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Risks of Quitting Cold Turkey

young person looking pensive as they consider the risks of quitting cold turkey

In the United States, millions of people are impacted by opioid addiction every day. An opioid substance use disorder can be dangerous, but so can quitting cold turkey. 

If you want to break free from opioid addiction, our opioid addiction treatment program in Asheville is here to help. Turn to Insight Recovery Center by calling 828.826.1376 to begin treatment for your substance use disorder. 

Understanding Opioid Addiction 

Opioids represent a broad group of substances that offers pain relief by interacting with the pain receptors in your brain. They include prescription drugs like Oxycodone as well as illegal drugs like heroin.   

Opioids bind to receptors in your brain, triggering the release of endorphins (feel-good hormones), which dull pain and boost feelings of pleasure. This results in a sense of well-being that is powerful but temporary. The more you use opioids, the more your body craves that same pleasurable response.  

Over time, your body slows its production of endorphins, and the normal opioid dose stops offering the powerful rush you crave. This means you have built up a tolerance to the drug, which causes you to use it more often and in greater quantities.  

Although a substance use disorder can develop in anyone, certain risk factors can make you more likely to struggle with this condition, including: 

  • Mental health conditions 
  • Family history of addiction 
  • Trauma 
  • Having suffered abuse 
  • Poverty 
  • High levels of stress 

Many signs can help you know when opioid use has developed into an opioid addiction. Some of the most common ones are: 

  • Experiencing cravings 
  • Doctor shopping 
  • Lying about opioid use 
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms 

If you struggle with an opioid use disorder, the first step toward recovery is getting help from professionals.  

Why Quitting Cold Turkey Is Dangerous 

Once you have a tolerance for the opioid, you depend on it to function correctly. If you stop taking it, your brain and body do not function properly because they have become dependent upon the drug. This leads to severe withdrawal symptoms.  

The most common opioid withdrawal symptoms are: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Runny nose 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Insomnia 
  • Abdominal cramping 
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • High blood pressure 

Going through the withdrawal process on your own can put you at risk of dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea. Conversely, quitting cold turkey can make you more likely to relapse because of the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.  

Relapsing after going through part of the detox process can put your life at risk because your body will no longer be able to manage your usual dose of opioids, potentially leading to an overdose.  

Treatment for Opioid Addiction 

To manage an opioid addiction, you need to turn to treatment programs. With professionals helping you, you can go through the detoxification process safely before beginning therapy sessions to treat the root cause of addiction.  

If you have an addiction to opioids and do not want to turn to residential treatment programs, you can get a high level of care at an intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP allows you to return home each night so that you can keep up with family and work responsibilities.  

During treatment, you will receive therapy sessions—usually using behavioral therapy modalities. These will help you uncover the factors that might have caused the disorder, and that may be preventing you from recovering.  

Avoid Serious Withdrawal Symptoms at Insight Recovery Center 

An opioid substance use disorder is a dangerous condition you don’t want to battle alone. To ensure that you safely go through the detoxification process and get the therapy you need to recover fully, turn to treatment programs at Insight Recovery Center.  

Our team is here to offer intensive outpatient programs as well as aftercare services. Contact Insight Recovery Center today by calling 828.826.1376 or reaching out online.