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Lubbock Ph.D. Says Don’t Quit Cold Turkey

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 11:23 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - More than 14 million people in this country age 12 and older admit to a least one addiction according to a recent national survey on drug use.

Dr. Susan Bergeson, Ph.D., is a University Distinguished Professor for the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She says while concern over the opioid epidemic is warranted, it’s important to remember that more people die annually from alcohol use disorder. However, if you’ve decided that this is the year you are going to quit drinking, she says don’t think you can pick a day and quit cold turkey. 

She says,  “I want to make sure that people understand that just quitting on your own can be a medical emergency. If you’re physically dependent on alcohol, you can go through very severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, which can kill you.”

Currently, there are 3 FDA approved drugs to help treat alcohol use disorder. But they come with side effects and are not used very often.  Dr. Bergeson says it’s important to talk to your doctor about getting the help you need. 

That will likely include joining a group where others face the same issues because she says that can be very helpful. “It’s a lifelong process that they have to fight that, you know, disorder for the rest of their life. Alcoholics Anonymous is very successful at that.”

Most people have to go through numerous relapses before they can take control of an addiction. 

Dr. Bergeson says you have to understand first that an alcohol addiction is a brain disorder with triggers. When you can determine what those triggers are, you can learn how to avoid them and take control of your life.

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