Withdrawal & Detox from Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) Addiction
Breaking the cycle of Librium abuse usually means the onset of a range of withdrawal symptoms. As some of the symptoms associated with Librium withdrawal can be serious – and even life-threatening sometimes – it is important that the process of detoxification is managed appropriately. A supervised detox programme in a dedicated facility is widely regarded as the safest and more comfortable way to break free from benzodiazepine drugs such as Librium.
The first step on the road to recovery from any substance addiction is a detox; it is no different with Librium addiction. Before you can overcome your addiction, you will have to quit Librium. However, this can be a complicated process due to the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction to Librium can occur with regular use of this medication. The potential for abuse is the reason it is recommended it be only used for short periods. Even so, statistics show that one in three prescriptions for benzodiazepines such as Librium continue for longer than a year.
Librium Withdrawal Symptoms
Prolonged use of Librium, even at therapeutic doses, will significantly increase the risk for addiction, but so too will abuse of this medication. Increasing your dose of Librium without the advice of a doctor could see you quickly develop a physical dependence to it. When this happens, you will need a detox if you want to quit.
Nonetheless, Librium detox must be carefully managed to ensure your safety. Without medical supervision, you could experience severe withdrawal symptoms similar to those of other benzodiazepine drugs, some of which can end up being life-threatening. In the following paragraphs we discuss more the detox and withdrawal processes for Librium addiction.
If you have a physical dependence on Librium, you are likely to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit (or even cut back). These symptoms might include:
Causes of Librium Withdrawal
Librium is typically prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety and insomnia; these tend to be caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. It is the job of GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) neurotransmitter to calm down excitatory chemicals. When not enough of it is produced though, it can lead to restlessness, nervousness, and anxiety, all of which contribute to insomnia.
Librium works by enhancing the production of the brain’s natural calming chemical GABA. It does this by stimulating the GABA receptors. However, with prolonged use, the brain learns to depend on medications such as Librium to take over the job of encouraging GABA production. It adapts itself around Librium so much so that when you stop taking the medication, the brain is initially unable to take over.
This can lead to a sudden increase in excitatory chemicals and not enough GABA to maintain the balance. It is this that is thought to be the reason various withdrawal symptoms occur.
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How Long Do Librium Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Librium is a longer-acting benzodiazepine drug and as such takes longer to be eliminated by the body. Due to this, the onset of withdrawal symptoms can be delayed for several days. It can also take longer for withdrawal symptoms to subside when they do manifest.
How long the process lasts tends to depend on several factors including how severe the addiction is, whether there are any underlying medical health problems, and if another substance was also being abused at the same time. It will also depend on how Librium is withdrawn. If a gradual reduction is used, symptoms will last longer than if the drug is stopped abruptly.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
Any withdrawal from Librium can result in severe withdrawal symptoms, so it is important it is effectively managed. To reduce the severity of withdrawal, it is recommended that your dose of Librium be tapered over a few weeks or even months. This will lessen the impact of withdrawal and possibly prevent the worst symptoms from occurring.
It may not be possible to avoid all withdrawal symptoms though, so for that reason it is best, and advisable, to complete the process in a detox facility. Within such a facility any symptoms you do experience will be managed by professional staff with experience of the process.
As well as medication and nutritional supplements, withdrawal symptoms can be managed with relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and meditation.
Contributing Factors to Librium Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms occur in those who have developed a physical dependence on Librium. You might believe that you have to be abusing your medication to become dependent on it. Nevertheless, the truth is that it is possible to become physically dependent while staying within the recommended dose but if you continue taking the medication for longer than four weeks.
Mixing Librium with other drugs
Mixing Librium with other drugs or alcohol can increase the severity of withdrawal and cause the process to last much longer.
Abusing (taking more often or in larger doses)
Of course, abuse of Librium also raises the risk of physical dependence and the presence of withdrawal symptoms.
Taking it for longer than 4 weeks
If you want to lessen the chance of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Librium, it is recommended that you do not take it for longer than four weeks and that you do not take any more than the amount recommended by your doctor.
Psychological Withdrawal from Librium
As mentioned already, the brain learns to rely on Librium very quickly, so after a while it is unable to produce the amount of GABA required to maintain a balance of chemicals.
When Librium is withdrawn, the brain goes into shock and with the sudden overactivity of other brain chemicals, many psychological symptoms will occur. Some of these are known as rebound symptoms. They tend to include the symptoms that Librium was taken to treat in the first place.
So if you were taking Librium for anxiety for example, you may find that your feelings of anxiety will return. The same can be said of those who were taking Librium to treat insomnia. Rebound symptoms typically last for many months and can be more intense than they were before Librium was first taken.
Psychological symptoms of withdrawal include:
Physical Withdrawal from Librium
Just as the brain can rewire itself around drugs such as Librium, so too can the central nervous system. When you try to quit your medication therefore, you are likely to experience a range of physical withdrawal symptoms (if you have become dependent on it). These symptoms include:
increased blood pressure
Substance Use Disorders and Detoxification
Detox is a natural process employed by the body when it has to adjust to the withdrawal of a chemical mood-altering substance. For people with substance use disorders, detox is typically the first part of the recovery process and it tends to immediately precede a programme of rehabilitation.
