Recovering from drugs or alcohol is a process that takes time, patience and hard work. However, some substance users mistakenly believe that there are ways to cut corners during the recovery process. In an effort to get withdrawal “over with,” many recovering addicts opt to go cold turkey. In reality, though, this decision ends up causing more harm than good.

Cold turkey can have a host of dangerous effects on a person’s mind and body. It’s important to understand the negative consequences of this recovery route and how it can hinder a person’s attempts to attain sobriety. Here’s everything you need to know about going cold turkey and how long its effects last.


What Is Cold Turkey?

Cold turkey refers to the process of quitting drugs or alcohol all at once, rather than tapering off the substance in stages. Many people opt to stop taking a substance immediately in the hopes that it will make it easier to conquer their addiction. Instead of enduring the struggle of gradually quitting alcohol or drugs, they prefer to abruptly remove it from their lives.

In most cases, though, the opposite is true. If you’ve developed a strong dependence on a substance, you may be at risk of suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be harmful or even life-threatening in certain situations.

Another major risk of going cold turkey is battling the urge to use drugs or alcohol again. When you suddenly stop using a substance, your body isn’t prepared for it. It will therefore react by developing a strong craving for the substance that will be nearly impossible to ignore. As a result, choosing to quit cold turkey often causes addicts to regress in their recovery.

How Long Cold Turkey Lasts

Cold turkey can lead to a number of dangerous symptoms, both mental and physical. Some of these effects include nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, sweating, hallucinations, depression, anxiety and irritability. But how long do these symptoms tend to last?

The answer varies based on a number of factors. However, you can expect withdrawal symptoms to appear about 8 hours after you first quit cold turkey. Everyone’s experience is different, though, and the severity of your withdrawal process may be influenced by the type of substance you’re using and how frequently you’ve been using it.

In addition, the total duration of the withdrawal process varies significantly. Because quitting cold turkey takes such a severe toll on the mind and body, it often takes recovering addicts a long time to complete the withdrawal process. The length of withdrawal may also be complicated by cravings that tempt addicts to start using a substance again.

Recover From Drug or Alcohol Addiction the Safe Way

In most situations, quitting cold turkey is a dangerous choice that carries a range of serious risks. To minimize the risk of health problems during withdrawal, it’s crucial to take part in medical detox. Medical detox allows you to recover from withdrawal symptoms in a safe and supportive environment. In addition, medical experts ensure that you taper off the substance gradually to avoid relapse.

If you’re ready to reclaim your life and rise above your addiction, contact America’s Rehab Campuses today. Our dedicated experts will be there to support you every step of the way.