Some people fail to put alcohol addiction in the same class as addiction to harder narcotics. For this reason some individuals think it’s safe to just stop drinking, cold turkey. This is false. Alcohol can cause intense and dangerous withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you should understand why it’s not safe to stop drinking cold turkey.
You’ll experience extreme discomfort that could put your health at risk if you stop drinking suddenly. You’re going to start shaking and will sweat for hours at a time, sometimes straight through the night. Severe nausea and vomiting will occur, and you can become dehydrated. Your sleep schedule will be disrupted by insomnia. Days of these uncomfortable symptoms can actually lead to problems that are more serious during the withdrawal period.
Depression and Psychological Changes
You’re going to experience psychological changes as the alcohol leaves your body. Most people become very depressed. This depression can cause you to stop taking care of yourself. Extreme cases of depression can result in suicidal thoughts that you cannot control. Depression is usually accompanied by anxiety about your life and your health. Panic attacks can cause your blood pressure to spike and your heart to beat abnormally. Medical detox can treat these problems.
Confusion and Loss of Coordination
If you stop drinking cold turkey, you’re likely going to enter into a state of confusion. You’ll begin to feel a sense of disorientation and might not be able to focus on anything. Your thoughts will become clouded and muddled. Speaking coherently or understanding the words of others will be difficult. This can extend to physical problems with coordination, making you more prone to falling or injuring yourself. It’s therefore very important to seek professional supervision while you go through withdrawal.
Something to consider is that you’ll have the constant temptation to relapse if you stop drinking cold turkey. Your withdrawal symptoms and anxiety can become bad enough to turn you back to alcohol. This is very dangerous, as you’ll be taxing your body by drinking again, increasing the chance of experiencing more severe symptoms in the future. Drinking while going through serious withdrawal can lead to heart problems.
The Risk of Delirium Tremens
You should never stop drinking cold turkey by yourself because of the risk of delirium tremens. This is the most dangerous and unpredictable of all withdrawal symptoms. If you have this symptom, you’ll begin to hallucinate, convulse and shake uncontrollably. Your brain and heart will stop working correctly. Delirium tremens has a high fatality rate when the condition isn’t treated by medical professionals. You could have complete heart failure, or experience a seizure that leads to brain damage or death. There’s no way to predict whether or not you’ll have delirium tremens. The risk of this fatal withdrawal symptom is why medical detox is so important when you want to quit drinking.
If you stop drinking cold turkey, you’re putting your life at risk. The only safe way to stop is in a medical detox unit at a rehab center. Professionals at these treatment facilities will help you quit drinking safely and will manage any withdrawal symptoms you experience. Begin your journey towards recovery today by calling the addiction hotline at 800-447-9081.