Cold turkey

"Cold turkey" describes the actions of a person who abruptly gives up a habit or addiction rather than gradually easing the process through gradual reduction or by using replacement medication.

The supposed advantage is that by not actively using supplemental methods, the person avoids thinking about the habit and its temptation, and avoids further feeding the chemical addiction. The supposed disadvantages related to the abuse of drugs such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and heroin are unbearable withdrawal symptoms from the total absence, which may cause tremendous stress on the heart and blood vessels (and, in a worst case scenario, possible stroke or heart failure).[citation needed]

Sudden withdrawal from drugs such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and barbiturates can be extremely dangerous, leading to potentially fatal seizures. In long-term alcoholics, going cold turkey can cause life-threatening delirium tremens and thus is not an appropriate method for breaking an alcohol addiction.[1]

In the case of dependence upon certain drugs, including opiates such as heroin, going cold turkey may be extremely unpleasant, but less dangerous.[2] Life-threatening issues are unlikely without a pre-existing medical condition.

Etymology

There are several explanations of the phrase's origin:

  • A narrowing of the meaning "suddenly or without preparation," from cold turkey being a dish that requires little preparation; originally used for heroin addicts.[3]
  • From the American phrase talk turkey meaning "to speak bluntly with little preparation".[4]
  • Some believe the derivation is from the comparison of a cold turkey carcass and the state of a withdrawing addict — most notably, the cold sweats and goose bumps.[5]
  • Reference to the periods after Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays where cold (leftover) turkey was likely to be eaten, coinciding with the end of those holidays' characteristically high alcohol consupmtion. [6]

References

  1. ^ Hughes, John R. (2009). "Alcohol withdrawal seizures". Epilepsy & Behavior 15 (2): 92–7. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2009.02.037. PMID 19249388. 
  2. ^ [1] Opiate withdrawal: Medline Plus — NIH.
  3. ^ [2] Cold turkey in the Online Etymology Dictionary
  4. ^ [3] cold turkey definition
  5. ^ http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/96950.html
  6. ^ http://www.proverbium.org/idioms/cold-turkey/

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cold turkey — {adv.}, {slang}, {informal} 1. Abruptly and without medical aid to withdraw from the use of an addictive drug or from a serious drinking problem. * /Joe is a very brave guy; he kicked the habit cold turkey./ 2. {n.} An instance of withdrawal from …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • cold turkey — {adv.}, {slang}, {informal} 1. Abruptly and without medical aid to withdraw from the use of an addictive drug or from a serious drinking problem. * /Joe is a very brave guy; he kicked the habit cold turkey./ 2. {n.} An instance of withdrawal from …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • Cold Turkey — «Cold Turkey» Sencillo de The Plastic Ono Band Lado B Don t Worry Kyoko (Mummy s Only Looking for a Hand in the Snow), por Yōko Ono Formato Vinilo de 7 (45 R.P.M.) Grabación 30 de septiembre de 1969 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Cold Turkey — «Cold Turkey» Сингл Джона Леннона Сторона «Б» Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for a Hand in the Snow) Выпущен …   Википедия

  • cold turkey — without preparation, 1910; narrower sense of withdrawal from an addictive substance (originally heroin) first recorded 1921. Cold turkey is a food that requires little preparation, so to quit like cold turkey is to do so suddenly and without… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cold turkey — cold turkey1 noun uncount INFORMAL the pains that someone feels when they stop taking drugs that they are ADDICTED to cold turkey ,cold turkey 2 adverb INFORMAL if you stop doing something such as smoking or taking drugs cold turkey, you stop it… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cold turkey — ☆ cold turkey n. [< ?] Slang 1. by abruptly and totally withdrawing from an addiction to drugs, tobacco, etc. 2. in a frank, blunt, or matter of fact way [to talk cold turkey about our chances] 3. without preparation or preliminaries cold… …   English World dictionary

  • Cold Turkey — ist: ein plötzlicher Entzug von Drogen, siehe Entzugssyndrom ein Stück von John Lennon aus dem Jahr 1969, siehe Cold Turkey (Lied) Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • cold turkey — n [U] an unpleasant physical condition suffered by people who stop taking a drug that they are ↑addicted to ▪ addicts who are made to go cold turkey …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cold-turkey — the unpleasant physical and mental effects someone suffers when they suddenly stop taking drugs. Cold turkey treatment of addicts will always produce withdrawal symptoms. (always before noun) …   New idioms dictionary

  • cold turkey — If someone suddenly stops taking drugs, instead of slowly cutting down, they do cold turkey …   The small dictionary of idiomes


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