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What is a Librium Detox?

Librium is the prescription name for Chlordiazepoxide, which is a benzodiazepine that is used in the treatment for alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines provide relief from the most severe symptoms. Librium based alcohol detox is a standard treatment in most rehabilitation facilities.

Benzodiazepines are depressants that are used to counter specific withdrawal effects like anxiety, seizures, tremors, and insomnia. [1]

As one of the longer-lasting Benzodiazepines, Librium stays in the system longer, which means that it takes slightly longer to take effect and can provide relief for longer. It gives a sense of calm by increasing neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This drug is often used to self-medicate.

It is one of the top five prescribed medications and is often abused. [3] There is a common misconception among users that it can cure alcohol addiction, but it is not a cure and instead helps alleviate a few main alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It is meant to ease the process.

Factors to Consider Before Taking Librium

Before being prescribed Librium, your doctor will need to ensure that you do not have any risk factors that might react badly to taking the drug.

It is highly addictive and can have some severe withdrawal symptoms all on its own, but when combined with the medical issue that caused it to be prescribed in the first place, there can be serious consequences. [3]

Below are a few of the factors that a doctor focuses on before deciding whether Librium will be useful for their patient:

  • Librium can affect the liver, so anyone with liver disease should not be prescribed this medication
  • Age, weight, height are considered
  • A comprehensive blood screen will need to be performed
  • Renal function will be checked
  • A full medical history, including any current prescriptions or self-medication, will need to be disclosed
  • The severity of withdrawal symptoms will be considered because it is not worth prescribing a potentially addictive substance to treat mild symptoms
  • A full family medical history, including drug or alcohol abuse, will be taken

How to Properly Use Librium

The drug’s primary use in Librium-based alcohol detox is to provide relief from intense withdrawal symptoms. It should never be used for self-medication due to the quick-to-form and long-lasting addiction. When prescribed, it can still become addictive if you do not follow your doctor’s recommendations. [4]

Chlordiazepoxide can be used to treat stress, preoperative anxiety, and symptoms from sicknesses or addiction, and it comes in capsule form. For the most part, medical professionals will prescribe the lowest dose for the shortest period possible. [5]

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Statistics of Prescription Abuse for Librium

It can take as few as three days to become highly addicted to Librium, even in the doses prescribed to treat alcohol withdrawal.

When you combine that short addiction timeline with the knowledge that it is one of the most prescribed medications on the planet, it is no surprise that it is often abused. Librium based alcohol detox is usually how it comes into contact with the person who gets addicted.

The high that users get mimics that of alcohol and uses the same physical mechanisms (e.g., manipulating neurotransmitters like GABA). [4]

In recent years, approximately 31% of all drug overdose deaths involved benzodiazepines like Librium. Overdose deaths involving prescribed benzodiazepines are ten times more likely than prescribed opioids. [6]

Risk Factors and Main Causes of Librium Addiction

As previously mentioned, Librium based alcohol detox can often be the starting point of a substance abuse problem with this drug. It should never be used as the sole treatment for alcohol addiction and should instead be used with traditional therapy and rehabilitation programmes.

Librium is a helpful drug for managing anxiety and stress during the recovery process. It should not be used more than absolutely necessary due to the risk of harmful side effects. [5]

A few risk factors for Librium addiction and withdrawal include:

  • A personal history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Family history of drug or alcohol addiction
  • Taking more than what was prescribed or for more extended periods
  • Dual diagnosis with a mental health disorder
  • Experiencing a stressful or traumatic event
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Signs of Librium Withdrawal

There are quite a few signs that someone is suffering from Librium withdrawal. They can overlap with other co-occurring disorders, which might make it harder to identify the source. Due to the long-acting nature of this benzodiazepine, they may take several days to begin manifesting. [2]

Below are some of the most commonly seen signs of Librium withdrawal, which can start by simply lowering the dosage rather than abstaining entirely:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Psychosis and delirium tremens
  • Nausea, vomiting, and muscle cramps
  • Depression and irritability
  • Excessive sweating and tremors, convulsions, or seizures
  • Increased heartbeat and high blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory issues and confusion
  • Changes to eating habits or lack of appetite

Possible Side Effects of Prescription Librium

Some of Librium’s typical side effects can overlap with the list above (e.g., vomiting, nausea, depression, and tiredness). In contrast, others mean there is something very wrong either with the dosage, or it may be interacting with other drugs that you are taking.

If any of the following side effects appear, you should visit a medical professional immediately because they are signs that something is wrong:

  • Unusual hyperactivity
  • Slurred speech
  • Mental confusion
  • Sudden changes to libido
  • Hallucinations
  • Jaundice (e.g., yellowing around skin and eyes)
  • Lack of coordination when walking
  • Muscle twitching
  • Issues with urination

Librium Addiction and Detoxification

Although Librium based alcohol detox is one of the main ways people get access to this drug, they are also available on the street. When it is created strictly for illegal recreational purposes, Librium is usually in much higher doses, and the addiction and withdrawal are equally more severe.

In lab rat studies, it was shown that it could take as little at twenty-eight hours to develop an acute habit. [4]

This particular benzodiazepine is often used in conjunction with other illegal drugs when used for self-medication or recreational means to get high, which increases the likelihood of an accidental overdose.

Signs of a Librium Overdose

Overdosing on Librium alone or when combining it with other drugs can lead to death. The following are indications that someone might be experiencing an overdose.

