrome, like headache and nausea.

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In conclusion, quitting drinking cold turkey is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s important to seek professional help and to have a support system in place. Recovery is a journey, and it’s important to be patient with yourself. Remember that there are several treatment options available, and it’s important to explore all options to find the one that works best for you. While some people may be able to quit drinking cold turkey on their own, it’s not recommended.

  1. While some people may only experience minor effects of alcoholism, some face extreme discomfort and pain.
  2. Research on quitting smoking is mixed, but some studies have found abrupt stopping to be more effective than a gradual reduction.
  3. While the progression of symptoms varies from one person to the next, the severity of symptoms can predict the risk of death.
  4. Their mood and well-being will likely continue to improve for around a week to two weeks.
  5. Negative side effects tend to occur when the individual has some degree of dependence.
  6. Behavioral therapy is another effective treatment option for those struggling with alcohol addiction.

Treatment professionals at a substance abuse facility can help you manage your pain with various medications. Your brain eventually stops creating certain chemicals that it receives from alcohol, leading to alcohol dependence and addiction. That is why when you quit drinking, it takes time for your body to change. The first thing to do once you’ve decided to quit is to call your doctor or healthcare provider. The safety of quitting cold turkey depends on the substance you’re trying to quit. Risky withdrawal symptoms are not limited to the above.3 Learn more about alcohol withdrawal here and, once again, speak to a doctor first.

Inform Your Support Network

In 2020, Chrissy Teigen announced that she was going sober, for example. Figures from the CDC show that around 95,000 deaths are attributed to alcohol-related causes every year in the country, making the substance the third-leading cause of preventable death. While the progression of symptoms varies from one person to the next, the severity of symptoms can predict the risk of death. Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring best-selling author Mallory Ervin, shares how to overcome addiction and live a full life.

Find Effective, Evidence-Based Treatment in the Relay Program for Alcohol Addiction

Quitting drinking cold turkey is a significant challenge, particularly for heavy drinkers. It’s crucial to approach this process with a well-thought-out plan and the support of healthcare professionals and loved ones. Remember, quitting drinking alcohol cold turkey can lead to serious health risks, so it’s essential to be informed and prepared. With the right support and strategies, you can navigate the path to sobriety and embrace a healthier lifestyle. It’s crucial to note that alcohol withdrawal can be unpredictable, and severe symptoms may require medical attention. Alcohol addiction causes chemical changes in the brain and the central nervous system, leading to physical dependence.

Before delving into the strategies to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, it’s vital to understand alcohol withdrawal and its potential risks. When you consume alcohol regularly and heavily, your body becomes accustomed to its presence. The sudden cessation of alcohol intake can lead to withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to functioning without it.

In a heavy, long-term alcohol drinker, the brain is regularly exposed to these depressant effects. Some people go cold turkey because they think it will be easier to stop taking the substance right away than to taper off. They believe they won’t be as tempted to use the drug or tobacco product if they just get rid of it. Weaning off alcohol gives your body chemistry a chance to adjust, reducing the shock to your system. It also lets you start working new habits and routines into your day to replace drinking, starting the transition.

Once the withdrawal symptoms subside, you can focus on other areas of recovery. Medical professionals can also help you feel more comfortable during this period in a treatment program. Medical professionals with experience will advise on the best way to safely quit alcohol.