Alcohol is legal and easy to obtain which is why it is one of the most commonly misused substances. While a few drinks here and there seem innocent, alcohol misuse often develops and it is difficult to quit drinking cold turkey. Quitting cold turkey is also dangerous because the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol are at the very least unpleasant, but can be so severe that they claim your life. People who drink in excess, which includes binge drinkers and heavy drinkers, can suffer devastating health consequences. But, just as excess drinking creates health issues, so does quitting alcohol cold turkey. It is important to seek help when choosing to stop drinking.
Why Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey is Difficult
Many drinkers think they can stop drinking whenever they want and that stopping suddenly is the fastest and easiest solution to kicking their drinking habit. This, however, is not the best solution because the withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even dangerous. Quitting cold turkey is extremely difficult because of cravings and withdrawal. After prolonged drinking, your brain is rewired to expect alcohol. When you suddenly stop drinking, your brain tells your body you need the alcohol and this causes intense cravings that can be nearly impossible to resist. When you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, you may be tempted to take another drink just to alleviate some of the discomfort that is caused by withdrawal.
Side Effects of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey
When you suddenly stop drinking alcohol after prolonged use, you can expect withdrawal symptoms to begin 24 to 48 hours after your last drink. When alcohol is no longer present in the body, the brain’s pleasure receptors are no longer being activated. This can lead to anxiety and depression. Other side effects that range from minor to life-threatening include:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
Attempting to quit drinking cold turkey puts you at risk for developing life-threatening health complications involving the liver, brain, heart and nervous system.
One of the most dangerous side effects of quitting alcohol cold turkey is that of delirium tremens. This rare neurological condition can be fatal without proper medical care. Individuals suffering from severe alcoholism can experience many complications associated with delirium tremens and some of these complications can include:
- Grand mal seizures
- Heart problems
- Violent outbursts
Safe and Effective Treatment
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 95,000 people die annually in the United States due to alcohol-related causes. Many of these deaths could be prevented with the proper treatment. If you are struggling with alcoholism, don’t try to solve the problem on your own. Help is available. You can depend on the professionals at Hickory Treatment Centers to give you personalized care and help you safely get through the withdrawal symptoms. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re in a safe environment where your symptoms are being closely monitored. While you’ll still experience withdrawal symptoms, they likely will be a lot less sever than if you were on your own. If you’re ready to take your life back and stop the addiction, contact the caring staff at Hickory Treatment Centers. We’re here to help you.