Can I Quit Drinking Cold Turkey?
When you drink alcohol for a long period of time, your body becomes physically and mentally dependent to alcohol. Regular abuse of alcohol causes a chemical change in your brain that alters the way your brain functions, so when your body doesn’t get the alcohol it has become accustomed to, it leads to agonizing withdrawal symptoms and alcohol cravings.
These withdrawal symptoms and cravings may seem impossible to resist when you don’t have the proper medications to ease them. This is only part of the reason why it is extremely challenging to quit drinking without medicine or to quit drinking ‘cold turkey’. If you think you may be dependent on alcohol and decide to stop drinking completely, it is important that you not go it alone. Here are some tips on how to recognize withdrawal symptoms so you can quit drinking alcohol safely.
What is it Like to Withdrawal From Alcohol?
As previously stated, if you drink alcohol on a regular basis or are a heavy drinker, it’s extremely dangerous to quit drinking cold turkey without the help of professionals. The detox process can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. When you make the decision to get sober, there are several factors that will influence the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.
Some of these may include:
- How long you have been abusing alcohol
- Your overall physical and mental health
- The amount of alcohol you have been consuming
- How often you drink to excess
- Any co-occurring mental or physical health disorders
Abusing alcohol means having alcohol in your system becomes the norm, so when you quit drinking, your central nervous system and your brain go into high alert in an attempt to restore balance. For heavy drinkers, the body naturally compensates for the lack of alcohol by increasing your hormones and brain chemicals, such as epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. If you choose to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, your body will become flooded with abnormally high levels of these chemicals in order to attempt to balance the normal functioning without the alcohol.
Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal
Quitting alcohol may put you at risk for common alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Seizures are often the first severe sign associated with alcohol withdrawal. It typically involves convulsions and involuntary muscle contractions. Withdrawal seizures may occur within 6-48 hours after you stop drinking alcohol. Without medical treatment, seizures often increase in duration and length of time.
- Delirium tremens (DTs)
- Approximately 30% of those who experience seizures will also experience DTs, which is considered a medical emergency. Delirium tremens generally occur within 24-48 hours after your last drink and are characterized by delirium, confusion, shakiness, and high blood pressure. Without proper medical assistance and supervision, DTs can put you at significant risk for lethal dehydration, head injuries, stroke or heart attack and choking on vomit. Studies have proven that DTs may result in death if not treated with extreme urgency.
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- As part of the process, your heart rate will naturally be erratic. When there is an unusual shift in temperature, breathing, and circulation it may contribute to a racing heart. You may also experience other blood circulation issues, such as high blood pressure.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Certain symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea and vomiting may last for at least a week after you stop drinking. Just like some of the other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, these issues occur as your brain tries to rebalance chemicals due to the absence of alcohol.
- Alcohol is a diuretic that increases the output of urine and it may increase sweating. Your body may already be dehydrated when you go into alcohol withdrawal, so during withdrawal, you may become even more dehydrated due to the vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration can lead to extremely dangerous electrolyte imbalances, which can throw off your central nervous system, leading to DTs, mental confusion, seizures, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Dehydration in extreme forms can lead to kidney failure and possibly be life-threatening.
Getting Sober at Newport Beach Recovery Center
Quitting alcohol cold turkey is not only dangerous, but it is also potentially life-threatening. The safest way to detox from alcohol in Orange County is in a medical setting with specially trained medical professionals. An additional benefit of being in a safe detoxification environment in California is that while you begin repairing the physical damage of alcohol abuse, you will have access to group and individual therapy and be taught the tools necessary to continue your recovery.
When getting sober in the Los Angeles area, medical professionals will allow you to safely quit alcohol. Doctors, nurses, and behavioral health technicians will be available to help ease the painful alcohol withdrawal symptoms with the safest as well as most effective doses of medications.
Participating in a clinical alcohol detox at Newport Beach Recovery Center means you and your symptoms are monitored around the clock to ensure you are safe and as comfortable as possible. If a patient experiences any life-threatening alcohol withdrawal symptoms, medical staff is readily available to treat whatever arises or transport the patient to the nearest hospital to absolutely ensure their safety.
Putting off today’s problems for tomorrow only makes the problem greater. Call us today at (855) 213-3869 to start your journey.