Symptoms & Signs of Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) Addiction

This Page was last reviewed and changed on June 23rd 2021

Content Overview

Taking prescription medication such as Librium to treat anxiety and insomnia can be very effective in treating your condition. But because there is a high potential for abuse, it is important to be aware of the signs. Knowing how to recognise when use of Librium has progressed to abuse could prompt you to take action to prevent an addiction from developing. It could also help avert a possible overdose.

Librium is a drug with a high potential for abuse and because of this those who take it risk developing an addiction. As addiction to Librium can cause harm to your life and the lives of those around you, it is important that you can spot the signs of abuse and that you act on this as soon as possible.

You might think that it is necessary to be a Librium abuser to develop an addiction, but this is not the case. In fact, physical dependence can occur in those using the drug exactly as prescribed but if they use it for longer than four weeks.

Tolerance to the effects of Librium can occur very quickly, and when this happens you may feel as though the medication is not working as effectively as it once did. It is this increased tolerance that often causes some individuals to increase the amount of the drug being taken, which then increases the risk of addiction.

How Does Librium Work?

Librium is designed to enhance the brain’s production of its GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) neurotransmitter. This is the brain’s natural inhibitory chemical responsible for calming down other excitatory chemicals such as glutamate. When the brain is not producing enough GABA, it can lead to an imbalance that results in feelings of nervousness, irritability, agitation, and anxiety.

Librium’s role is to encourage the brain to produce enough GABA to maintain a balance and thus relieve these symptoms.

Librium Abuse Warnings

Most people who abuse drugs from the benzodiazepine group, such as Librium, do not do so intentionally, although some do take it for recreational purposes. Abuse of Librium often occurs without the user realising. There is a fine line between regular use and abuse though and most fail to see or realise when they have crossed it.

However, it is important to be aware of what Librium abuse is. For example, you may not be cognisant of the fact that taking a prescription drug not prescribed specifically for you is classed as abuse. Moreover, did you know that taking more of the medication than advised by a doctor is also classed as abuse?

Before abuse begins though, a tolerance to the effects of the medication tends to occur. This happens when your brain and body get used to the drug and adapt so that it becomes less effective than it once was.

Taking more of the medication than stated on your prescription is one of the first signs of abuse.

Librium Abuse Causes

As mentioned above, most individuals begin abusing Librium to enhance its effects. When the drug becomes less effective, which it inevitably will, your response might be to increase the amount of the drug being taken. This may work for a while, and you may indeed get the relief you desire.

Nevertheless, the nature of Librium is that the brain and body will again adapt to it and you will then need more to achieve that relief. At this point, you might be tempted to combine the medication with another substance, such as alcohol or drugs.

Of course, there are other causes of Librium abuse. Some people take it because of its sedative effects. Some take it for recreational use to achieve a high, while others like the fact that it can make them forget about life and all its problems for a while.

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Librium Warning Signs and Dangers

Librium can be a dangerous drug when abused, so it is important to able to spot the warning signs. Taking more than advised or using it with other depressant substances such as alcohol or opiates, can lead to overdose, which can have fatal consequences.

As with other benzodiazepines, Librium should be used with caution in elderly patients, who seem to feel the effects more intensely and for longer. This can often lead to accidents and falls that result in serious injury.

Perhaps one of the biggest dangers associated with Librium is its potential for abuse. Taking the drug for longer than four weeks can result in a crippling addiction that could potentially destroy your life. If you allow your use of Librium to spiral out of control, you may find that you then struggle to break free from the cycle of abuse and withdrawal that inevitably follow, and the only way to recover is with a programme of detox that is followed by rehabilitation.

The Signs of Librium Dependence and Addiction

After prolonged Librium use, physical dependence can occur. What this means is that when you try to quit the medication, you may experience withdrawal symptoms that could make you feel quite unwell. Nonetheless, having a physical dependence does not necessarily mean having an addiction.

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration

Addiction is classified as a pattern of behaviour that has a negative impact on daily life. If your use of Librium is affecting your ability to function and to live a normal life, then you could have an addiction.

If you know that using Librium is going to have negative consequences but you use it anyway, you almost certainly have an addiction.

Signs of Chronic Long-Term Abuse of Librium

Prolonged abuse of Librium almost always leads to physical dependence and addiction, which will then have negative consequences for many aspects of your life. If you continuously abuse this medication, you are likely to suffer both mental and physical health problems going forward.

  • Aggressiveness
  • Return of the initial causes for your taking this medication such as insomnia
  • Doctor shopping

Using benzodiazepines can make you more likely to develop mental health illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, and you will almost certainly suffer a decline in cognitive functioning and memory.

Signs of Short-Term Abuse of Librium

Librium is intended to treat conditions such as insomnia and anxiety and is a sedative drug that slows down certain brain functions, causing a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing. However, there are other symptoms associated with its use, and more specifically its abuse. These can include:

  • vertigo
  • slurred speech
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • headaches
  • tremors
  • blurred vision
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • shallow breathing
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • memory problems
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • mood swings
  • slow reflexes
  • depression

It is possible to develop serious mental health issues as a consequence of abusing Librium. This is why it’s vital that you, or your loved one who is abusing, take measures before it becomes a full-blown addiction. Consult with your therapist as soon as you notice any change in the symptoms you initially started treating with Librium or if you no longer feel the same effects.

