How have you been? Hoje eu falo sobre dois idioms que tem tudo a ver com tentar abandonar um vício ou hábito fortemente enraizado… e as sensações desagradáveis que às vezes aparecem depois disso. Não perca!
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Ok, everyone. Our two idioms of today can easily go together in a story. They don’t always have to, but they make sense together and you’ll see why very soon. Also, if you watch TV shows and movies regularly, you’ve heard these before… guaranteed.
Ok, imagine that you know someone who’s depressed. I mean, clinically depressed. Let’s say it’s your friend… Mary. She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with depression, and then she started taking anti-depressants. And she took anti-depressants for several months and then one day, for whatever reason, she decided to stop taking them.
She thought “I’m going to stop and see what happens. I’m curious. Maybe I’ll feel better – maybe I’ll realise that I don’t need anti-depressants any more and if I realise I still need them, I’ll go back”. Ok, so, to recap, Mary had been taking anti-depressants every day for months, and one day she thought “I’ll stop and see what happens.” The next day she stopped. Mary stopped taking anti-depressants cold turkey. She went cold turkey off anti-depressants.
Going cold turkey off something means suddenly stop taking that drug that you depend on, or supposedly depend on. It means you’ve been taking it for a while, you’re used to it, you think it helps you, it provides some kind of relief, it makes the annoying symptoms go away… and then for some reason you stop cold turkey. Overnight. That’s what going cold turkey means.
Look at what this person tweeted out: “Top tip: don’t go cold turkey off your anti-depressants”. A “top tip” is a tip that is really valuable – and this is the top tip: don’t go cold turkey off your meds. So I’m thinking that this is exactly what this person did, and they had first-hand experience of the withdrawal symptoms which must not have been pleasant.
So, this is our second term of today: withdrawal symptoms. Have you heard it before? Even if you haven’t, by now you know what it means. That’s what people usually feel when they stop something they’re, well, addicted to. Smokers who use will power to stop smoking, or anyone who stops consuming whatever they were addicted to cold turkey… these people will usually experience withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms are obviously not pleasant, right? When you’re addicted to something and you stop cold turkey, you should probably expect some discomfort or even some pain. Even people who cut coffee off their lives sometimes report some withdrawal symptoms. In many cases, these symptoms will go away in some time.
And, of course, the term ‘withdrawal symptoms’ can be used metaphorically as well – for example when you really like something or are used to it, and it suddenly goes away. You could sort of joke and say you got withdrawal symptoms, like this girl who tweeted “I honestly get withdrawal symptoms from my boyfriend when I don’t see him for a few days”. So there you go… as with many, many expressions, you can use withdrawal symptoms in a couple of different ways.
I think most people will have a personal story involving quitting something cold turkey. And, maybe, experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I’ve gone cold turkey a few times in my life – sometimes I was able to keep it up, other times I wasn’t. I usually find it harder, though, to gradually decrease the intake of whatever it is I’m trying to cut off. I find that it’s just easier to stop once and for all to go cold turkey.
What about you? What is your story? Let me know in the comments and see you soon.
Go away = desaparecer, sumir, ir embora
Overnight = da noite para o dia
Meds = Maneira informal de dizer “medicine” que significa remédio ou medicamento
First-hand experience = experiência própria
Addicted to = viciado em alguma coisa
Intake = consumo ou ingestão de algo
Once and for all = de uma vez por todas, de forma definitiva
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