5 Key Facts About Quitting an Addiction Cold Turkey

posted by Chris Valentine

Are you fighting addiction? Do you want to quit your choice substance but can’t seem to find the will power?

You are not alone. In 2017, it is estimated that 19.7 million people, age 12 and older battled some sort of substance abuse issue. Quitting an addiction can be as scary as fighting it on a daily basis.

We’re going to discuss 5 facts that you should consider before taking the first step to stopping your use cold turkey. Keep reading for more information!

1. Relapse is Likely

When choosing to quit any drug or alcohol without help, there is a high risk of relapse before detox is complete. This is due to your body becoming sick when it doesn’t have the drugs it is used to–and the need to relieve those symptoms.

There is also a chance that your well-intentioned friends may want to ‘help’ your sickness by giving you any amount of the drug you crave. If you choose the ‘cold turkey program,’ prepare your home by removing any temptations and kindly ask active users to not stop by.

2. Detox Will Feel Like Death

Although you may feel as though you are dying, the chances of death from quitting most drugs is relatively small. Alcohol and benzodiazepines are exceptions to this. Should you decide to stop using either of these substances, seizures may develop and could lead to death.

It is also worth noting that during opioid detox and withdrawal, vomiting and diarrhea may occur, causing severe dehydration. If left untreated, severe dehydration can cause death.

3. Withdrawal can Last for Months

Even after you begin feeling better about a week after detox, you aren’t out of the woods. The after-effects of abusing drugs and alcohol can linger for up to 18 months.

This is called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS.

During this time, you may experience mood swings, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and even chronic pain. Quitting an addiction cold turkey, without the help of trained professionals means you will not have coping skills to deal with these new feelings.

It is advisable to seek counseling, therapy, or the help of a support group in comings months to lessen the chance of relapse.

4. Detox Made Easy

Private insurance often covers inpatient drug rehab, but costs can be prohibitive to the uninsured. Luckily, there are centers that specialize in medical detox and can help you through the initial withdrawal process.

Whether you want to quit heroin, alcohol, or benzodiazepines, a detox center will be able to minimize the symptoms of withdrawal. The staff may also help you find affordable treatment options should you change your mind about quitting cold turkey.

5. You May Have Phantom Pain

The brain can and will play tricks on you when you decide to quit an addiction. These ‘tricks’ often include various body aches because your pain tolerance has been lowered.

This is simply your brain attempting to make you consume some sort of mind-altering substance and throw you off course. Phantom pains can occur when detoxing from almost any substance but are especially common in opiate withdrawal.

Successfully Quitting an Addiction

If you want to proceed with quitting an addiction by using the cold turkey method, preparation is essential. You will need plenty of fluids, healthy food, and a great support system.

Ideally, you will have a sober friend on speed dial or sober family member that can stay with you. Additionally, take time to research the detox timeline for your particular drug of choice.

Should the symptoms become too much to handle, seeking professional help is not looked down upon–it will help you to start your new sober journey. Contact us for more support. Best of luck!

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