If you have a substance abuse problem you may be wondering about the benefits and drawbacks of quitting your substance use cold turkey. Drug abuse is a serious problem that affects many millions of people throughout the nation. According to DrugAbuse.gov
, approximately 570,000 people every year die of drug abuse. One of the most common methods of quitting drug or alcohol addiction is to cease using all at once. This method isn't always advisable, however, and there are a few things that you should consider before attempting it.
Depending on the drug, discontinuing use immediately can be very dangerous. If you are an alcoholic, a heroin abuser or an abuser of another form of hard drug, you may experience life-threatening issues when discontinuing use. If you are trying to discontinue recreational drugs such as marijuana or ecstasy you will not have as serious issues, and it should be fine to attempt at home.
The first thing you should do when considering this method is to look through your local community resources. There are often rehabilitation centers available at low cost or even no cost, though some of them will have a waiting list. This can be an effective way that you can get the help you need without having to pay for expensive treatment procedures.
There are also a few other things that you may want to do once you have made the decision to quit:
- Start minimizing your use immediately. This will also ensure that your withdrawals are less significant later on when you have them.
- Arrange to be around someone else. Having a friend over for the weekend can be very distracting and will help you avoid cravings.
- Let your family and friends know what is going on with you. Having a support structure during a time such as this is absolutely critical.
Cold turkey can be a very effective way to quit the use of many substances, but there are some intricacies to this type of treatment that are affected by the type of substance that you are attempting to quit. In-patient and out-patient programs can both be used as a way to augment this type of treatment. You can also attempt the treatment on your own, without rehab, as long as you are quitting a drug for which there is no physical risk.