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A 39-year-old member asked:

Can quitting alcohol cold turkey cause a cardiac arrest?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Klein
Family Medicine 21 years experience
Yes, if indirectly: While many drugs can be stopped cold turkey, almost all will cause some level of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms from narcotic drugs such as heroin or Cocaine can produce diarrhea, chills, nausea or vomiting, but will usually not kill you. Alcohol withdrawal is much more dangerous and can cause seizures and heart arrythmias which can lead to cardiac arrest. Never quit without medical supervision!
Dr. Gutti Rao
Hospital-based practice 46 years experience
No: You may have withdrawal which can be controlled with meds.
Dr. Dennis Clifford
A Verified Doctoranswered
A US doctor answeredLearn more
Usually not.: Alcohol withdrawal (delirium tremens) can be very serious and usually requires hospitalization. If the heart has been damaged from alcohol use (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) it is possible that the stress of withdrawal could lead to arrhythmias and cardiac arrest, but this is rare.

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A 41-year-old member asked:

Can alchoholics die of cardiac arrest if they quit cold turkey?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Rick Koch
Cardiology 22 years experience
This depends greatly: On whether or not cardiomyopathy or significant electrolyte abnormalities are present.

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Last updated Jul 4, 2015

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