Person quitting alcohol cold turkey and refusing an alcoholic beverage

Side Effects of Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey

Did you know that one out of every 12 adult Americans struggles with some form of alcohol dependence? It is the most regularly-used addictive substance nationwide and, therefore, the subject of many cases of overcoming addiction. You may have heard of some people forgoing professional addiction treatment and quitting alcohol cold turkey—but that is as dangerous as the side effects of alcohol abuse. Quitting alcohol cold turkey can kill you, leading to alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and delirium tremens (DTs). To overcome alcoholism safely, call 844.875.5609 to speak with someone from Promises Behavioral Health about our alcohol detox programs and residential alcohol rehab options throughout the United States.

What Alcohol Does to Disrupt the Body

Regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol can cause the brain to get used to how the substance interferes with neurotransmitters and absorption. Alcohol causes levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine to increase. Dopamine affects sleep, memory, learning, and how someone feels pleasure. When levels of GABA increase, the central nervous system (CNS) slows breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.

The more the body feels accustomed to this interference, the more it relies on alcohol to remain stable. When someone becomes alcohol dependent, dangerous withdrawal symptoms can occur when they stop drinking, such as:

  • Increased blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
  • Mood swings, irritability, and depression
  • Hallucinations, tremors, and seizures
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain

These alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin within eight hours after someone’s last drink and peak two to three days after drinking last. The individual’s alcohol dependence will influence the extent of the side effects of quitting alcohol cold turkey. People with alcohol withdrawal risk experiencing DTs—a condition that can be fatal if not addressed immediately. That’s why it is important to remember that quitting alcohol cold turkey can be just as dangerous as drinking too much. Many individuals wonder whether alcohol withdrawal can kill you. The simple answer is yes. No one should stop drinking abruptly, as the side effects of quitting alcohol cold turkey can be dangerous without professional care.

Alcohol abuse can also deplete the body of the essential vitamins needed to be healthy. These deficiencies can lead to the development of disorders that can affect lives forever. Dehydration is another side effect of alcohol withdrawal, which causes an electrolyte imbalance. Severe dehydration can be dangerous.

How a Prolonged Exposure Therapy Program Can Help 

With the help of a prolonged exposure therapy program, those withdrawing from drugs and alcohol can help individuals to determine the cause of their addiction. A traumatic event or a series of events may lead to substance abuse. Prolonged exposure therapy helps clients deal with their fears and the feelings of trauma that have a hold on their life. This therapy helps the brain develop better associations with trauma triggers and lessens the need to drink alcohol or use drugs when thinking of these instances.

Prolonged exposure therapy helps individuals to address their trauma symptoms. They are guided through the process so they aren’t retraumatized and can express their feelings more openly. The goal of prolonged exposure therapy for addiction is to help patients feel safe and secure in everyday life without using substances. It helps them reset and feel less fear and anxiety about life, which may cause someone to want to feel drunk or high to hide from their real-time feelings. Prolonged therapy programs have been proven to be helpful with various individuals, including alcoholics and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients alike.

Learn How to Minimize Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms with Promises Behavioral Health

Can quitting alcohol cold turkey kill you? Yes, it can. Instead, seek professional addiction treatment. Contact Promises today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about our addiction recovery programs and how our alcohol detox specialists can help you or your loved one.

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