Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey | Tips for Quitting Drinking

Is it time to quit drinking? If drinking has become problematic, it might be worth the effort to consider decreasing or discontinuing alcohol use. Unfortunately, stopping or changing alcohol use patterns is not an easy undertaking. Drinking habits are difficult and, in some cases, dangerous to change without outside help. Physical, emotional, and behavioral side effects can be common signs of withdrawal. Some of the effects of quitting alcohol use can be life-threatening, and quitting alcohol cold turkey is generally not advised. Instead, engaging in safe and healthy treatments to obtain sobriety is important for avoiding any severe consequences. Here are some tips about stopping one’s habitual drinking.

AspenRidge Recovery provides compassionate support for individuals and families facing the devastating consequences of alcohol addiction. We understand the importance of finding hope in recovery and help to give individuals the tools required to safely abstain from alcohol. If you’re working toward recovery, give us a call directly at 855-281-5588. We can help.

Quit Alcohol Cold Turkey

What Problems Occur from Quitting Alcohol?

Whether an individual quits drinking alcohol abruptly or gradually, there is a risk for significant side effects. The side-effects of quitting alcohol are more severe if a person has developed a strong physical and emotional dependence on alcohol.

There is an increased risk of significant dependence the longer that an individual drinks. Unfortunately, as dependency sets in, the potential for catastrophic withdrawal increases. Side effects can be short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Side Effects:

  • Headaches
  • Clammy skin
  • Shakiness
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Decreased concentration/focus
  • Bad dreams
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability

Long-Term Side Effects:

  • Delirium tremens
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Brain damage
  • Death

Quitting alcohol cold turkey without medical or addiction-experienced supervision is extremely dangerous. The best method for stopping alcohol use is taking a tapered approach with outside help. That said, everyone’s situation is different, and it’s critical to seek additional information in order to understand the safest methods for your specific case. It’s always advisable to understand when alcohol becomes a problem.

What is Alcohol Dependence?

Alcohol dependence refers to the mind and body’s reliance on alcohol. Strong alcohol dependence may cause bodily functions to operate ineffectively if alcohol is not continually ingested. Important body functions such as breathing, heart rate, and motor skills can be severely impacted by dependence. Since the body has learned to operate most efficiently with alcohol in the system, quitting cold turkey can cause such vital body functions to slow or stop altogether, leading to severe health complications.

How Does Alcohol Dependence Develop?

Alcohol dependence often occurs with prolonged and extensive drinking habits. Increased alcohol intake and long duration of alcohol use place an individual at significant risk for developing alcohol dependence syndrome.

What is Alcohol Dependence Syndrome?

Alcohol Dependence Syndrome refers to the development of alcoholism, tolerance, and reliance upon alcohol to operate the body effectively. Another term commonly used for Alcohol Dependence Syndrome is alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Should I Still Quit Alcohol if Quitting Has Severe Side-Effects?

Yes. Quitting alcohol — despite short-term, long-term, and potentially severe side effects — may be necessary. Severe alcoholism left untreated may cause more dangerous and life-threatening problems. With continued use, a person runs the risk of deadly diseases, relationship issues, job loss, family turmoil, and much more. No matter how severe one’s alcohol use has become, it’s never too late to start the journey to recovery.

Using safe treatment methods to help with quitting alcohol is possible no matter the stage of AUD. Changing alcohol use behaviors is highly encouraged. However, quitting alcohol alone and abruptly is not recommended.

How To Stop Drinking Safely

What Methods are Available to Help Me Quit Drinking Safely?

Several methods have been developed to help those struggling with alcoholism to quit drinking safely and effectively. As new studies become available and new medications are introduced, more Americans are able to find hope in sobriety.

A wide range of methods is available through multiple formats of treatment. Many forms of mild alcohol use disorders can be done through outpatient therapy and support by primary care physicians. Severe alcohol use disorders may require medication-assisted treatments, inpatient rehabilitation, or partial hospitalization programs to achieve sobriety safely.

Rehabilitation Methods:

  • Alcohol counseling
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Psychoeducation
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Inpatient hospitalization
  • Trauma-focused psychotherapy
  • Personal skills development and enhancement

In general, it’s best to talk with experienced addiction counselors or specialists about individual needs and tailored programs. With professional help, you can design a program that meets personal life and learning styles. Additionally, if you have outside obligations like jobs and family, program options are available for flexible support.

Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey vs. Recovery Center

Quitting alcohol, in general, is highly recommended no matter what the circumstances may be. However, the process of quitting alcohol should be closely examined by self, peers, family, and medical providers. 

Proper behavioral assessment is a common first step in assessing potentially dangerous alcohol dependence and its impact on quitting alcohol safely. AspenRidge offers safe self-assessments as well as in-depth diagnostic evaluations. If you are concerned about drinking behaviors, AspenRidge offers multiple self-assessments that may highlight risk factors for quitting alcohol.

Resources for Alcohol Abuse Help

Quitting alcohol use can be a challenging and scary task. Changing drinking behaviors often includes the need for several changes in lifestyle and relationships. Quitting alcohol is no different. If an individual is ready to stop alcohol use, several hardships may occur throughout the process. The high level of difficulty in quitting alcohol often leads many to disregard the need to quit drinking. This can lead to many alcohol-related problems becoming more severe.

Many resources are available to help those who are dedicated to achieving and maintaining sobriety. Common resources include:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Al-Anon
  • Alateen
  • DEA360 Community Education

How To Stop Drinking Alcohol Safely

AspenRidge Alcohol Recovery

AspenRidge has developed a phase-oriented process for those struggling with alcohol or other drug use. Our program is heavily involved and is designed to help obtain and maintain sobriety long-term. We also offer online options for additional flexibility and support.

AspenRidge is available to discuss current needs and limitations to treatment, so we can properly evaluate and design a program that fits your specific requirements. AspenRidge operates from a holistic perspective and is dedicated to tailoring treatment as much as possible to each client’s lifestyle.

Supportive family members are critical to maintaining sobriety. AspenRidge understands the burden of recovery and tailors treatment plans individually. It is a collaborative effort, and AspenRidge will provide care for all. The challenges that occur during the recovery process are an ongoing battle, and Aspenridge hopes to provide a safe environment for recovery. Contact us today directly at 855-281-5588.