Drug and Alcohol Detox: Treatment vs. Cold Turkey

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Drug and alcohol detox is the process that facilitates withdrawal from addictive substances. Alcohol and many drugs cause users to become physically dependent, which means they go through withdrawal if they stop. Depending on the drug in question, withdrawal can be extremely dangerous. It can even be life-threatening. This is why it is always recommended to go through drug and alcohol detox under medical supervision.

Drug and Alcohol Detox Methods

Most treatment centers have drug and alcohol detox centers as part of their facilities. Detox is a crucial first step in treatment, as it frees the body of its physical addiction. Unless addicts are freed of their physical dependence, all the medication and therapy in the world won’t make any difference.

Cold Turkey Drug And Alcohol Detox

Unfortunately, many addicts do not detox at a drug rehab center. Instead, they try to do it on their own. This is call detoxing “cold turkey.” Supposedly, it earned its name because detox without treatment is as ill-prepared as a cold turkey without an oven. The simple fact is that addicts do not have the necessary tools to go through detox on their own.

“Cold turkey” leaves addicts to their own devices when they go through withdrawal. This is dangerous for all drug withdrawals, but especially for the following drugs:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol detox is one of the most dangerous. Effects include seizures, hallucinations, and delirium tremens (“the shakes” or “the DTs”). Without treatment, the DTs kill about 35% of detoxing alcoholics.
  • Benzodiazepines: Drugs such as Xanax, Librium and Valium are just as dangerous as alcohol. Withdrawing addicts can seize up and experience traumatizing depression and anxiety.
  • Opiates: Both heroin and painkiller addiction cause violent and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These include diarrhea, nausea, fevers and severe depression.

Medical Drug And Alcohol Detox

At the very best, drug and alcohol detox will be an extremely uncomfortable process. At worst, it can kill you. That’s why it is always recommended to detox at a medical facility (i.e. a drug addiction treatment center). There, you will have access to 24/7 medical care and consultation. Doctors will treat your physical and psychological symptoms if you experience any difficulties — and you will.

Withdrawal is a core part of overcoming the disease of addiction. All addicts have three options:

  1. No Detox – Keep suffering, don’t recover at all.
  2. Cold Turkey – Detox on your own, which is extremely dangerous.
  3. Detox at a Drug Rehab – The safest and most effective drug and alcohol detox.

Given these three choices, detoxing at a treatment center is the most rational option. Without any detox, you will continue to suffer. Without medical detox, you could possible die just before you have the chance to start your life over. Don’t tempt fate — choose a drug rehab.

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