If you or a loved one suffer from Librium abuse, know the signs of addiction and what you can do to regain control.
Librium, with the scientific name chlordiazepoxide, is a prescription sedative that helps people reduce anxiety. Like Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam), Librium belongs to a family of medications called benzodiazepines. Those medications are part of an even larger medication family called sedatives, hypnotics and anxiolytics.
Librium was the first benzodiazepine created, and it has long been used in the acute treatment of seizures, anxiety disorders, and for treating the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Compared to many medications, it is potent and has a rapid onset of action. That said, in comparison with the other benzodiazepines, it’s lower in potency and starts working less quickly.
Librium has a very long duration of action, as its breakdown product stays active within the body for well over one week. These qualities can make Librium highly effective when properly taken. However, the same properties that make the drug useful are also responsible for its potential misuse, abuse or diversion.
You’ve got company if you’ve used Librium recently. Fifteen million Americans have used a benzodiazepine like Librium in the last month. Approximately two million Americans have used them in a non-prescribed way.1 As with other benzodiazepines, Librium can cause symptoms of physical and psychological dependence when used excessively.
Librium abuse is referred to as a sedative, hypnotic and anxiolytic use disorder. Librium addiction occurs when a person cannot control his or her drug usage. As well as spending increase amounts of time, energy and money around the drug. Using the drug or recovering from its effects.
Are you taking Librium or a similar medication in a medically unintended way? If you or a loved one believe that you might have a sedative, hypnotic and anxiolytic use disorder, Transformations Treatment Center can help. Our evidence-based and holistic substance use disorder treatment program will empower you to effectively counter the destructive consequences of addiction and the unhealthy patterns created by it.
Everyone experiences anxiety, and it’s an important emotion that gives you information about your surroundings. It helps your body set a course of appropriate action. The most well-known example of this is the “fight, flight or freeze” response. When a threat is no longer perceived by your brain, it instructs the body to return to its normal resting state and uses a natural chemical called GABA to help the body do so. GABA effectively communicates to nervous system that “you can take your foot off of the accelerator now.” Librium and other benzodiazepines make GABA more readily available to your body and greatly enhance its slowdown effects on the nervous system.
However, when people have anxiety disorders, it is difficult for the body to return to normal, because it is receiving constant messages from the brain that it should be on high alert, or receiving these messages when it’s unnecessary. Medications like Librium significantly reduce the amount of messaging from the nervous system to the rest of your body about how anxious you ought to be. Using these type of medications long-term or excessively, however, leads to tolerance—the body acclimates itself to the presence of the drug, turning off its natural regulation systems to do so. It then takes more of the drug to create the same deceleration effect for nerve cells, and this is the point where your body has become physically dependent on the drug.
Despite being longer-acting and slower to work than most other benzodiazepines, Librium can produce a potent euphoria, or a “high.” Over time, your brain will rearrange and remodel its own hardware to try to create as much of this euphoria as possible. This process makes you vulnerable to addictive behavior, since your brain now views your addiction as normal. The brain is exceptionally good at trying to maintain what it believes is normal, a quality that helps make addiction much more challenging to treat without help.
Librium overdoses are common due to the drug’s long half-life (a measure of how long it takes for the body to clear a drug). You’re often taking the next dose of it while several previous doses are still active within the body. Even if the euphoria or calming sensations aren’t felt, those doses of medication continue to slow communication between nerve cells, including those involved in normal breathing. This is one of Librium’s greatest dangers, as it can lead to slowed breathing and even death. Taking it with opioids like Vicodin or OxyContin sharply increases the risk of a fatal overdose.
Like with most other sedatives, abruptly stopping or reducing Librium after becoming physically dependent leads to withdrawal. Since the GABA system that Librium works on also helps to control several automatic body functions like heart rate and blood pressure, Librium and other sedative withdrawal is dangerous and can lead to hallucinations, seizures and death.
Certain clues can help you or your loved ones spot problem Librium usage. Non-prescribed usage is always problematic. Similarly, using more of the drug or for longer than prescribed can indicate misuse. Inability to stop using it, using it despite negative consequences, and social or legal problems resulting from use can also be strong indicators. Physical and psychological symptoms may include:
Sedative withdrawal can be fatal without intervention, so treatment of addiction to Librium and other benzodiazepines usually begins with medical detoxification. If withdrawal symptoms are severe, detoxification takes place in a rehabilitation facility or a hospital. Medical staff monitors vital signs for at least 72 hours and sometimes prescribe a medication chemically similar to Librium in decreasing amounts, until your body can handle the effects of withdrawal on its own. Since Librium is so long-acting, physicians may allow you to directly taper off of it in a controlled setting.
Mental health professionals can help you identify and address depression, hidden anxiety disorders or other conditions. This is not only important for treating those conditions, but to help make addiction treatment more effective.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the psychotherapy of choice when addressing problems with benzodiazepines. CBT can help you change your behavior by showing you how re-evaluate your thoughts and emotions when you have them. It has been used for many years to treat anxiety disorders is important for long-term recovery efforts. Along with participating in a 12-step based program, CBT shows the best evidence for treating addictive behaviors.
At Transformations Treatment Center, we can help you recover from problem usage of Librium or similar medications. Our care and treatment models are based on the best available scientific evidence. We offer programs specifically tailored to your unique needs. We are committed to helping you lead a healthy and substance-free lifestyle. Contact us today for more information on our certified staff of professionals and first-rate facilities.