Librium Overdose

Librium is considered relatively safe when taken as directed for a period of between two and four weeks. Taking it for longer than this will probably cause an increased tolerance, meaning that more of the drug will be required to achieve the level of satisfaction required.

Nevertheless, taking more Librium than advised by your doctor can, as already mentioned, result in an overdose, which could be life-threatening if not treated immediately. The risk of overdose increases when Librium is combined with other central nervous system depressants such as opioids or alcohol.

Librium Overdose Symptoms

The symptoms of a Librium overdose tend to occur very quickly and can include:

Librium Overdose Treatment

If you believe you have taken too much Librium, or if you have mixed it with alcohol or other drugs, and notice any of the above symptoms, it is vital that you seek medical help immediately. The sooner you seek medical treatment, the better your chances are of making a full recovery.

If you are having difficulty breathing, you may be given oxygen, or you may be intubated with artificial ventilation. Doctors might also use an IV drip to help replace lost fluids. If you are having a seizure, anticonvulsant medication may be necessary.

How to Reverse Librium Overdose

Librium overdose may also be reversed using a selective benzodiazepine receptor antagonist such as flumazenil. Flumazenil is an antidote to benzodiazepine and works to reverse the sedative effects of drugs such as Librium. It binds to the GABA receptors to inhibit the calming effects of the medication in question.

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Librium Withdrawal

Whether you have been abusing Librium for a while or are addicted to it after prolonged abuse, you will have to go through withdrawal if you want to get your life back on track. Withdrawal symptoms are caused by the sudden cessation of the medication and can range from mild to severe in intensity. As you have probably gathered by now, severe symptoms can be life-threatening if not treated properly.

It is therefore recommended that you do not try to quit Librium by yourself. A gradual reduction is the most effective way to withdraw from Librium and should only be attempted on the advice of a medical professional.

Symptoms of Librium Withdrawal

It is not possible to tell what type of symptoms you might experience when you quit Librium. Below are examples of the most common symptoms associated with Librium withdrawal:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Memory problems
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Tremors
  • Psychosis
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Librium Withdrawal and Detox

While it is possible to withdraw from Librium gradually at home if you do not yet have an addiction, it is highly recommended that the process take place in a detox facility if you are addicted. This is due to the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, which will be higher in those addicted to the drug.

In a detox facility, you are likely to be weaned off Librium over the course of a couple of weeks, which is much shorter than if you were to use a gradual reduction schedule at home. As such, you have a higher risk of developing some of the above symptoms. Nonetheless, when in a detox facility, you will be monitored at all times and steps will be taken to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the process.

Librium Treatment and Rehab

Recovery from a Librium addiction requires not only a detox but also a programme of rehabilitation. While detox is necessary to heal the physical addiction, it does not help to address the underlying issues. In addition, to fully recover from addiction, it is necessary for both the physical and the psychological elements to be addressed.

Rehab programmes for Librium addiction are either inpatient or outpatient based. They help you learn how to rebuild your life and learn the skills that will enable you to maintain permanent sobriety.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much Librium causes addiction?

The amount of Librium you take will be determined by your doctor. The dosage will differ depending on the condition being treated. However, it is not so much the actual dosage of Librium that causes addiction but how you use it.
If you increase your recommended dose of Librium without consulting a doctor because you have developed a tolerance to it, you are likely to find that with time that this dosage will also become less effective. Increasing the dosage again could not only raise your risk of an overdose but also mean you get caught in a cycle of abuse and withdrawal. This is likely to lead to addiction.

How do I recognise Librium abuse?

If you begin taking more Librium than the amount stated on your prescription, you are guilty of abuse. However, abuse also occurs when you take Librium that was prescribed for another person or when you use it with another mood-altering substance. It is important to understand what abuse is so that you can recognise it if it occurs.

When to seek medical care?

If you have tried to quit or cut down on your use of Librium but found you were unable to because of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, it is likely that you have developed a physical dependence. If you are unable to function without Librium, an addiction has probably developed. If this is the case, it is wise to seek medical care as soon as possible so that you can begin a programme of treatment to help you get better.
You should also seek medical care at once if you have taken too much Librium and are experiencing any of the symptoms of an overdose (see above).

How do I get help for Librium addiction?

Librium addiction is treated by various organisations including the NHS, local support groups, charities, and private clinics. Information on the various programmes available in your area can be accessed via online information databases.
If you want to access an NHS programme, talk to your doctor or self-refer to a local drug treatment service. For more information about private clinics and the type of programmes they provide, please contact us here at UKAT.

When do Librium withdrawal symptoms start?

Librium is a slow-acting benzodiazepine drug which means it lingers in the system for between ten and thirty hours. This means that the first symptoms of withdrawal may be delayed and might not appear until around the third or fourth day after quitting Librium.

How long does Librium withdrawal last?

It is not possible to say how long Librium withdrawal lasts exactly as there are many factors that can influence this. If you were a heavy user of Librium prior to withdrawal, or if you were also using other substances, your withdrawal might last longer.
You may also suffer from protracted withdrawal, which can cause symptoms to linger for months, or to come and go without warning for up to a year after you have stopped using Librium.

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