Can I Quit ‘Cold Turkey’?

Many people are unwilling to go to treatment for drug and alcohol detoxification. They believe that they would be more comfortable detoxifying at home without assistance. There is also the factor of social stigma and people may fear that entering into treatment would lead to a loss of respect from others. While it is important to address and overcome the social stigma of seeking treatment, the benefits of medically-assisted detox far outweigh the potential dangers of self-detox without assistance.
The dangers of self-detox became well-known in 2017 when ‘True Blood’ actor Nelsan Ellis died from heart failure after attempting to stop drinking on his own. Shamard Charles, in a 2017 NBC News article entitled Death of ‘True Blood’ Actor Nelsan Ellis Spotlights Risk in Detoxing Alone, explained, “Between 5 and 25 percent of people who go through extreme alcohol withdrawal die, according to a report in Alcohol Health & Research World. It’s believed that singer Amy Winehouse died as a result of an unsuccessful alcohol self-detox.” Alcohol detoxification can lead to heart palpitations, delirium tremens, and seizures that could lead to death without proper medical supervision and assistance.
Benzodiazepines are another substance that can lead to death from grand mal seizures during detoxification. Alcohol and benzodiazepines are sedatives, and when the substances are removed, the withdrawal symptoms become the exact opposite of the effects of the drugs, referred to as ‘hyperarousal’. Symptoms of withdrawal include insomnia, tremors, anxiety, nausea, excessive perspiration, hallucinations, heart palpitations and seizures. If left untreated, these symptoms may lead to death or other serious health complications.
Treatment centers offer a very high level of safety that cannot be achieved at home. Even if one has medications, such as anti-seizure medication, to treat the potentially life-threatening symptoms, there may still be extreme dangers. Medical staff are capable of determining the appropriate amount and type of medication to use to mitigate dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms may make it impossible for one to take them themselves during the throes of withdrawal. Medical staff can monitor and provide assistance to make the process of detoxification as safe and comfortable as possible.
There are also additional dangers associated with dangerous withdrawal symptoms. For example, seizures can cause a person to aspirate food, or inhale it through the trachea, leading to choking. Another major danger is having a seizure and falling, which could lead to potentially life-threatening brain injuries. Clinical settings allow one to go through the detoxification process in a safe and comfortable way with medical staff treating withdrawal symptoms immediately.

Entering into treatment can be a frightening prospect, but your health and happiness must be your number one concern. You can make the courageous decision to reach out for help today and begin a rewarding life free from the chains of drugs and alcohol. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed Substance Use Disorder and Dual Diagnosis treatment center in the heart of Laguna Beach, is staffed with compassionate and professional medical staff who utilize a wide range of safe and effective medications to help manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal. For more information about Detox at Oceanfront and other individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777