Not to be mistaken with the famous Thanksgiving fowl, the term “cold turkey” is usually heard in discussions regarding addiction and its treatment. Cold turkey is a term used to refer to the process of quitting drugs or alcohol abruptly, with the intention of curbing addiction by not feeding it through continued substance abuse. Many have tried to avoid falling into addiction through this method, only to find themselves with worse cravings and compulsions than before. The withdrawal symptoms involved in quitting cold turkey have proven difficult for many, making claims of its general efficacy somewhat questionable.
There are varying accounts regarding the origin of cold turkey as an addiction term. Some believe it is a reference to a dish of cold turkey, which requires little to no preparation, while others believe that the term was coined due to the physical appearance of an addict in withdrawal. They are likened to a cold turkey carcass due to the goosebumps and cold sweats. The real origin of the term has been verified, however, and it has been found to refer to the end of excessive alcohol consumption after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, signified by the end of the leftover cold turkey from family dinners.
Regardless of its origin, quitting cold turkey usually does not end well and often worsens the problem. It leads to severe withdrawal symptoms that often drive addicts back to substance abuse. A relapse is the usual result of quitting cold turkey, and this is what addiction treatment specialists try to avoid at all costs. A relapse signifies a failure somewhere within the treatment process and brings addicts back to where they started, sometimes even worse off than before. Addiction treatment centers have varying programs that all taper an addict’s drug use, and many of them do not recommend quitting cold turkey. In the end, the appropriate treatment program will be up to addiction treatment specialists who know exactly how to address issues related to addiction and substance abuse.