For those with substance abuse disorders, reaching for help and committing to sobriety is no small decision. The road to recovery takes courage and strength, and once you’ve decided to take the leap, you’ll need to devise a solid treatment and detox plan to jumpstart your sobriety.
While many turns to an abrupt approach, quitting cold turkey to distance themselves from addictive substances, this method can be potentially dangerous without doctor supervision. Though treatment and medical rehabilitation centers employ a complete withdrawal upon arrival, addicts are supervised consistently, allowing medical professionals to monitor and treat symptoms.
If you’re considering a cold turkey detox, read on for five must-know risks and consult with your doctor for a complete understanding of potential symptoms and complications.
If you’ve used substances long-term, chances are your brain has grown accustomed to your drug of choice, making an abrupt detox potentially dangerous, shocking your nervous system. Discontinuing substances like alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepine without medical supervision can lead to seizures, which can be life-threatening without proper treatment.
Another side effect of cold turkey detoxing is extreme nausea and vomiting. Though you may not think queasiness is a difficult symptom to manage, many addicts experience overwhelming nausea on a daily basis. Additionally, a persistent upset stomach can provoke other symptoms, like weight loss, dehydration, and more severe diagnoses.
When quitting a strong substance abruptly after long-term use, you may experience excessive fatigue, making it challenging to keep up with everyday life. Unfortunately, your brain and nervous system undergo a shock during detox, often resulting in disrupted sleep patterns and unexpected energy drops. Without proper treatment, a prolonged lack of sleep could lead to delirium and hallucinations.
One of the most common symptoms of fast-paced detoxing is irregular heart rhythms. Often, recovering addicts find their hearts racing or slowing significantly, leading to more severe heart conditions if left untreated. Make sure to check in with a trusted physician or treatment specialist if you experience a rapid heart rate or other irregularities to bypass further complications.
Triggers poor mental health
In addition to severe physical symptoms, cold turkey detoxing can harm your mental and emotional state, leaving you with heightened anxiety or depression. Often, people ingest and consume addictive substances as a release from daily stressors and mental pain, allowing them to numb intense emotions. When you strip away your drug of choice, you may experience amplified nervousness, emotional distress, and anxiety during the beginning stages of detox. However, you can help mitigate decreased mental health by leaning on your support system of checking into a professional treatment center equipped with addiction specialists and therapists.
In addition to a sensitive mental state, abrupt substance withdrawal can trigger mood swings and outbursts. Drastic changes in your emotional state can make everyday interactions challenging, causing you to fall off the rails at the slightest disturbance. For example, many addicts detoxing from long-term use find work settings particularly taxing as disagreements or added stress can lead to emotional eruptions.
Though it may be tempting to face your addiction head-on and quit substances cold turkey once you’ve solidified your commitment to recovery, make sure you understand the risks and speak with a trusted physician. Chances are, they’ll suggest a treatment facility that can walk you through detoxing safely and offer support throughout your rehabilitation.