Last Updated: July 24, 2020

Librium is a prescription benzodiazepine used for a variety of things. It is sometimes used before surgical procedures to reduce anxiety in patients or for insomnia. It is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. And some use Librium to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms and to treat anxiety. It slows down the activity pathways in the brain, making it a calming type of drug. Yet, there is a potential for Librium abuse and addiction.

What is Librium?

As mentioned, Librium is a benzodiazepine. It is what is known as a psychotropic drug and is habit-forming. While the uses are legitimate, dependence is possible. This is because like with many drugs, the user may use more of the drug to get the same effects as they got in the past. Sometimes they are no longer getting the effects they desire and this can cause them to amp up their dosage. It is also important to note that those with underlying mental conditions have a propensity for a greater risk of dependence to Librium.

On the plus side, when taken correctly Librium is powerful and has a rapid onset. This is compared to other medications but when compared to other benzodiazepines, it is less potent and works slower.

Librium works by directly affecting the brain and central nervous system, producing a sense of calm in the user. It works by enhancing the effects of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the body. Librium activates the brain’s GABA receptors to stimulate them into overproducing GABA until the brain and nervous system are flooded with the neurotransmitter to the point of producing extremely strong feelings of sedation and relaxation as well as inducing sleep.

If you’re wondering what GABA is, Everyday Health explains it as Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages through the brain and the nervous system, and is involved in regulating communication between brain cells.

The strengths prescribed vary from 5 mg, 10 mg, and 25 mg and is found in a capsule form. It typically stays in the body from 5 to 30 hours.

What Are the Symptoms of Librium Abuse?

There are physical symptoms, serious side effects, and psychological effects that come from abusing Librium. Some of the symptoms mimic symptoms of other drugs but others are unique to Librium.

Physical effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in sex drive or ability to have sex
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination or difficulty urinating
  • Diarrhea
  • Excitement or restlessness
  • Upset stomach
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation

Serious side effects include:

  • Shuffling walk
  • Signs of an allergic reaction – these include swollen tongue, lips, or mouth, hives, rash, and/or breathing difficulties
  • Tremors
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Inability to remain seated or sit still
  • Jaundice, which is yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Fever
  • Severe skin rash
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

These are side effects that require contact with your doctor immediately.

Psychological side effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Emotional blunting
  • Difficulty concentrating

And in some cases, some may experience what is known as paradoxical disinhibition. This is a reaction characterized by symptoms that differ from its usual sedating or anxiolytic effects profile. These symptoms may include the following:

  • Impulsive behavior
  • Aggression
  • Increased excitement
  • Hostility
  • Irritability

Signs of Librium Abuse and Addiction

The problem with this drug is that many people do not even realize that they are forming a dependence on it. And many simply need the relief it provides, not realizing that take more and more of it is accelerating that dependence and making themselves more tolerant to its effects and the dosage recommended to them.

Of course, some take it to get high or to boost other drugs such as alcohol or opioids. In fact, Librium suppresses the nervous system drastically and this type of intoxication is similar to one of alcohol use. Using multiple drugs at the same time is called polydrug use. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of benzodiazepine abuse is part of a greater polydrug abuse cycle. Librium is commonly combined with substances such as alcohol, opioids, and cocaine.

Those who are abusing Librium may be taking part in some of the signs mentioned here:

  • Obtaining Librium illegally
  • Lying about how much they are using
  • Mixing it with other drugs
  • Neglecting normal responsibilities or relationships
  • Using it as a coping mechanism
  • Financial issues due to buying it illegally
  • Taking more than the prescription recommends
  • Making Librium use the focus of their day
  • Doctor shopping to get more Librium prescriptions

There are of course other signs such as mood swings. And a person who is dependent may exhibit performance issues at home, school, or work. For example, they may be often late to work or neglect their children. Some may exhibit risky behaviors such as driving impaired or using heavy machinery while under the influence. And there are those who will steal or forge prescriptions so that they can get more of the drug.

Librium Addiction Stats – The Numbers Keep Rising

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health:

Chlordiazepoxide was the first benzodiazepine to be synthesized. It went on the market and was made available as a prescription in 1960. There are now several benzodiazepines, including diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and alprazolam (Xanax).

Between 1996 and 2013, the number of prescriptions for benzodiazepines increased by about 30 percent.

Nearly one-third of overdoses on opioid drugs also involve benzodiazepines.

Since 2002, fatal overdoses that involved benzodiazepines like Librium have been increasing.

Treatment for Librium Addiction

If you or a loved one is addicted to Librium, the good news is that treatment helps to get life back on track. We’re here for you and help you or your loved one through proven methods of recovery. And we’re just a phone call away.

It is crucial that you know sedative withdrawal can sometimes be fatal without treatment intervention. This is because of withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Grand mal seizures
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations

So the first thing, in this case, is medical detox. When the withdrawal symptoms are that severe, a rehab facility or hospital can start the detox procedures. The medical staff monitors vital signs for at least 72 hours or so. At times, they may prescribe a medication chemically similar to Librium in decreasing amounts. This is done until the body can handle the effects of withdrawal without outside help. Since Librium is so long-acting, the patient may be allowed to directly taper off of it in a controlled setting.

The other way that treatment takes place is that medical professionals help the patient address and identify things like hidden anxiety disorders, depression, or other conditions conducive to addiction. There is a therapy called CBT, which is cognitive behavioral therapy. It can also be used in conjunction for those who have what is known as a co-occuring disorder.

This is when a person has an addiction to a substance or alcohol, as well as a mental health disorder and in this type of treatment, both are addressed at the same time. This is not always used since not everyone who benefits from cognitive behavioral therapy has a mental health issue. But for those with a Librium addiction, this is often successful form of treatment.

CBT works to minimize the chances of relapse and all available treatments work to help the patient do the following:

  1. Give insight on why they are motivated to use Librium beyond their prescription
  2. Alter behaviors that create an atmosphere where drug use is more apt to happen
  3. To stick with the patient’s personalized treatment plan for the best chance of success

Doctors, therapists, and staff work with you or your loved one to address the underlying issues and tailor a treatment plan that is customized for the patient’s addiction. This allows them to help manage it on a long-term basis instead of a quick fix that won’t last.

Other types of therapy include:

  • Group therapy
  • Addiction education
  • Stress management
  • Holistic approaches
  • MAT or Medication-assisted treatment
  • Dual diagnosis treatment

The client will work along with the doctors, therapists, and staff to find out what works best and targets the patient’s specific needs. Simply put, we help you or your loved one heal and live a drug-free lifestyle.

  1. American Journal of Public Health. Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996 – 2013. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303061
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Response and Updates for Clients, Families, and Referents Read More