Is Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey Dangerous?

You wake up one morning and decide that today will be the day you turn your life around. Today is the day you’re quitting drugs, cold turkey. When a moment of inspiration overcomes us, it’s normal to want to just jump in. It’s the burning desire to take back control over your life. But it’s important to know that quitting cold turkey may leave you more out of control than before. 

What Is the Cold Turkey Method? 

The cold turkey method consists of quitting all substances entirely and at once. This is much more intense on the body, and arguably much less safe than going through with medical detox to attain sobriety. Medical detox rids the body of all substances slowly, in a controlled setting, under the supervision of medical professionals. Usually, the cold turkey method is done in one’s home and without proper support, which is why it’s a risky approach. 

What Exactly Are The Risks of Choosing the Cold Turkey Method? 

The two biggest battles one faces with the cold turkey method are cravings and withdrawal. Likely, by the time it is evident you have a substance abuse disorder, you are already dependent on the drug to remain balanced and feeling happy. When you stop it suddenly, your body will work really hard to rid the chemicals of your body to return to its natural state, which is when the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms occur. This can be extremely dangerous because of the following side effects:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Irregular heart rate 
  • Seizures 
  • death

Who Would Benefit From the Cold Turkey Method? 

The effectiveness of this method depends on these three factors: 

  1. The substance you are dependent on 

The more a drug alters your natural physical and mental state, the more severe the withdrawal will be. Substances such as heroin and other opioids are known to have some of the most severe withdrawal effects. Anyone with a dependency on drugs such as opiates would likely be advised against the cold turkey method as withdrawal effects can be potentially fatal if not done with proper medical intervention. 

  1. How long you’ve had a substance abuse disorder

The longer you’ve been abusing a substance, the more dependent you become. As a result, the longer you’ve been dependent on a substance, the more severe the withdrawal effects will be.

  1. Underlying mental and/or medical conditions
  2. Someone with a substance issue that also has a mental or medical condition can cause more extreme side effects with the cold turkey approach. Ones that are much more unpredictable. Psychosis and seizures are just two of the many negative results that can occur when using the cold turkey method.

For these reasons, it’s important to always consult with a medical professional before undergoing the cold turkey method. Seeking out a detox facility or a rehabilitation center is the safest way to go through withdrawal. In California alone, 8% of people have substance use disorders, and only 10% of them receive treatment. Are you or a loved one suffering from a substance abuse disorder in the California area? Seek out a rehabilitation facility near you. Are your drinking habits taking over your life? Seek out a facility near you such as an “Alcohol Rehab Center in Northridge” so you can finally have the control over your life that you deserve.