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How To Quit Addiction Cold Turkey

Is Quitting Cold Turkey The Right Choice

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Is quitting cold turkey the best choice for a bad habit?

If you have an addiction, you may wonder about the effectiveness of this sudden change to your routine.

Is it better to wean yourself off your addiction with support, or immediately stop?

If you want to build more good habits and are curious about the effectiveness or dangers of, going cold turkey getting rid of the bad ones, then this article is for you.

Youre Not A Medical Expert

Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is a medical procedure, and it should not be left up to non-medical experts. The friend who offers to sit with you while you quit cold turkey may mean well, but unless they are a trained medic or physician, they do not have the resources necessary to keep you safe.It is important to understand that quitting drugs and alcohol is something that requires specific expertise, including medical training and in-depth knowledge of first aid and CPR. When you choose professional rehab instead of the do-it-yourself approach, you can enjoy that medical support and begin to heal in a safe and comfortable environment.

Treating A Cocaine Addiction

Many people try to stop using cocaine without outside help. They may do this for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Embarrassment over their cocaine use.
  • Believing they cannot afford the cost of treatment.
  • Believing that their cocaine use is not severe enough to qualify for help.

Unfortunately, most recovering addicts discover that there are pitfalls that occur when one tries to fight an addiction alone. Most often, individuals who have cocaine abuse or addiction issues have trouble when they attempt to quit on their own because:

  • They lack structure in their approach.
  • They dont have an experienced support mechanism, such as a support group or a therapist, to rely on.
  • They tend to retain their old habits or associate with the same people they associated with when using cocaine.
  • They arent prepared to deal with the symptoms of withdrawal and/or strong cravings that result when quitting cocaine.

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Understanding Marijuana Withdrawal Symptoms

The effects of the drug typically last between one hour and three hours when the drug is smoked and longer if it is ingested in the form of edibles . Using the drug regularly can cause tolerance to form, which then means that a person will need to take more of it for it to work the same way.

Taking more and more marijuana at a time and using the drug regularly can cause drug dependence to form. Then, the brain cant keep its own natural chemistry balanced without marijuana. When the drug isnt active in the bloodstream, withdrawal symptoms can occur.

The Iranian Journal of Psychiatry publishes that 61 percent to 96 percent of cannabis users experienced some form of withdrawal symptoms when they stopped using the drug. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC , acts on the same reward system that opioids like heroin, cocaine, and alcohol do.

When marijuana processes out of the body, withdrawal can be both emotionally and physically uncomfortable. The most common side effects are irritability, sleep disturbances, insomnia, and cravings. Irregular heart rate and blood pressure as well as sweating, chills, and heightened body temperature can also occur. Anxiety, restlessness, headache, depression, anger, aggression, mood swings, tremors, stomach pain, and loss of appetite can all be side effects of marijuana withdrawal. A person struggling with marijuana withdrawal can also have memory lapses, concentration issues, dizziness, and trouble thinking clearly.

Drugs Not To Quit Cold Turkey

Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey

Mind-altering drugs impact brain chemistry, disrupting signals sent around the central nervous system and affecting mood, willpower, memory and learning functions, pain sensations, and perceptions of self and the surrounding environment. Many drugs can cause drug dependence with regular use. This happens when the brain relies on the interaction of the drugs in its system and stops functioning as it did before the drugs were introduced. If these drugs are then stopped suddenly, or cold turkey, after dependence has set in, intense and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms can occur.

In 2011, the Drug Abuse Warning Network reports that around 2.5 million people in the United States visited an emergency department for a medical emergency related to drug abuse and about 250,000 of these ED visits were people seeking detox services. Drugs that can have severe withdrawal symptoms that can lead to a medical emergency or even death should never be stopped cold turkey. These drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Prescription sedatives and tranquilizers
  • Alcohol

Medical detox in a specialized facility is typically considered the safest way to help the body process opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol, and to avoid potential life-threatening consequences during withdrawal.

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Prepare For Nicotine Withdrawal

Nicotine is highly addictive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the substance rivals cocaine, alcohol, and heroin in terms of addiction. As with other drugs, you will likely experience side effects as your body rids itself of the harsh toxins and chemicals found in cigarettes.

This is one reason it’s hard to quit cold turkey. Nicotine withdrawal can be more intense when you abruptly stop smoking. However, the withdrawal phase is only temporary. While the symptoms can be uncomfortable, they will go away.

Common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:

If you expect these symptoms, you’ll be able to prepare. For example, ask a friend to watch your kids if you are feeling unwell, keep a water bottle with you and sip frequently to stay hydrated, stock up on throat lozenges, and fill your refrigerator with healthy snacks to reach for when hunger strikes.

