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Quitting Painkillers Cold Turkey: What are the Dangers?

Quitting painkillers can be a grueling task, especially if you are trying to do it alone. Painkillers are some of the most widely abused mind-altering substances in the United States and include drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and morphine. When used as prescribed by a medical professional, these substances can be effective in reducing pain caused by surgical procedures, accidents, and end-of-life care. But unfortunately, many people find themselves misusing these types of painkillers both intentionally and unintentionally, creating several risks for themselves that even include death.

Not only is the abuse of an addiction to painkillers dangerous, but danger also presents itself when that use suddenly stops. Going from actively abusing painkillers to ceasing use entirely is known as going “cold turkey”. This term refers to the chills and sweats that individuals tend to get when they stop all painkiller use, causing their skin to feel similar to that of a cold turkey. In theory, just suddenly putting down the painkillers in an effort to get sober seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, this is never a wise plan even if it may feel like it. That is because painkiller abuse can create dependence, sending the body and mind into a frenzy when the user comes to a grinding halt.

Dangers of Quitting Painkillers Cold Turkey

If you are addicted to opioid-based painkillers, it is recommended that you detox in the care of medical and mental health professionals to avoid dangerous complications. Not everyone who wants to detox from painkillers is going to seek this level of care, even though it is ideal and the safest way to go. If you make the decision to quit painkillers cold turkey, you are likely going to run into some issues that can compromise your goals of sobriety as well as your wellbeing. 

More Intense Withdrawal Symptoms

Regardless of if you stop abusing painkillers gradually while in a detox facility or on your own cold turkey, you will develop withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur because the body has grown accustomed to having opioid painkillers regularly coursing through it. In its absence, the body produces symptoms known as withdrawal symptoms. They often include vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, abdominal cramping, and muscle aches and pains. These withdrawal symptoms can increase in intensity if you decide on quitting painkillers cold turkey. This means that you run the risk of vomiting more, having more diarrhea, prolonged muscle pains, and so on. It can be easy to become dehydrated at this time, which can create life-threatening circumstances if not properly addressed. 

Stronger Likelihood of Relapse

Going from actively abusing painkillers to not using them in the slightest bit can create a dramatic dynamic in your life. You may go from being detached from others to suddenly facing a number of mental and emotional challenges you haven’t even thought about in some time. In addition to that, withdrawal symptoms can come on rapidly and compromise your physical health. When you are not feeling well both mentally and physically and you are not receiving professional treatment while you detox, your chances of using painkillers once more increase significantly. That is because by using painkillers, your withdrawal symptoms will be alleviated, as will any mental strife that you were experiencing. Not only is this dangerous because quitting painkillers cold turkey can cause relapse, but it is also dangerous because going from sudden cessation of use to using once more increases your risk of overdose, which can be deadly.

Increased Risk for Mental Health Complications

Even if you are able to make your way through the painful withdrawal symptoms that quitting painkillers cold turkey can produce, you may still experience more severe mental health complications. A major benefit for ending a substance use disorder in a professional facility is being able to benefit from the support of certified and licensed specialists. Not only can they make you physically comfortable, but they can also help you manage the psychological complications you may develop. For example, it is common for people who are quitting painkillers to experience depression and anxiety. Without help, the symptoms associated with these conditions can become overwhelming and impact areas of your life in negative ways. Plus, there lies an increased risk for suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts in those who quit painkillers cold turkey because of this lack of professional support. 

Qutting Painkillers With Drug Rehab in Tennessee

An addiction to painkillers can be extremely distressing and painful. The good news is that you do not need to go through it alone. With the help of our team at Tennessee Valley Recovery, we can help you safely detox from opioid-based painkillers so that you do not need to experience any significant dangers just because you want to stop using. 

Our programming options allow for you to make a full, safe recovery from an addiction to painkillers. We work directly with you to ensure that you are comfortable each and every step of the way. So, if you are ready to make the change you so desperately want, do not wait any longer. Contact us right now to learn more about how we can get you the treatment you need and want today.

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