Librium–Use, Misuse and Addiction

Librium, or chlordiazepoxide, was the original drug from which research led to the development of later benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines (commonly called ‘benzos’) are a class of controlled pharmaceuticals in the U.S., available legally only by prescription. They are known as anti-anxiety or anxiolytic medications, and also commonly called tranquilizers or sedatives.

Benzodiazepines are used for their sedative effects in various medical situations and for various needs. They are used for pre-surgery apprehension, for example, and supplementary surgical anesthesia. They are also used in psychiatry for anxiety, insomnia and substance withdrawal syndromes. Additionally, many take them as muscle relaxers or for seizure control. While benzodiazepines are considered by the World Health Organization to be essential medicines in any competent healthcare setting, they also are abusable and addictive. Consequently, they are commonly acquired through the illicit drug market for misuse.

Effects of Librium–Adverse Reactions

There is always the potential for allergic reactions to any substance you have never taken. Those allergic to Librium may have respiratory distress, swelling of the face, tongue or throat or hives. Other possible adverse effects may be:

  • Disorientation
  • Depression
  • Involuntary movements
  • Agitation
  • Irritability, hostility, anger
  • Jaundice
  • Hallucinations

All such reactions require medical attention, and some may precipitate a medical crisis.

A serious effect of Librium use is the development of addictive patterns of use. Such patterns involve physical and psychological dependence, patterns of self-sabotaging behavior, mental health issues, relationship dysfunction, and more. It is to be expected that negative consequences occur when there is an addictive pattern of substance use and that consequences will continue to deepen and accumulate as addiction continues.

A Nervous System Depressant

Since all drugs in this pharmacological class are nervous system depressants, they have many beneficial medical uses and many dangers. Depressants work directly in the brain and nervous system to slow processes and functioning. This is important in the treatment of clinical anxiety or seizure activity that interferes with daily functioning, for instance. In such cases, the brain and nervous system are pathologically overactive. However, the depressant qualities are also those that tragically lead to abuse, addiction, overdose and death for some. Librium has been used to great benefit for many people, but like other benzodiazepines, it is safest when used short-term, typically about 3 months. One of the clearest examples of the depressant effects of benzodiazepines is the respiratory arrest that can occur in an overdose.

More long-term use of drugs in this class always carries a high risk of addiction. The symptoms of a Librium addiction, or what is known medically as a Librium Use Disorder, are:

  1. The drug is often taken in larger amounts than was intended, or over a longer period of time than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire to cut down or control use of the drug, or unsuccessful efforts to do so.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of the drug.
  4. There are cravings, or strong urges to use the drug.
  5. Recurrent use results in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued use occurs despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the drug.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are foregone or reduced because of the drug.
  8. Recurrent drug use occurs in situations that are physically hazardous.
  9. Continued drug use occurs despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
  10. Tolerance develops which causes a need for more of the drug over a period of time to achieve the desired results.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms result when the drug is abruptly stopped, or the usual dose is significantly lowered.

The Addictive Nature of Librium

Physical dependence on the drug occurs when the brain and body become ‘used to’ the presence of Librium, relying on it for functioning. Also, physical tolerance–accommodating higher doses of it–occurs. These are biological facts due to the addictive nature of the drug. In fact, in long-term use, it is not unusual for dosages to rise as use continues, and for one to have withdrawal symptoms if the dose is lowered or dosing stopped altogether.

Psychological addiction is also a high-risk possibility in the misuse of any benzodiazepine. It is similar to physical addiction because one feels a need for the drug, and suffers when not getting it. However, psychological addictions involve primarily mental and emotional issues rather than biological ones. Together, both physical and psychological addiction can present seemingly insurmountable obstacles for someone who is addicted to Librium. However, both physical and psychological addictions to the drugs can be resolved with the right help.

The best chance for achieving a sustainable recovery from the drug involves both physical detoxification as well as psychological help.Withdrawal from Librium is the beginning of the recovery process. The body and brain must detoxify before an addiction to any drug can be overcome. Physical withdrawal can be difficult and dangerous if it is done ‘cold turkey’. That is, the drug withdrawal must be done with medical supervision and gradual tapering of use.

Symptoms of Librium withdrawal can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Fitful sleep and nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Suicidality
  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Feelings of non-reality
  • Tearfulness
  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Aggression
  • Muscle tension and achiness
  • Sweating
  • GI distress
  • Tightness in the chest, chest pain
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Sensory over-sensitivity
  • Tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • Restless legs
  • Flushing/chills
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Seizures

Typically, what is known as titration is done for safe withdrawal. Sudden cessation is never recommended, nor is withdrawal without medical care. Especially if one has used high dosages or there has been prolonged use, abrupt withdrawal can precipitate medical crises and can even be life-threatening. There is also the possibility that an already existing condition can be exacerbated such as high blood pressure, a seizure disorder, or a psychiatric condition. Any type of withdrawal is stressful, but without medical supervision, withdrawal can cause distress. For the best chance of a successful recovery, working with addiction professionals during withdrawal and detox is essential.

Withdrawal and the Start of Recovery

These things can often be seen in medical use, but it is certainly true in abuse or addiction. Over time, someone who uses this drug for intoxication effects will need to use more to feel the desired effects. This is a result of the drug altering how the brain works. Once addiction occurs, not having the drug creates distress psychologically as well. Due to the sedation, relaxation, and euphoria of misuse, psychological addiction can also occur. In psychological addiction, one comes to believe that the drug is essential for coping with life and stressors.

Addiction occurs even when Librium has been used in the appropriate medical treatment and when appropriately used by people who are prescribed the drug for medical reasons. It is simply the nature of the drug to cause physical tolerance, one of the core characteristics of addiction, after a period of use. In medical use, the drug is gradually withdrawn for safe discontinuation. However, physical tolerance does not necessarily constitute a full Librium Use Disorder. As seen above there are other symptoms that constitute that disorder, or what we typically think of as drug abuse or drug addiction.

Medically, there are varying degrees of severity when one has a Substance Use Disorder. Not everyone will have all eleven symptoms listed above, but in the most severe form of a disorder, many do. A Librium use problem is diagnosed when there are at least 2 of the symptoms listed. And, as an addiction progresses, more and more of these symptoms will occur.

If You or a Loved One Need Help for Problematic Librium Use

Many have recovered from Librium Use Disorders, and with the right help, you or your loved one can, too. Recovery is always possible if you are willing to follow recommendations from those trained in treating your particular addiction. At Elite Rehab Placement, we can help you navigate the often overwhelming search for an appropriate treatment program. If you or your loved one is ready to overcome your substance problem, we can help you find an effective program.

We offer a free consultation in which we help clarify your needs, and make recommendations for appropriate programs. We have assembled a large database of information about treatment programs that treat problematic Librium use and can quickly find options that will work for you. We can also help clarify your insurance coverage. If you need and want help for yourself or a loved one, give us a call today. Help is available, and recovery is a reality. No matter how much you have used, or for how long, you or your loved one can recover.

If you or a loved one needs help for problematic Librium use, there are many treatment options available. However, finding the right fit for your clinical needs and your financial resources can involve a long search. And, it is always difficult to sort through the abundance of information out there, especially when you and your family are in crisis.

The above symptoms of withdrawal can be well-managed with the proper care, not everyone experiences all of them. However, if you or a loved one has a Librium addiction, it is important to be well-informed of medical risks. A medically supervised withdrawal and detox can ease distressful symptoms, and transition you to the next important stage of recovery. After physical detoxification, a sustainable recovery requires working with the psychological components of an addiction.