Librium is one of the most common drugs for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. Librium is in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines (or benzos), which used to be the most frequently prescribed drugs in the world. It’s a sedative-hypnotic drug, and it can help people relax and rest. However, it also has a significant risk of causing dependence and addiction when it’s used for too long.
What is Librium?
Librium is the brand name for chlordiazepoxide, a prescription benzo. These drugs are a popular drug class in the treatment of sleep and anxiety disorders. Created in 1959, Librium was the first benzo to be synthesized and sold in the United States.
Before benzos, barbiturates were the most popular prescription sleep aid, but they fell out of favor with doctors and consumers when their adverse effects started becoming more apparent. Misuse can lead to chemical dependence, addiction, and overdose.
While benzos are less toxic than barbiturates, they can cause some of the same side effects. For instance, using Librium for too long can lead to chemical dependence and addiction. Doctors usually only prescribe the drug for short-term therapeutic use. Using the drug for over a month can cause a substance use disorder.
Extremely high doses can also lead to fatal overdoses, which are more likely when the drug is taken with barbiturates, opioids, or alcohol. When the drugs combine and depress your nervous system to a dangerous degree, they can result in respiratory suppression, oxygen deprivation, and death.
By increasing the levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), your brain can regulate feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear by inhibiting the nerve impulses that carry these feelings to the brain. Librium mimics this natural GABA flow, so it binds with receptors in the brain, activates them over and over, and creates an excess flood of GABA.
Librium can also cause symptoms that are similar to drunkenness. For instance, high doses can cause euphoria, relaxation, confusion, drowsiness, loss of motor control, lack of coordination, nausea, and a loss of inhibitions. Therefore, using Librium can result in dangerous driving and injuries.
What are the Signs of Librium Addiction?
Librium addiction can quickly occur, but it’s usually followed by some common symptoms. If you’ve been prescribed a benzo, it’s important to be aware of the potential signs of addiction and speak to your doctor if you notice them. The faster you address a substance use disorder, the likelier you’ll be to avoid some of the more severe consequences.
One of the first signs that your prescription drug use is becoming a substance use disorder is a growing tolerance. When you continually introduce Librium to your brain and nervous system, you’ll start adapting to the chemical. As your brain gets used to the drug, your normal dose will start becoming less effective. If you keep increasing your dose to make up for your tolerance, you risk becoming chemically dependent on Librium.
Chemical dependence occurs when your brain adapts to the presence of the foreign chemical and is integrated into normal brain functioning. Instead of producing some of its own chemicals that suppress excitability, your brain will rely on a regular dose of Librium. If you stop using the drug, you’ll start experiencing withdrawal symptoms that can be potentially dangerous.
Addiction is often identified by a pattern of compulsive drug use, despite harmful consequences. For instance, if you get a DUI after using benzos and keep using it, you may be addicted.
A benzo addiction can also cause some common behavioral signs, including:
- Memory problems
- Strange sleep patterns
- Hiding drugs
- Lying about drug use
- Experience impaired cognitive ability
- Having problems at work or school
What’s Involved in Librium Addiction Treatment?
Treatment for benzo addiction typically starts with medical detoxification, which is the highest level of care. Because Librium can cause potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to go through it with medical supervision. Detox involves round-the-clock medically managed care for up to 10 days. In some cases, you may be treated with medication to help slowly and safely wean you off the drug.
After you complete medical detox, you’ll be placed in the next level of care that’s appropriate for your needs. If you need continued care for medical or psychological needs that require a high level of supervision, you may be placed in an inpatient program that offers 24/7 clinical services.
Perhaps you can stay sober on your own, but you require intensive access to services. If so, you may proceed to intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment. IOP involves over nine hours of clinical services each week, and it can involve up to 12 hours of services each day. While you’ll start by addressing your addiction through psychotherapies, you’ll also have access to a wide variety of other treatments.
If you require a less intensive program, you may benefit from an outpatient program. In this type of treatment, you’ll commute to a maximum of nine hours of clinical services per week. This treatment can be helpful for learning to deal with the triggers and high-risk situations in your real life.
Librium Abuse Statistics
- In 2015, almost 9,000 people died from benzo overdoses.
- In 2011, 30 percent of fatal opioid overdoses also involved benzodiazepines.
- Up to 15 percent of American households have a prescription for Librium.