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The Dangers of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey


So, you decided that you want to quit drinking. That is a great revelation to come to that can help you reclaim control over many facets of your life. It can seem tempting to rip the band-aid off and just “get it over with” by tossing out any and all alcoholic beverages. While this may seem like the way to go, the reality is that coming off of a drinking problem isn’t as easy as simply stopping all at once. Banyan Palm Springs is looking at the dangers of quitting alcohol cold turkey.


What Does Cold Turkey Mean?

Cold turkey refers to the sudden halting of substance use. This can extend to a variety of drugs besides alcohol, including cocaine, benzodiazepines, and heroin. While it is understandable that a person would rather just walk away from the destructive habits that are controlling them, this can lead to serious physical and mental consequences. Quitting something cold turkey makes it much more likely that a person will relapse because the symptoms they experience are debilitating.

When someone stops using a substance, they can begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from uncomfortable to painful and even life-threatening depending on what the person was addicted to. Abruptly stopping is especially dangerous because the body is forced to readjust to the lack of the drug it has become reliant on. In regard to alcohol, these symptoms can put the user’s life at risk.


Why You Don’t Want to Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey

Depending on the length of the addiction and how frequently the person drinks, quitting alcohol cold turkey can lead to serious health complications.


Signs of alcohol withdrawal can include:

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Intense cravings
  • Feelings of agitation or anxiety
  • Body tremors


Although not as frequent, alcohol withdrawals that are not treated properly can escalate to intensely violent seizures and even death. It is strongly encouraged that those at risk access the alcohol withdrawal programs at our California detox center to avoid this.


Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

It is understandable that people at risk are curious about how long they can expect withdrawals to last. A person can expect the first symptoms to appear anywhere between 4 to 12 hours after the last time they drank. The first 24 to 72 hours are when symptoms peak, during which it is highly suggested that a person accesses a professional detox program to avoid complications. Finally, most symptoms will dissipate after 4 to 5 days, although certain less severe symptoms can last anywhere from a week to a month in extreme cases.

A person who has completed the process of withdrawing from alcohol may still experience cravings and a desire to drink again. This is especially true in cases of addiction. Addiction is apparent in cases where a person can’t stop using alcohol despite their negative experiences and consequences. If you or a loved one is in such a predicament, our Southern California rehab offers alcohol addiction treatment that can help you find healing and recovery that lasts.


To learn more about the programs and services that we offer, call Banyan Treatment Center Palm Springs at 888-280-4763 today.


Related Reading

Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium

The Kindling Effect: When an Alcoholic Relapses

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
The Dangers of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey
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