When you stop taking Librium, or any other mood-altering chemical for that matter, your brain and body must adjust and learn how to work effectively without it once more. As the body expels any remaining chemicals, a variety of symptoms will appear, ranging from mild to severe in intensity. These symptoms are typically the result of the body and brain either speeding up or slowing down certain physiological processes in response to the removal of the substance they had been relying on.
Detox can be complicated, so most affected individuals will benefit from completing the process under medical supervision. There is just no way to tell what symptoms one will experience or how severe these will be before the process begins, so erring on the side of caution is always advisable.
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It is necessary to break free from Librium to get your life back on track. This is especially true if you have developed an addiction whereby your use of this medication is restricting you from going about normal daily life. In this case though you are likely to require a detox.
Librium detox is most effective, and safest, when carried out in a detox facility, as we have alluded to already within this guide. As there is a risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, you can benefit from being under the care of fully qualified medical professionals around-the-clock.
In a detox facility, your withdrawal from Librium will be effectively managed. Before you quit the medication, an assessment will take place to determine the safest way to do this. Your care team will evaluate your situation based on your age, health, and severity of your addiction before deciding on what type of withdrawal is best suited to you.
They will figure out the best way to lessen the impact of withdrawal and may be able to administer appropriate medication to prevent the worst symptoms from occurring.
How to Detox Safely?
It is important to never stop taking Librium by yourself without seeking medical advice. Cold turkey is rarely advisable when it comes to benzodiazepine withdrawal as there is an extremely high risk of severe symptoms. When Librium detox is not managed properly, the consequences could even be fatal.
Based on what we have already discussed, it is highly recommended that a gradual reduction of Librium take place for a safe withdrawal. This is the same for those detoxing in a supervised facility as it is for those who plan to withdraw from their medication at home (although again, we do not recommend this).
So to re-emphasise the point, with an addiction to Librium, it is preferable to withdraw in a dedicated detox facility. Your comfort and safety will be taken care of in such a facility and you will be monitored throughout the process. Fully-trained staff will have experience of benzodiazepine withdrawal and will know how to deal with any complications that arise, and even head off the worst symptoms with appropriate medication.
Withdrawal Timeline and Length of Detoxification
There is no exact timeline for a Librium detoxification as every detox is different and depends on a range of factors such as underlying health issues and the type of detox that takes place. For those without any underlying mental or physical health problems, the timeline might look something like this:
Week 1 – Some people might experience the first symptoms of withdrawal after just 24 hours, but it is more likely that it will take a few days for these to start because of how the drug lingers in the system. Symptoms at this stage typically include anxiety, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and agitation.
Weeks 2 to 3 – Most of the symptoms you will get will occur over the next two to three weeks. These symptoms tend to peak and then subside. You might feel depressed and have trouble sleeping as rebound symptoms develop. It is at this stage that seizures can occur.
Weeks 4 to 6 – Most symptoms will have disappeared after about six weeks.
Weeks 7 onwards – Protracted withdrawal symptoms can occur for many weeks or months after the last dose of Librium. Not everyone will suffer from protracted withdrawal, but those who do often become depressed due to being unable to see an end to their current situation.
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Librium Detox Protocol
The detox protocol is something that clinics take very seriously. It is the plan that is put in place before a detox can begin and includes details about your health and what processes will be used to ensure your comfort and safety throughout.
You will be assigned a care team beforehand who will work with you to create a plan that everyone will subsequently follow. Each member of staff will need to be completely familiar with the protocol and what action should be taken in case of an emergency.
If your dose of Librium is to be reduced gradually, your plan will include details of the dose reduction schedule, and any other medications that may be appropriate will also be included.
Medical Detox for Librium Use
As you know by now having read this guide thus far, withdrawing from Librium can be a complicated process and it is because of this that a medical detox is usually the safest way to quit this medication.
In a dedicated detox facility, there will be a team of medical doctors, nurses and counsellors who will take care of you while you try to get clean and sober. Even with all these medical professionals about though, it will usually be necessary for you to quit Librium gradually rather than abruptly.
That being said, there are some professionals who feel that rapid detoxification is preferable as it can speed up the withdrawal process. Furthermore, when managed effectively, withdrawal symptoms are kept to a minimum. However, this type of detox is not suitable for everyone.
Detoxing under medical supervision means that should any complications arise they can be dealt with quickly and effectively. In a supervised facility, staff will be able to quickly access the equipment and medication required to keep you safe.
Librium Detox Medications
When withdrawing from Librium, it may be necessary for a substitute benzodiazepine drug to be administered. This will help your brain and body to adjust to the removal of Librium, which despite being a longer-acting drug is very potent. The use of another drug can lessen the impact of the detox and can keep withdrawal symptoms to a minimum.
