What Is Detoxing “Cold Turkey”?
Detoxing cold turkey is a phrase that essentially means you’re self-detoxing. Self-detoxing is normally a process in which you simply stop drinking, using drugs, or taking your medications without any professional help in dealing with withdrawal symptoms and without a detoxification program in place.
Why Is Detoxing Cold Turkey Dangerous?
Detoxing cold turkey is dangerous for a few reasons including:
- The potential for life-threatening side effects
- The potential for relapse
- The risk of overdose
The first and most important reason to get help with withdrawal symptoms and detoxification is the risk of life-threatening side effects. Not all drug or alcohol cessation situations will be life-threatening. However, it’s hard to tell what kind of situation you’ll be in until you’re in it. A professional can monitor your symptoms and treat them as they arise, making the withdrawal process easier to manage.
The next reason to seek help during detox is the risk of relapsing. For instance, if you stop using an opiate drug, you may make it four or five days without before the symptoms become overbearing and too bothersome to ignore any longer. In a detoxification program, those symptoms could be mitigated to help you through the remaining time of detox. However, if you’re at home or alone, you don’t have the help you need, making it more likely for you to resort to substance use in order to relieve those symptoms.
In doing so, you may increase your risk of overdose. In an effort to get rid of withdrawal symptoms quickly, you may get the urge to use a higher dose of drugs or drink more than you normally would. This could lead to an overdose, hospitalization, or even fatal consequences. Because of these risks involved with cold turkey detox, it’s important to always work with a medical professional when you want to detox; it’s safer for you mentally and physically. It is better to be in the hands of professionals who can help should any complications arise.
Depending on the kind of substance you use, detoxing cold turkey can be dangerous and even life-threatening. For example, sudden alcohol cessation can cause these symptoms:
- Delirium tremens
Opioid withdrawal symptoms might include:
- Sleep problems
- Frequent yawning
- Flu-like symptoms
- Profuse sweating
- Muscle aches
Benzo withdrawal symptoms might include the following:
- Memory problems
Withdrawal from cocaine may lead to the following symptoms:
- Irritable mood
Individuals who are withdrawing from meth abuse may experience:
- Suicidal ideation
- An increase in appetite
- Intense cravings for meth
- Symptoms of psychosis (hallucinations, paranoia, etc.)
The type and severity of withdrawal symptoms a person experiences will vary. Factors include the kind of substance a person was using, the length of time they were using it, and the frequency of use.
In many cases, withdrawal can be more than simply “uncomfortable.” It can be dangerous and life-altering. As a result, it is important to seek help from a medical professional when choosing to end substance use.
More About the Symptoms of Withdrawal
Of course, there are many other symptoms as well. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms normally arise within 12 to 24 hours after your last drink. At that point, individuals may suffer some visual, tactile, or auditory hallucinations. These symptoms tend to end within 48 hours. (It is important to note that these sensations are not the same as delirium tremens, though, since DT is a life-threatening condition.)
In a typical withdrawal situation, seizures are possible. They tend to strike within 24 to 48 hours after your last drink. They can begin as soon as two hours after your last drink. If you’ve detoxed in the past, you’re more likely to suffer a seizure if you stop drinking suddenly.
If you experience these symptoms, you may be suffering from delirium tremens and need medical help immediately:
- Severe anxiety
- Profuse sweating
- Hallucinations that can’t be distinguished from reality
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats
- Low-grade fevers
- Severe tremors
The symptoms of DT tend to peak within five days of cessation. These symptoms need to be monitored in a medical facility because they can lead to death.
What Happens If I’m In Alcohol or Drug Withdrawal from Detoxing Cold Turkey?
Depending on the kind of substance you use, your medical doctor may prescribe medications and therapies to help you through withdrawal in a safe manner. For example, if you’ve detoxed from alcohol cold turkey, then your doctor may prescribe these drugs to get you back on track and to treat withdrawal:
- Phenytoin, which is an anticonvulsant
- Clonidine, which helps manage blood pressure
- Antipsychotics to reduce or relieve agitation and hallucinations
- A beta-blocker, which can help relieve a fast heart rate and reduce high blood pressure related to withdrawal
- Benzodiazepines, which can be used to sedate a patient in some cases and will treat shakiness and anxiety
If you are working to end substance use in your life, it is important to reach out for professional help. Medical attention is almost always necessary in cases of substance use withdrawal. So, if you are currently experiencing withdrawal symptoms after quitting substance use cold turkey, the best thing for you to do is get in contact with medical professionals.
Here at Coastal Detox in Stuart, Florida, we work to provide our clients with the best of care. We offer expertise and compassion in an effort to make our patients as comfortable as possible. Our detox programs help people safely work through withdrawal and the beginning stages of recovery.
Whether you are working to overcome alcoholism or you desire to end drug abuse in your life, it’s best to get help to prevent any unnecessary complications and challenges. To do so, you should receive treatment and detox services at a detoxification center. Thankfully, you can find a professional and understanding staff here at Coastal Detox. We are ready and willing to help you kick start your recovery through detoxification.
Let Coastal Detox Assist You Today!
Alcohol and drug abuse can be difficult to deal with, but stopping cold turkey is a recipe for withdrawal. Instead of struggling through a painful withdrawal process, you can work with a medical team to overcome those side effects in a controlled environment.
To learn more about the programs that can help you, call us today to speak with someone about substance abuse and detoxification. Gain more information about the programs available at our detox center. We can help you learn more about the programs in your area and find one that suits your needs as an individual.