Librium is the brand name of the generic drug chlordiazepoxide. It is classified as a long-acting benzodiazepine and indicated for the treatment of anxiety disorders as well as for individuals who are in withdrawal from an alcohol use disorder Librium, like other benzodiazepines, may also be used to treat the following conditions or symptoms associated with a health disorder:
- Muscle tension
- Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
In addition, Librium may be used prior to surgery.
The US Food and Drug Administration first approved chlordiazepoxide in 1960. Although Librium has a legitimate medical utility, it has abuse potential. According to accounts provided by individuals who have abused Librium, it not only has a sedative effect but also induces a “high.” This effect is a direct result of taking too much of the drug and does typically occur in individuals who have a legitimate prescription and follow the prescribing doctor’s orders for use.
Symptoms and Signs of Librium Abuse
It is helpful for the public to understand how the government, researchers, and addiction professionals learn about the effects of abuse of a drug, such as Librium. Pharmaceutical companies that manufacture prescription drugs run clinical trials, and researchers note the side effects in the study participants. These side effects are usually ranked from mild to moderate to severe (or rare). These trials do not usually focus on abuse; that’s a separate form of research that is usually government-sponsored or performed under a grant in a university or entity that is working in the public interest.
An understanding of the side effects of Librium that comes from clinical trials provide insight into the symptoms of abuse. In some instances, a person who abuses Librium will experience mild or moderate (i.e., the more common) symptoms. Because abuse involves taking too much of a drug, more severe side effects may emerge. In either event, it is useful to know some of the more common side effects of Librium, which are as follows:
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
- Blurred vision
The more rare and serious side effects of Librium, which abuse may trigger, include but are not limited to:
- Slurred speech
- Trouble walking
- Poor coordination
- Involuntary muscle movements
- An increase or decrease in sexual interest
- Muscle or facial twitching
- Problems passing urine
- Sleep troubles
- Mood changes
There are also general benzodiazepine abuse signs, which is another way of saying benzodiazepine overdose or toxicity may be occurring, and some of these will overlap with the side effects listed above:
- Poor coordination
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty breathing
When a person engages in chronic abuse of Librium, or other benzodiazepines, the following symptoms may emerge, even though they are the very reason why benzodiazepines are prescribed in the first place:
It may seem so obvious it does not need to be discussed, but physical dependence and addiction are side effects of Librium use or abuse. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, physical dependence and addiction are natural biological processes. When a person regularly takes an addiction-forming drug, such as Librium, over time, physical dependence will typically set in. There are two main hallmarks of physical dependence: tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is a naturally occurring process. Stated simply, the more a person uses a drug, more of that drug will be required to deliver the desired effects. However, the body does not simultaneously protect the person who is taking larger doses from experiencing side effects. This is how an overdose can happen. While on the one hand the body is sending out signals for more of a drug (due to the tolerance process), it is not working to ensure that the person will not experience an overdose. This basic understanding of biology can be helpful to anyone who is abusing Librium or any other drug.
When a person stops, or significantly reduces, their familiar dosage of the drug, withdrawal symptoms will emerge. The withdrawal process is the body’s way of sending messages to the person to use the drug again because the body has habituated to the drug. The biology of the human species is such that the body is designed to perpetuate what is familiar and, ironically, even if it’s not conducive to health, wellbeing, and survival. As Librium is a long-acting benzodiazepine, the first withdrawal symptoms usually emerge in 3-4 days since last use.
It is necessary to note that there is a general advisement in the field of addiction treatment that a person who has been abusing Librium and now wants to stop should undergo medical detox. During medical detox, a doctor and addiction treatment specialists will help to ensure that a person does not experience severe withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. For this reason, a tapering-off process is a main feature of supervised benzodiazepine withdrawal.
The tapering process is tailored to the individual in withdrawal. There are numerous medically relevant factors involved in the initial and ongoing dosing during the tapering process. For instance, a doctor will take into account the individual’s physiology, any existing mental and/or physical health conditions, the volume of Librium abuse, and length of the abuse. The many nuances involved in this process only highlight how far off the mark a “cold turkey” approach to withdrawal can be. At present, the safest way to withdrawal from Librium or other benzodiazepine abuse is to undergo medical detox at a rehab center that offers this service, a dedicated detoxification facility, a hospital, or other qualified clinical setting.
Finding Help for Librium Abuse
There are numerous ways a person can find recovery services for Librium abuse and addiction. In some instances, the individual’s loved ones or another third party will need to take the lead on finding help. Short of contacting a rehab center directly, one helpful approach can be to contact professionals who work in or around addiction treatment. Such individuals include but are not limited to family doctors, mental health counselors, a local nonprofit organization, an insurance company (to find an in-network rehab center), or a government agency.
Some individuals may choose to do some research on rehab center programs and then reach out to those facilities that appear to be a suitable match. In other instances, a person may get a referral from a trusted source, such as someone who has experience with a particular rehab center. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has published A Quick Guide to Finding Effective Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment for the public that provides additional insight into learning about and identifying rehab centers.
Much of addiction treatment that is provided after medical detox relates to individual and group therapy. It is in therapist-led sessions, which may follow a particular approach, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (among other research-based therapy approaches), where recovering individuals learn about the root causes of their addiction. Therapy can help a recovering person to gain an understanding of how the drug abuse started, why it continued, and the emotional, psychological, behavioral triggers that were involved. In this way, therapy provides individuals with an education about drug abuse and addiction as well guidance on how to build a drug-free life with a new understanding of how all aspects of life can positively support that goal.