Drug Addiction

Is "Going Cold Turkey" Safe When You Are Struggling with Alcoholism?

October 20th, 2016
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Alcohol is the most widely used addictive substance in the U.S., with 17.6 million people suffering from alcohol misuse or dependency. Alcoholism has also become the third leading lifestyle related cause of death, resulting in 88,000 fatalities a year.

When you are grappling with alcoholism, it becomes increasingly difficult for you to function properly. Ultimately, you will require professional treatment to help you finally overcome your addiction. But what if you are ready to stop using but don't want to go to rehab? Is is possible for you to just give up alcohol and go cold turkey on your own?

Alcohol Withdrawal and Going Cold Turkey

Alcohol alters how the brain functions, and so, when you suddenly stop drinking, the body becomes flooded with abnormally high levels of the neurotransmitters that were previously being suppressed. As a result, the brain begins to experience hyperexcitability. This leads to severe symptoms of withdrawal that can include anxiety, tremors, and even seizures. These withdrawal symptoms make it nearly impossible – and very dangerous – for you to “go cold turkey.”

Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

The most dangerous form of withdrawal is known as alcohol withdrawal syndrome(AWS), which often includes delirium tremens (DT). AWS can occur if you have a history of heavy alcohol consumption.

Risk of Relapse

Even if you do not experience AWS, you will likely undergo through various uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and face strong cravings. Without professional help, this could cause you to relapse. 

Safely Detoxing from Alcohol

Making the decision to stop abusing alcohol is a great first step in reclaiming your life from addiction, but quitting alone can pose serious danger. When you are ready to make this important life change, be sure to do so under the supervision of a medical professional. Detoxing from alcohol can be deadly if withdrawal symptoms are not properly managed. Medical and addiction professionals can insure that you detox from alcohol safely and comfortably.  A medically-monitored detox will also better prepare you for the next step in your recovery journey: inpatient or outpatient treatment.


Detoxing from alcohol at home can be life-threatening. If your loved one is struggling with alcoholism, we are here to help. Reach out to Mountainside by calling 888 833 4676.