If any of these are witnessed, the individual should seek medical assistance immediately:

  • Blackout not caused by injury
  • Extreme incoordination and lethargy
  • Mental confusion and sluggish reflexes
  • Unusually low blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Respiratory distress (e.g., very shallow breathing)

Timeline of Withdrawal

It may take several days for withdrawal symptoms to take effect fully. How long it lasts will be dependent on several factors, including the dosage that was being taken, frequency, and any underlying or comorbid medical conditions. Librium takes significantly longer than some other benzodiazepines. [4]

Even if the drug is not abused at all, there may be a withdrawal of various degrees from merely taking it for a short period. Insomnia is a common occurrence when the prescribed dosage is lessened in preparation for no longer taking the drug. Withdrawal and detox can take weeks. [7]

The following is an example breakdown of a typical timeline:

  • The first withdrawal symptoms will begin anywhere between twenty-four hours to several days after the last dose of Librium
  • There is then a cyclic effect over the next two or three weeks during which mood swings, physical exhaustion, depression, and anxiety all come and go repeatedly
  • By the sixth week, most symptoms will be gone entirely. However, there are protracted symptoms that can hang on for months or longer. This usually takes the form of depression or anxiety and can be treated with therapy and support groups

Detoxification Symptom Management

Instead of cutting off Librium immediately when withdrawal symptoms begin, they are usually managed by tapering off the drug until it is entirely out of the system. Doing this slowly over a period of time will decrease the risk of an extreme physical reaction to detox. The whole detox can last for up to three to six weeks before the symptoms fully abate.

During that time, having a healthy support system is essential to help deal with the psychological hurdles.

Therapy

Traditional cognitive behavioural therapy will be helpful during detox and should also be continued during aftercare to ensure there are no triggers that lead to a relapse. There are multiple therapy options, which means there is something that will fit you no matter what you find most comfortable (e.g., group therapy, one-on-one, art or animal therapy, etc.).

Common Complications

This is a very addictive substance, stays circulating in the body’s system for longer than most medications, and has more intense withdrawal. Some of the common complications involve long-term depression that can last for months or years, physical and mental discomfort. Also, if left untreated, it can cause coma or death.

Obviously, if there are co-occurring disorders the complications can start to overlap. Your doctor may recommend that you take temporary medications to help. Being able to use self-help groups, family support, and therapy as a way to mentally cope will help to limit some of the psychological complications.

Librium based alcohol detox is often the starting point which means that once the withdrawal timeline for Librium is over there will still be alcohol recovery.

Minimizing the Risk

The number one way to mitigate the risk is to get medical treatment. Attempting to go through detoxification alone at home is dangerous. It has the potential for leading to a relapse of either alcohol, other drugs, or Librium abuse before the detox can take effect.

There is also the counterintuitive length of time between when an individual stops taking Librium and when the first symptoms appear. They may think that they could abstain without any problems and then get taken by surprise when seizures, tremors, vomiting, and other signs of withdrawal start several days later.

Being under the care of a trained professional is the best way to make sure you remain healthy and stable throughout the entire detox period. They will be able to assist with relieving discomfort.

Treatments for Librium Addiction

The first step towards the treatment of Librium addiction is detoxing from the substance. Detoxing from Librium is like any other drug, except the symptoms tend to be severe and prolonged. It takes longer for the body to work through any of Librium that is left in your system. [7]

There are in-patient and out-patient options, but if you are experiencing intense withdrawal reactions, then it may be necessary to go to a hospital for care to ensure that none of them worsens or leads to lethal side effects. The treatment that works for each person may be different and will depend on that individual’s risk factors for relapse and medical complications.

1. Medical Treatment

A doctor or medical team will be able to help determine the best method for treating Librium addiction. Usually, this takes the form of tapering gradually off the drug. If possible, it is useful to be in a rehab facility during the prolonged detoxification process due to its severity. Having direct access to healthcare resources will lower the overall risks associated with withdrawal and detox.

Inside a medical centre, you will have access to 24/7 medical assistance to help if symptoms grow worse unexpectedly. They can also help make the process as efficient and smooth as possible, which is hard to accomplish using out-patient treatment or while attempting to recover on your own. Medication for depression may be used if your doctor feels it is needed.

2. Psychological Treatment

Mindfulness exercises and relaxation techniques (e.g., breathing exercises, meditative massage, etc.) can help ease the symptoms during treatment. Speaking with a therapist is also usually encouraged to find ways to cope with whatever triggered the prescription abuse or self-medication in the first place to make it less likely that you will relapse later during recovery.

Most people who are getting treatment for Librium withdrawal also have a dual diagnosis with drug or alcohol addiction and mental health disorders, so there may be several psychological treatment options that could provide a chance for the best results (e.g., support group, one-on-one therapy, etc.).

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References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606320/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4413079/

[3] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/FPJT-V9YE-VWM1-UXPA

[4] https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Don_Des_Jarlais/publication/20136855_A_stage_model_of_HTLV-III_LAV_infection_in_intravenous_drug_users/links/0deec52a76c236dc0e000000/A-stage-model-of-HTLV-III-LAV-infection-in-intravenous-drug-users.pdf#page=213

[5] https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/012249s049lbl.pdf

[6] https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids

[7] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00952998209002608?src=recsys

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