Man considers quitting alcohol cold turkey

Quitting Drinking Cold Turkey: 7 Myths to Know

An estimated 14 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder, and some studies report numbers as high as 18 million. If you’re suffering from the effects of alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. Alcohol is one of the easiest drugs to fall victim to and one of the most difficult drugs to quit given its social acceptance and widespread availability.

Not only is alcohol easy to get addicted to, but it can also be dangerous to quit. Alcohol is one of only a few drugs with withdrawal symptoms that can lead to death. Unfortunately, many of those with alcohol use disorders attempt to quit drinking cold turkey, which puts them at the highest risk for grave consequences. There are plenty of myths out there concerning quitting alcohol cold turkey, and there are also alcohol addiction treatment programs that can help you begin recovery with a strong foundation.

1. Quitting Cold Turkey Is the Best Way

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Quitting alcohol cold turkey is never recommended because your body will go through withdrawal symptoms, and these symptoms can include life-threatening ones, such as:

  • Seizures
  • Gastric bleeding
  • Delirium tremens
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Many treatment centers will advise you to wait until you arrive to quit drinking. The safest way to quit alcohol is gradually with the help of medication and medical monitoring that will prevent life-threatening symptoms.

2. You Can Do It on Your Own

Many who attempt to quit alcohol cold turkey believe that they can safely do it on their own. This is a profoundly dangerous myth. You can’t do it safely on your own, no matter how little or how infrequently you drink.

Those attempting to quit on their own or at higher risk for severe relapse due to the lack of accountability. Withdrawing from alcohol is just as strenuous psychologically as it is physically, so having the support of others is very crucial. Seeking treatment at The Ranch PA’s drug recovery center gives you the proper support and medical attention you need to safely detox.

3. You’ve Quit Before on Your Own, So You Can Do It Again

It’s been proven that those quitting cold turkey and experiencing seizures and delirium are more likely to have gone through detox in the past. What this important correlation means is that the more times you quit cold turkey, the more at risk you are to experience life-threatening symptoms.

4. Quitting Cold Turkey Is Easy if You Only Drink on Weekends

If you’re a binge drinker, you may believe quitting cold turkey will be easy since you go most of the week without a drink. This is the typical mindset of many college-aged young adults who party on the weekends and study during the week. However, this is also one of the most dangerous mindsets. As long as you’re exposing your brain and body to alcohol on a regular basis, especially if in large amounts, you are still at risk for serious withdrawal symptoms.

In fact, binge drinking, with its repeated periods of intoxication followed by detox, has profound effects on the brain, resulting in an increased risk of seizures and cognitive deficits. In essence, as a binge drinker, you are at higher risk of serious complications should you quit cold turkey.

5. Minor Withdrawal Symptoms at First Aren’t Dangerous

The most serious results of quitting cold turkey may not develop until five days later. Delirium tremens, or “DTs” as they are commonly called, include profound confusion and disorientation, hallucinations, hyperactivity, seizures, and extreme disturbances of the cardiovascular system. Even if you’ve only experienced minor symptoms, or perhaps none at all, it does not mean you are not at risk of a grand mal seizure, heart attack, or stroke.

6. Your Friends Can Monitor You

It might seem like a good idea to detox under the supervision of others, but even your best friends and most trusted family members can’t provide the supervision you need. To the untrained eye, telltale signs of withdrawal may seem like manageable side effects of quitting alcohol cold turkey. No amount of supervision can take the place of medically monitored detox. Some signs that initially appear mild may actually be the warning signs of more serious withdrawal symptoms yet to occur. A properly trained team of medical professionals can set you on the path to fully healing and taking your life back.

7. Paying for Treatment Is a Waste of Money

This logic is understandable, considering the many expenses that households need to account for on a monthly basis. However, if you don’t pay to safely detox at a professional detox facility, it’s very likely that you’ll end up in the emergency room or hospital due to the withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience. Those medical bills certainly aren’t going to be any cheaper than the cost of detoxing at a respectable facility. Go to a detox center and detox the correct way and you’ll reduce the risk of needing medical help.

Find Evidence-Based Alcohol Addiction Treatment at The Ranch PA

The first step in the long path of recovery is admitting you have a problem, however, acknowledgment, willpower, or resolve are not enough to quit drinking. Withdrawal is difficult and cravings can be overwhelming. It is paramount to seek evidence-based approaches.

At The Ranch PA, we offer:

  • Medication to ease withdrawal symptoms and curb cravings
  • Highly effective behavioral therapies
  • Support groups
  • Inpatient and residential alcohol detox

Begin the journey to recovery today by speaking confidentially to a The Ranch PA recovery advisor. Call us at 717.969.9126 and take the first step on the road to sobriety.

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