Librium is the brand name of chlordiazepoxide, a powerful prescription benzodiazepine, which is a type of central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is used to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorder as well as insomnia and other sleep issues. Librium was the first benzodiazepine to be created and introduced in 1959 as a safer alternative to barbiturates, which were extremely addictive and often abused.
While benzos like Librium have largely replaced barbiturates, Librium itself has unfortunately proven to also have a high potential for abuse and addiction, as well as many dangerous side effects, including liver damage, frequent fainting, and often painful rashes.
Because of this, Librium is no longer frequently prescribed, and only strictly for short-term treatment when it is, as it is all too easy to develop a tolerance and becoming dependent and eventually addicted to the drug.
How Does Librium Work?
Librium works the same way as essentially all other benzos, depressing the central nervous system by raising the levels of a brain chemical called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA’s role in the body is to help regulate anxiety, stress, and fear by slowing down activity in the nervous system and inhibiting these nerve impulses.
Librium enters the brain by mimicking natural GABA and binding with the brain’s GABA receptors to activate them repeatedly until they’ve produced significantly more GABA than they ever would naturally. This floods the brain and nervous system to create strong feelings of sedation and intoxication, as well as inducing sleep.
What Are the Signs of Librium Addiction?
A danger of not only Librium but also prescription medications, in general, is that because it has been provided by a doctor, it is comparatively safer to misuse or abuse than illicit substances like heroin or cocaine. And while there is no such thing as safe drug abuse, it can make recognizing the signs of Librium abuse or addiction that much more difficult to the point where even if you are the one abusing the drug, you may not realize that you are progressing to addiction until it’s too late.
When someone has a prescription to Librium that they have previously been using as directed, it can also complicate recognizing the signs of a growing Librium addiction. Spotting these signs before things escalate to a severe addiction can get someone into treatment sooner and potentially save their lives.
Some Common Side Effects of Regular Librium Abuse to Watch Out for Include:
- Frequent dizziness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Major changes in appetite
- Noticeably increased aggression
- Memory problems
- Impaired coordination
- Chronic gastrointestinal issues
Addiction is something that typically happens in stages as opposed to all at once. The most significant difference between Librium abuse and dependence and Librium addiction is that someone addicted to Librium is not only dependent on it but has absolutely no control over their use. They will seek out and use Librium compulsively and obsessively.
At this point, someone addicted to Librium will begin exhibiting behavior consistent with substance use disorders, prioritizing their use over relationships and responsibilities and continuing to use even after consequences like financial difficulties, legal problems, and health issues arise. The signs of Librium addiction include:
- Taking Librium outside of the prescribed dosage
- Taking Librium in unintended ways, such as crushing and snorting it
- Increasing tolerance to Librium’s effects
- Getting strong cravings and withdrawal symptoms when not using Librium
- Attempting to obtain multiple prescriptions or forge a prescription
- Taking Librium without a prescription
- Feeling unable to be “normal” unless taking Librium
- Becoming increasingly isolated and withdrawn
- Hiding or lying about Librium use
- Trying to quit Librium but being unable to stop using
If you recognize these symptoms in your own behavior or have otherwise observed them in someone you care about, it means that the time for action is now. Do not hesitate to seek out the help of professional addiction treatment services.
What Is Involved in Librium Addiction Treatment?
Proper treatment for the abuse or addiction of nearly any addictive substance starts with medical detoxification, a process meant to help treat acute intoxication and stabilize someone physically and mentally as any trace of drugs or alcohol is removed from their system.
In the case of Librium, because it is a benzodiazepine, detox is especially critical and should not be attempted alone or without the supervision of an experienced medical detox professional, as benzo withdrawal is one of the more dangerous withdrawal processes.
The withdrawal symptoms associated with Librium detox, as well as benzo detox, in general, can be unpredictable and even life-threatening, including delirium, suicidal behavior, psychosis, hallucinations, and grand mal seizures.
If someone has been abusing large amounts of Librium within a fairly short span, they may also experience what’s known as benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, during which common withdrawal symptoms intensify, and atypical ones may appear as well. All of this only highlights the importance of undergoing detox under the careful monitoring of a detox team that has been trained to handle any potential complications.
Once finished with detox, it is strongly recommended that someone continue with their Librium addiction treatment or otherwise risk a quick relapse. To truly address the issues behind a person’s Librium addiction, they need to follow through with ongoing care in either an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program.
Both inpatient and outpatient programs have their benefits, depending on the needs of the individual in treatment. Inpatient treatment involves living on-site at the facility during the recovery program, which allows for total focus without any triggers or possible temptations. This environment also offers around-the-clock access to medical and therapeutic care. Outpatient treatment offers clients flexibility as they can continue living at home and structure their therapy sessions and medical check-ins around everyday life.
No matter which program someone chooses, with they will work to better understand and manage their addictive behaviors, helping them maintain long-term sobriety. This is done through a wide range of different treatments and therapies, which will generally have been customized into a treatment plan based on what has been evaluated as most effective for a given client.
Some Common Treatment Plan Elements Include:
- Individual and group counseling
- Behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
- EMDR therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Holistic therapy
- Relapse prevention planning
- Addiction education classes
- 12-step programs
How Dangerous Is Librium?
Librium is at the stronger end of the benzodiazepine spectrum and has a very long half-life in comparison to other benzos; it can remain in someone’s system for 30-to-60 hours. This means that someone who regularly abuses large amounts of Librium will constantly have it building up in their system. This results in the user building up a tolerance extremely quickly and becoming dependent and addicted that much faster, as well as potentially causing serious physical damage over time.
This also increases the likelihood of an overdose, especially if the person who engages in abuse has a slower metabolism that takes even longer to process Librium. Librium becomes that much more dangerous when used in conjunction with other depressants to increase its effects, like opioids or alcohol.
The symptoms of a Librium overdose include:
- Loss of coordination
- Impaired reflexes
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed heartbeat
- Dangerously slow and shallow breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Drifting in and out of consciousness
- Bluish skin around the lips and fingernails
Librium Addiction Statistics
- According to an American Psychological Association (APA) study, between 11% and 15% of Americans reported having at least one bottle of benzodiazepines like Librium in their home medicine cabinet.
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Librium and other benzos are involved in more than 30% of all opioid-related overdoses in the U.S.
- In 2016, more than 10,500 overdose deaths in the U.S. were caused by benzodiazepines, including Librium.