Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey?

There is a lot of scare stories around quitting cold turkey, so let’s shine a light on this subject once and for all.

One out of every 12 people in the USA struggles with alcoholism. This makes alcohol the most routinely used habit-forming drug in The United States.

The World Health Organization states that it kills over 3.3 million people every year.

Consuming sizable quantities of alcohol on a regular basis may cause the brain to get used to it. Your brain adapts to alcohol disrupting your natural brain chemicals.

When alcohol gets into the human brain, it causes amounts of dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid to become escalated. Both are carriers that the brain typically uses to inform the entire body how to feel and react.

Dopamine impacts our moods, drive, sleep, memories, and learning. While GABA is associated with mitigating and regulating the stress response.

As amounts of GABA rise, the central nervous system is slowed. For instance, reducing respiration rates. Plus harmful effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and reducing body temperature level.

alcohol brain chemistry

Alcohol Interferes With Brain Chemistry

Drinking obstructs normal amounts of these natural chemicals in the mind. The more the brain becomes familiar with the synthetic intrusion. It gets used to them and then it will start to depend on drinking to keep these levels steady.

After an individual becomes dependent on drinking, dopamine, and GABA function are modified. This results in unpleasant and even harmful withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit drinking alcohol. If you are physically addicted, quitting alcohol cold turkey can be dangerous.

However, it is important to note that problem drinkers are not always physically addicted to alcohol. It’s purely a psychological addiction.

How do you know if you are addicted physically?

Many problem drinkers that turn to The Stop Drinking Expert for help state that they can often go days, weeks, and even months without drinking. Full-blown alcoholics can’t do that, they need alcohol like we need air.

This confusion between alcoholics and problem drinkers, unfortunately, does more harm than good. So many problem drinkers who could quit drinking without any serious withdrawal are too scared to try.

This story of ‘quitting cold turkey = death’ has been peddled so heavily by the drinks companies.

If you believe you are just in a loop with your drinking and need some help to break the habit. Click here for more information about The Stop Drinking Expert online quit drinking courses and live events.

How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last
How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?

Risks of Alcohol Withdrawal

Around fifty percent of all individuals who are considered full-blown alcoholics will struggle with withdrawal when they quit. Research suggests that 3-5 percent of alcoholics will have convulsions, delirium, or both of these.

It needs pointing out that 95-97% of drinkers will have no such problems.

This serious type of alcohol withdrawal is referred to as delirium tremens. Along with disarray, anxiety, aberrations, and shakes. Alcoholics can also experience alarmingly elevated body temperatures.

Not All Drinkers Need To Worry

Most drinkers won’t need to worry about this. However, alcoholics are at serious risk!

Seizures, hyperthermia, heart arrhythmias, and problems connected to coinciding clinical or mental health conditions. These can all make the withdrawal from alcohol deadly if speedy treatment and care aren’t given.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally start inside around 8 hours after the last alcoholic beverage and peak in around a couple of days.

When it comes to withdrawal, signs might not show up for as much as several days after quitting drinking alcohol. Making them even more potentially harmful because individuals might think they are in the clear and not have treatment available.

The adverse effects of alcohol withdrawal depend on how physically addicted the alcoholic is.

Why Do People Drink Alcohol
Why Do People Drink Alcohol?

Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey: Know The Risks

Generally, this means that somebody who consumes alcohol regularly for a number of years will hurt the most. Additionally, combining other substances. Especially sedatives like sleeping pills, with drinking may raise dependency levels and additionally convolute withdrawal.

The existence of any type of underlying or accompanying psychological health problem can raise the risks of withdrawal also.

Alcohol dependency and spells of frequent alcohol consumption can result in malnutrition. As alcoholics can consume less healthy and well-balanced meals. Plus alcohol withdrawal may trigger intestinal upset and appetite reduction.

For example, drinking may result in a shortage of vitamin B1 in the body. As much as 80 percent of men and women wrestling with alcoholism struggle with this problem. A thiamine shortage can cause an individual to form wet brain syndrome.