Why Is Medical Detox Recommended For Heroin Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40-60 percent of people addicted to an illicit drug will relapse at some point, and its not always due to physical withdrawal symptoms. Psychological symptoms of withdrawal cause a range of emotions, such as depression and anxiety, which can be incredibly difficult to handle, so people often resume drug use to make these emotions go away temporarily. This is especially the case if the person isnt receiving any emotional support to help throughout the withdrawal and recovery process. At a drug treatment facility, professional staff members help people deal with these difficult emotions in order to prevent relapse.

When people with a heroin use disorder seek out formal treatment, medications may be used to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of withdrawal, making the detoxification process more comfortable. For instance, a person may be prescribed buprenorphine to treat the symptoms of withdrawal from opioids like heroin. In some instances, it can be used as a long-term maintenance drug.

Buprenorphine classifies as an opioid, but it generally doesnt induce euphoria, and it causes less physical dependence than heroin. Its a partial opioid agonist, so it does work on the same receptors as heroin, but it has less of a potential for misuse.

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Multiple Therapies And Treatments

Addiction is a mental, physical, and psychological disease. Therapy is crucial in treating addiction. Our dedicated counselors will help you address all mental health concerns.

For example, you may have started to depend on alcohol after developing depression. Or perhaps, using opioids led to anxiety and other issues you didnt previously have.

The goal of therapy is to help patients change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors concerning substance abuse. Therapy also helps in providing the right tools for long-lasting sobriety.

Some of the evidence-based addiction treatment therapies that are typically offered include:

  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Community Reinforcement and Family Training
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy
  • Integrative Approach
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Can I Quit Heroin Cold Turkey


One of the many hallmarks of drug or alcohol addiction is the inability to stop or slow down use. Chances are, you have tried before to control your heroin use, only to later be met with a binge session. It can be very disheartening when you try to control your use, only to realize that you cannot. The important thing to understand is that addiction is not a matter of free will. Your brain is chemically dependent on heroin at this point, which makes it extremely difficult to quit heroin cold turkey. In addition to your bodys dependency on heroin, there are many other reasons why quitting heroin cold turkey is near impossible.

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How Does Tapering Off Affect Withdrawal

The two main purposes of tapering off a substance are to reduce any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and to prevent life-threatening complications from arising. It is still possible to experience some withdrawal symptoms when tapering off a substance, but they are usually mild. The particular symptoms depend on the drug in question and the extent of the addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of withdrawal that occur during tapering off any substance include headache and anxiety.

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last Cold Turkey When Coming Off Short

How long does opiate withdrawal last cold turkey when coming off short-acting opioids? The main element which determines when your opiate withdrawal symptoms will start, when they will peak, and when they will finally subside, is the type of opioid drug youve been taking.

For instance, if youve been using short-acting opiates like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, heroin, or other short-acting opiates, the cold turkey opiate withdrawal will typically begin around the 12-hour mark.

Here is a list of the short-acting opioids:

  • Codeine
  • Sufentanil Powder

So 12 hours after your last dose of a short-acting opioid, the mild withdrawal symptoms will begin to arise. But many people think the first day is the worst, and then it starts to get better and better day by day.

This is a common misconception. The accurate opiate withdrawal timeline from a cold turkey detox from short-acting opioids is listed below.

Here is a brief overview of how long opiate withdrawal lasts cold turkey when coming off short-acting opioids:

  • Day 1 Unpleasant cold turkey opiate withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to get through the day.
  • Day 2 A significant increase in the severity of cold turkey withdrawal symptoms.
  • Days 3-4 The cold turkey withdrawal symptoms peak and are the most severe during these final two days.
  • Day 5 The acute withdrawal phase is technically over, and the opiate withdrawal symptoms become much less severe, though you still feel them a lot.

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Should You Quit Weed Cold Turkey What Are The Effects

Weedalso known as marijuanais the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse . In a typical month, 22.2 million people use the drug at least once.

Weed is commonly associated with safety. Since many states have declared the drug legal for adult recreational use, many people assume that the drug is simply benign and that theres a low risk of weeds side effects causing real problems. If the drug is legal, they think, it cannot cause harm.

Unfortunately, some people discover how strong and dangerous weed can be when they attempt to quit smoking weed. That is especially true if they move from daily use to no use at all, with no transition period in the middle.

This form of quitting, known as quitting cold turkey, causes quite a few negative side effects, and some of those symptoms can make quit smoking weed for good difficult or impossible.

Have you lost control of your marijuana use? Answer a few brief questions to find out if you need help. Complete our free and confidential addiction questionnaire today.

Cold Turkey Vs Weaning Off Sugar

Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey

I get asked this question a lot. Which is better, assuming they are asking easier, weaning off sugar slowly or going cold turkey?

