Librium is the brand name of the benzodiazepine chlordiazepoxide and was introduced for medical use in 1960. A sedative and hypnotic medication, Librium is commonly used to treat insomnia and anxiety and aid in curbing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Even though Librium is commonly known as a safer substance, it is still a benzo and thus should be used with caution. Librium is classified into the same category as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), two commonly abused drugs with a high rate of addiction.
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Librium often comes in capsule form, with the normal dosage amounts being anywhere between 5-25 mg three to four times a day. The dosage amount depends on the severity of the condition being treated. For example, more acute and severe anxiety will often call for 20-25 mg, whereas mild anxiety, such as before a surgery, can be treated with 5-10 mg.
When treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms, doctors may prescribe 50-100 mg of Librium. Due to the severe immediate effects of alcohol withdrawal, doctors start at very high doses before slowly lowering the amount administered.
Like other benzodiazepines, Librium works by binding to the brain’s GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter responsible for inhibiting the body’s nerve impulses and calming you down. Librium increases the levels of this inhibitory signaling, which depresses the central nervous system to produce the feelings of relaxation and sedation.
The problem is that the brain quickly adapts to these new levels, and so it doesn’t take much regular use for an individual to develop a tolerance and require higher doses of Librium to achieve the same effects.
Because of this rapid tolerance, Librium is only intended for short-term treatment, typically about two to four weeks. When someone begins using Librium outside of the prescribed dosage, they can quickly become psychologically dependent, and from there escalate to a full-blown addiction.
What Are the Librium Withdrawal Symptoms?
Librium withdrawal symptoms can vary from fairly mild to potentially life-threatening based on factors such as the amount of Librium someone was using and whether or not they detox through a gradual dose-reduction plan. Librium withdrawal symptoms include these milder symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased blood pressure
More severe symptoms that may appear in someone suffering from benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which can occur after heavy, long-term abuse of Librium, include:
- Panic attacks
- Memory loss
- Muscle pain
- Suicidal thoughts and behavior
Because of the danger of these more intense and potentially fatal symptoms, it is highly recommended that individuals undergo detoxification at a professional facility where they can be closely monitored around the clock.
What Are the Stages of the Librium Withdrawal Timeline?
While there is a general timeline for the stages of Librium withdrawal, there are also many different factors that can affect both the length of withdrawal and the severity of the symptoms, which can lead to very different experiences from person to person. Some common factors include:
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- How long an individual has been abusing Librium
- How much Librium where they taking
- How they were taking it (in tablet form, snorting, via injection, etc.)
- If they were abusing Librium in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs
- Whether they detox on a tapering schedule
Perhaps the most significant factor on the Librium withdrawal timeline is, as previously mentioned, whether the individual is suffering from benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.
If someone has been regularly abusing large amounts of Librium for long periods, they are highly like to experience the more intense symptoms associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. This syndrome will also cause psychological symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety to linger significantly longer than they otherwise would, sometimes even months after detox. Otherwise, the general timeline for Librium withdrawal follows in these stages:
Librium only reaches its peak effectiveness several hours after being ingested, so it has a much longer half-life than most benzodiazepines. This means it can take as long as 48 hours after the last use for withdrawal symptoms to appear. Early symptoms will most likely be limited to anxiety, sweating, and irregular heart rate.
Psychological symptoms, as well as the rest of the physical symptoms, will become more present during this time and begin to increase in severity.
During this time, symptoms will be at their peak intensity as well as their most dangerous. This is when the most serious symptoms, such as seizures, will be most likely to occur.
At this point, the physical symptoms will have either significantly lessened or faded completely. Some psychological symptoms; however, will continue to persist, though they will have diminished and become more manageable.
While withdrawal symptoms will have dissipated for many users by this point, some people, particularly those with benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, can experience protracted withdrawal and persistent feelings of depression and anxiety.
Why Should I Detox?
Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be a painful and sometimes life-threatening process, and Librium is no different. While it is always better to undergo detoxification at a professional medical facility as opposed to on your own, it is especially crucial in order to detox from Librium safely.
In the medical detox phase of recovery, you will be under 24-hour medical supervision by doctors and nurses. They will observe your physical and/or psychological withdrawal symptoms and may or may not administer medications in order to aid your detoxification process.
Quitting Cold Turkey
The biggest mistake people make when attempting to detox from Librium without medical assistance is stopping Librium use cold turkey. This not only makes for a withdrawal that is far more painful than necessary but also is much more likely to trigger symptoms that could easily become fatal without medical intervention, such as Grand mal seizures, delirium, or suicidal behavior.
These symptoms can be greatly mitigated or even avoided entirely through the use of a tapering schedule wherein someone can gradually reduce their usage of Librium in a controlled setting, under the supervision of a medical professional who is experienced at handling detox safely.
The most important thing to note is that quitting cold turkey is dangerous, and should almost never be done. Almost all physically addictive drugs require professional treatment for detox and quitting cold turkey can negatively affect not only your detox stage but your entire treatment program as a whole. Quitting cold turkey results almost always in severe withdrawal symptoms and has many negative physical effects on the body.
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What Is the Next Treatment Step?
It is vital that someone detox from Librium as soon as possible in order to avoid benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, but this is only the first step towards treatment.
The path to sobriety does not end at detox. In fact, failing to follow detox with any aftercare treatment or rehabilitation program essentially guarantees a quick relapse. This is especially true with Librium, as the protracted symptoms of cravings, depression, and anxiety cause many people to relapse.
Getting treatment, which can cover anything from individual therapy, support groups, or residential sober living, depending on the severity of a person’s addiction as well as what works best for them, will greatly increase the odds of avoiding relapse and remaining abstinent for years to come.
If you or someone you love has been suffering from a Librium dependency, Palm Beach Institute is here to provide the help, resources, and treatment needed to end substance abuse and start recovery. Call us today at (855) 960-5456 for more information, or contact us online.