This is a condition that may result in considerable disarray, eyesight problems, and a lack of motor control.

What Is Wet Brain Syndrome?
What Is Wet Brain Syndrome?

Wet Brain Syndrome

Wet brain can lead to difficulty with short term memory, issues with learning, and mental confusion. Learning and memory deficiencies combined with reduced motor skills make Korsakoff syndrome a major problem that needs unique therapy.

Only about 25 percent of individuals will completely recover from the condition.

Dehydration is one more possible adverse effects of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol dries out the body, water is the foundation of life and recovery.

Yes, for some alcohol withdrawal may be serious and unpleasant. The negative effects can frequently make it challenging for alcoholics to stay clear of relapsing. They need hospital stays and lots of specialist support.

According to the medical journal ‘Alcohol & Alcoholism’. Anywhere between 0.7 percent and 41 percent of all emergency room visits entail alcohol-related matters. A lot of these issues relate to alcoholism and possibly alcohol withdrawal manifestations.

Based on details gathered between 2007 and 2011, almost 91,000 individuals pass away yearly from substantial alcohol use. Typically, the lives of people who pass away are reduced by approximately thirty years, shocking right?

quitting alcohol cold turkey
Quitting alcohol cold turkey

Reducing The Danger

Risks associated with alcohol withdrawal may be avoided and reduced through clinical detoxification. Thus, medical detoxification is often advised in cases of alcohol withdrawal.

In a clinical detoxification program, an alcoholic will check into a specialized center where they can carefully quit drinking. Rather than quitting cold turkey, alcohol can be gradually reduced to avoid surprising the body.

Medicines, like long-acting benzodiazepines, can be used to substitute the alcohol in a few circumstances.

Other prescription resources are advantageous in assisting to deal with particular signs of alcohol withdrawal.

Sleep aids, antidepressants, emotional state stabilizers, nonsteroidal pain medicines, and intestinal medicines may be useful.

medication for alcoholism

Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey: Medications

During detoxification, liquids may be offered to avoid and turn around dehydration. Dietary balance may be brought back by healthy and well-balanced meals. Health care providers keep track of vital signs and psychological health conditions all the time. This is to make sure every client’s safety is assured throughout clinical detoxification.

The support, helpful and relaxing atmosphere, and restorative techniques offered help in relapse reduction. A person will stay in a clinical detoxification program for between 6 and 7 days typically. Obviously, the precise timeframe of stay will rely on the requirements and status of the specific customer.

Detoxing may deal with the prospective risks associated with alcohol withdrawal. Therefore, reducing possible problems while helping an individual to become physically balanced and prepared to go into an extensive alcoholism therapy plan immediately following withdrawal.


Detoxification is an important initial step for full-blown alcoholics. However, you must follow with a total dependency therapy plan that includes behavior modifications. Also, therapy, self-help group involvement, medicines, and complementary treatments are a good idea.

Serious dehydration may trigger confusion and a disorder of the autonomic functions of the central nervous system. Even more raising the prospective drawbacks of alcohol withdrawal, which may be extremely harmful.

High amounts of stress and anxiety can also be challenging throughout alcohol withdrawal and can result in self-destructive thoughts or self-harming actions.

Quitting Cold Turkey
Quitting Cold Turkey

Problem Drinkers Vs Alcoholics

Serious alcoholics who are physically addicted to the drug need inpatient medical treatment. Fully functioning problem drinkers generally do not, although medical advice is still recommended.

Most people who join the Stop Drinking Expert program are simply in a bad routine of using alcohol to cope with life. They have tried to cut back on their own and failed many times over.

When these sorts of people consider quitting alcohol cold turkey they only experience a very mild sensation of withdrawal. It feels like a general sensation of mild anxiety, and nothing more.

If you are worried your drinking has become a problem. Click here to reserve your place on our next free quit drinking webinar.