Alcohol addiction is a destructive force that can ruin your life. Many people who are alcoholics at some point realize the drinking must stop. Although immediately stopping might seem like a good idea, it actually isn’t. Read on to learn some of the reasons you shouldn’t stop drinking cold turkey.
Alcohol’s Grip on Your Mind and Body
Alcohol can take a firm grip on your mind and body within a very short period of time. One reason for this is that alcohol directly affects your brain. It interacts with special receptors and alters how chemicals are released, where blood flows and how your brain fires electrical signals. This causes dependence on the substance. If you don’t have alcohol in your system, your body panics and goes into withdrawal because it’s missing the chemicals it needs.
An added complication is that alcohol abuse leads to psychological dependence. You’ll start needing alcohol to enjoy things, relax or feel normal. Not having alcohol around will cause feelings of depression, agitation and anxiety in some cases. These emotions may be enough to drive you to buy alcohol and start drinking. The addiction can be so overwhelming that you end up choosing alcohol and drinking over other important things, such as food, rent or going to work. This can destroy your life quickly.
The Problem With Quitting Cold Turkey
It’s important to understand that alcohol is far more dangerous than many people think. Alcohol abuse and addiction can leave your body in a fragile state. If you want to stop drinking, you cannot just quit suddenly. This could lead to health problems. Quitting suddenly also doesn’t help with the larger issues you must eventually confront. The following describes a few of the problems with quitting cold turkey.
It Can Lead to Relapse
If you quit drinking cold turkey, you’re likely to go into withdrawal. Even minor symptoms of withdrawal are hard to handle. You could have constant nausea and pain and experience severe depression, anxiety attacks and suicidal feelings. Quitting suddenly on your own can lead to relapse. You might take a small drink to reduce the symptoms. This can result in more drinking until you’re abusing alcohol again to fend off withdrawal.
Potential Heart Problems
If you stop drinking cold turkey, your body will need time to readjust to functioning without alcohol. The intermediary stages of this process can be medically unsafe. You’re likely going to experience heart palpitations. These are periods when your heart beats faster or slower than normal. You could develop an irregular heartbeat. These problems could lead to a heart attack while you’re trying to get sober. This is an especially large risk if you’ve been addicted to alcohol for a long time or you have underlying medical problems.
You Will Be Unable to Care for Yourself
Going through withdrawal is hard on the mind and body. Many people experience coordination problems severe enough that it becomes impossible to walk or perform basic actions. You could become very confused or even start hallucinating. You might be unable to get to the bathroom or stand up. You could have such difficulty moving that you choke on your own vomit. You’ll be unable to take care of yourself if you quit cold turkey and experience these effects. Going through withdrawal alone is incredibly dangerous, as you could become incapacitated.
Seizures and Convulsions
The way alcohol affects your brain sets you up for the possibility of having a seizure. A seizure occurs when your brain sends a flurry of random or incorrect signals. You’ll lose control of your body, start shaking and become confused. You could lose the ability to do anything other than feel your body convulsing. Seizures can leave you with permanent brain damage if you’re not under the care of a medical professional.
A major reason to never stop drinking cold turkey is delirium tremens. This is one of the most severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. If you have delirium tremens, you’ll experience constant shaking, sporadic convulsions and extreme anxiety. Delirium tremens is a type of psychosis that often results in complete disorientation, realistic hallucinations and dissociation. Many people actually die as a result of this. You don’t want to risk experiencing delirium tremens, especially on your own.
You Are Not Treating the Addiction
When you stop drinking cold turkey, you’re not treating the addiction. You might have the best intentions when you try to stop; however, you’re not changing anything other than allowing the alcohol to leave your system. Your addictive behaviors and triggers are still intact. You didn’t develop any defenses against addiction and haven’t learned about your triggers. As a result, you could easily return to drinking in just a few days.
Seek Professional Help Instead
The best course of action if you want to become clean and sober is to seek professional help instead of trying to stop drinking cold turkey. You’ll enter into a detox program at the start. This is a period where you’ll be monitored by medical professionals who’ll ensure your safety as you go through withdrawal. The next stage involves treatment and therapy to explore your addiction and develop tools to help you stay sober in the future. Getting professional help is the best and most effective way to finally be free from alcohol addiction.
If you want to start living a clean and sober life, don’t just stop drinking cold turkey. Get into a treatment program that addresses all of your needs. This is the right way to recover so that you have the tools necessary to maintain your sobriety later down the road. You can begin your recovery today by calling the helpline at 800-447-9081 to learn about the treatment programs right for you.