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Can You Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey?

Can you quit alcohol cold turkey? It is a common misconception that someone who wants to stop drinking should no longer consume alcohol, beer, or liquor. It seems to make the most sense, but maybe only to those who have not experienced alcoholism first or secondhand. People who struggle with the disease of alcoholism also face the challenge of how to stop drinking safely. Quitting cold turkey can be extremely dangerous, but so can continuing to drink without any intervention.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a chronic disease where someone compulsively and uncontrollably consumes alcohol to the point where they are preoccupied with their drinking. In the United States alone, approximately 1 in 8 Americans is an alcoholic. Alcoholism is so pervasive throughout the country that if a person does not struggle with this disease themselves, they likely know someone who has. 

The signs and symptoms of alcoholism range in intensity based on how severe a person’s situation is. But, the vast majority of people who get caught up in the throes of alcoholism tend to experience a number of noticeable symptoms, such as:

  • Feeling unable to function without alcohol
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite the dangers of doing so
  • Changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • Experiencing mood swings 
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Not being able to stop drinking without experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Continuing to use alcohol even those the use has caused negative repercussions

Alcoholism is a treatable condition, however, many people who need and require professional care do not reach out to get it. When help is not obtained, the dangers of alcoholism multiply and intensify, creating even further chaos and distress. One of the most dangerous things an alcoholic can do is attempt to quit cold turkey, as this can lead to severe physical health complications, including death.

What Does “Cold Turkey” Mean?

The term “cold turkey” is a slang term used to describe suddenly stopping the consumption of drugs or alcohol after having consumed it for a long period of time. Someone who quits cold turkey is someone who goes from regularly drinking or doing drugs to no longer drinking or doing drugs at all. The reason why this action is referred to as “cold turkey” is that after suddenly quitting drugs or alcohol, most people experience withdrawal symptoms. One of these withdrawal symptoms includes goosebumps on the skin that resemble that of a cold turkey. Goosebumps can easily develop because it is one of the many ways that the body responds to no longer having alcohol in its system after having it present for a lengthy period of time.  

While many people quit nicotine or caffeine cold turkey and do not experience any life-threatening symptoms of doing so, that doesn’t mean everyone who wants to stop abusing a mind-altering substance can do so safely. So, can you quit alcohol cold turkey?

Can You Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey?

If you are addicted to alcohol, there is a big chance that you want to stop but just don’t see how that would be possible. You may fear what life will look like without alcohol and you may even be concerned that you won’t be able to get sober even if you try. These are all very common thoughts. You may then consider taking matters into your own hands and ending your alcoholism on your own by quitting cold turkey. But, can you quit alcohol cold turkey? The answer is complicated. 

Quitting alcohol cold turkey can be extremely dangerous. It can even cost you your life. That is why it is always in your best interest to seek professional help if you are addicted to alcohol and want to stop. With the help of professionals, you can properly detox from alcohol in a safe manner while surrounded by individuals capable of helping you do so. If you choose to quit cold turkey and attempt to detox on your own, you are running the risk of putting yourself at risk for experiencing a number of dangerous and deadly withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Shallow breathing
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Insomnia

Usually, those who have been heavily addicted to alcohol are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as these, however, it can be a crapshoot. There is no real way to determine if you will be one of those individuals who stop drinking and suffers minor withdrawal symptoms or if you will be someone who experiences the worst of the worst. That is why the question of “can you quit alcohol cold turkey” is more complex than just a simple “yes” or “no”. The best thing you can do if you want to stop drinking is to seek professional help prior to doing so. Being in the care of professionals who can guide you safely through this stage of your recovery is priceless.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Nashville

If you want to stop drinking alcohol, do not go it alone. Our team at Detox Nashville can help you get through this first step successfully and safely. Contact us right now by calling (615) 845-4747 to learn more about our services, our team, and what we can do for you or for a loved one struggling with alcohol addiction.