The answer is two-fold, maybe three.

The answer is it depends.

It depends on how big your habit is.

I would never suggest a person with a huge sugar habit go cold turkey. I would suggest tapering down for a few weeks first.

But for the most part, the above example aside, the only real way to get any semblance of control over sugar in your life is to go cold turkey for a time.

To stop ingesting sugar in any form, one day at a time, and see what happens.

Feel the feelings.

Live the actual withdrawals.

Try and remember them when you crave something sweet and relive them in your mind so you dont have to do in real life.

Your memory of withdrawals can save you from any actual withdrawals by not picking up that first cookie.

Get an intimate understanding of how the product is affecting YOUR body.

Do you believe in the old adage what goes up, must come down?

How is it possible that we feel SO lousy when we stop this stuff?

Seriously folks what is causing that?

Not that I want you to relapse all the time folks I dont.

What I do want you to do is to pay attention to what you feel like when, and if, you do get a little abstinence under your belt and then do relapse.

This is the barometer you should really be searching for and understanding. ^^

A real nice mellow buzz! That alls right with the world feeling. Its very real!

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Cold Turkey Causes Suffering

Have no doubt about it, quitting a physical addiction suddenly and abruptly can cause pain and suffering, both mental and physical depending on the level of your addiction.

Now, there are many people who have gone cold turkey who will you that craving is a natural part of ending an addiction. They have the idea that the withdrawal symptoms motivates them to never to pick up this habit again.

What you find instead is these same people will eventually relapse and will become more resistant to trying to quit again because they painfully recall their traumatic experiences from the past. Since it sometimes takes a few tries to finally kick a habit, this is a huge obstacle to making a lifelong, permanent change.

It is just so hard to beat bad habits directly.

Finding Quality Treatment For Substance Use Disorders

This fact sheet serves as a guide for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment. It provides three necessary steps to complete prior to utilizing a treatment center and the five signs of a quality treatment center, which include a review of the accreditation, medication, evidence-based practices, position on the role of families, and support networks.

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Reasons Why Quitting Heroin Cold Turkey Is A Bad Idea June 4 2021 By Burning Tree Programs Inaddiction Treatment Recovery

For those who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, the idea of quitting cold turkey can feel attractive. Many addicts think they are strong enough, smart enough, and determined enough to give up their habit on their own, without the hassle of inpatient rehab.Those feelings are certainly understandable, but there are many reasons why quitting heroin cold turkey approach is risky. In fact, quitting cold turkey could prove to be a bad idea.

Find an Inpatient Rehab Program Now

We are here to help you through every aspect of recovery. Call our admissions team to find the best for long-term recovery.

Sudden Withdrawal Can Create Unforeseen Health Problems

How I Quit Smoking Cold Turkey

No matter what substance you have been using, when you quit cold turkey the withdrawal symptoms can start within a couple of hours, and if you are unprepared for their severity your safety, and your very life, could be at risk. Many addicts and alcoholics who try to quit cold turkey are surprised at just how difficult those withdrawal symptoms really are, and that unpreparedness will pave the way to failure.Even if your well-meaning friend has helped others quit cold turkey, every detox experience is unique, and the fact that someone else experienced only mild withdrawal symptoms is not a guarantee that things will play out the same way in your case. If you want to stay safe, you should abandon any thoughts of quitting cold turkey and seek out professional help instead.

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When To Call 911

The risks of withdrawal from alcohol are much greater than they are for other substances. In particular, alterations in consciousness can be a critical symptom of delirium tremens.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of a heart attack, seizure, or changes in consciousness while quitting cold turkey, call 911 immediately.Symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • Weakness, lightheadedness, or faintness
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you or someone you know is experiencing any concerning physical or neurological signs while quitting cold turkey, call 911 immediately.

How To Prevent It

Because addiction is individual, its difficult to provide one-size-fits-all advice about how to prevent soda dependency. That said, some helpful, general guidelines include:

  • Dont use soda as a reward. This can promote the high dopamine response to the drink that may trigger dependence.
  • Dont use soda as an emotional crutch if youre sad, angry, or disappointed. Using soda in this way can promote the development of addiction pathways in your brain.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated with water, which has no calories, sugar, or additives, can help keep you from reaching for soda.
  • Dont drink soda every day. Set limits to your soda intake to keep yourself from becoming dependent. For example, you may choose to only drink soda when you go out to a restaurant, or only on the weekends.

Although these steps arent guaranteed to prevent soda dependency, they may reduce your risk of it.


You can prevent soda dependency by not using it as a reward or emotional crutch, drinking plenty of water, and making sure to not drink it daily.

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