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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 22 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 47 years experience
No: You may have withdrawal which can be controlled with meds.
Dr. Dennis Clifford
A Verified Doctoranswered
44 years experience
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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Last updated Jul 4, 2015

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