Other medications may also be used during a Librium detox. For example, if you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, your doctor might recommend the use of antidepressants or beta-blockers to provide relief and make the process more comfortable for you.
If you are having a rapid detoxification, it will be necessary for an infusion of flumazenil to be administered. This is effectively an antidote for benzodiazepine overdose, but when given to those who are abruptly stopping their medication, it can help to prevent withdrawal symptoms and flush the benzo drug from the system.
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Gradual Dose Reduction Withdrawal
As mentioned, the safest way to withdraw from Librium is to reduce the amount of medication that you take over a period of weeks or months. This is the case for those who have been abusing Librium as well as those who have developed an addiction to it.
If you are not yet addicted to Librium and want to quit, you will need to consult a doctor for advice on how to safely withdraw from the medication. It is likely that he or she will provide a tapering schedule that you can follow from home. This process is likely to take a couple of months and entail very minimal reductions every couple of weeks; this will dramatically reduce the risk of any withdrawal symptoms.
In a detox facility, a gradual reduction may also be followed, but it is likely that the dose will be reduced on a daily basis over the course of a couple of weeks, with any withdrawal symptoms effectively managed with medication and psychological interventions.
Psychological Interventions for Librium Withdrawal
During Librium withdrawal, a number of psychological interventions might be used to help make you feel more comfortable. Quitting Librium is just the first step on the road to recovery, but it is not the only one. To fully recover from your addiction, you will need to also deal with your emotional issues in more detail. For the most part, this will be done with psychological interventions such as counselling and therapy.
Treatments such as psychodynamic therapy can help to dig deep into your past to try to uncover issues that you may have buried but might be driving your addictive behaviour. Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are also effective.
Learning how your thoughts and feelings can influence your behaviour can help you to learn how to develop new coping strategies as you move forward after withdrawal. The strategies you learn as part of CBT can be taken with you when your treatment programme ends. They are designed to be used in the real world when you are no longer under the influence of Librium.
The use of psychological interventions can help you to get through the withdrawal process. They are used to improve your mental wellbeing and give you the support you need to make it through detox and withdrawal.
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Pharmacological Interventions for Librium Withdrawal
As you go through the detox process, it may be necessary for pharmacological interventions to be used. For example, if you suffer seizures during the process, your medical team may need to act by using anticonvulsants to control them and to prevent more from occurring.
Antidepressant medication could help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, and if you are suffering other painful physical symptoms such as muscle cramps, pain medication may be appropriate.
Doctors will use medication during your detox only where necessary and only when it is safe to do so. You can rest assured that pharmacological interventions are utilised when the benefits outweigh the risks.
Possible Complications from Librium Withdrawal
Withdrawing from benzodiazepine drugs such as Librium always carries the risk of severe symptoms. The risk tends to be higher for those who were abusing the medication in high doses or combining it with other substances such as alcohol or opioid drugs.
A sudden cessation of Librium raises the risk of severe symptoms dramatically, so it is for this reason that you should never quit the medication abruptly. The risk of complications is also higher for those with underlying mental or physical health conditions.
If you have a history of seizures, for example, your risk of suffering one during the detox will be higher than for someone who has never had one.
You should also be aware that protracted withdrawal symptoms occur in some individuals. This can cause the sudden onset of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, or cravings. Symptoms can appear without any warning, even months after the drug was stopped.
Librium Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Once you have successfully withdrawn from Librium, you can then think about rehabilitation. Treatment for addiction is typically a three-step process that begins with detoxification. When this has been completed, rehabilitation begins, which is the process that tries to deal with the psychological element of the illness.
It involves individual counselling and therapy and the use of a combination of psychotherapeutic and holistic therapies to aid full recovery. It should then be followed on with aftercare, which deals with ongoing maintenance of recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know if I’m experiencing Librium withdrawal?
If you have tried to quit Librium or cut back on the amount of the drug that you are using and experience withdrawal symptoms that make you feel unwell, you are likely to be going through withdrawal.
You might think that you have managed to break free from Librium with little impact if you stop taking your medication and do not experience any symptoms during the first few days. However, you should be aware that Librium does linger in the system for a number of days and this can cause the onset of withdrawal to be delayed. It is likely that you will not notice the first symptoms until around the third or fourth day.
Can Librium withdrawal kill you?
There is a risk of life-threatening symptoms associated with Librium withdrawal, but in a supervised facility the risk will be extremely low. The chances of fatal consequences are much higher when the drug is stopped suddenly or when attempting to quit Librium without medical supervision.
Can Librium withdrawal cause seizures?
Seizures are a risk factor with Librium withdrawal just as they are with all types of benzodiazepine withdrawal. The risk is higher for those with a history of seizures and may be the result of a sudden increase in excitatory chemicals within the brain when Librium is withdrawn.
Can Librium withdrawal cause depression?
Depression is often associated with Librium withdrawal, and while this can be caused by a biochemical disorder resulting from the removal of your medication, it can also be due to poor quality of life during prolonged withdrawal.
What does Librium withdrawal feel like?
You are likely to feel unwell during withdrawal from Librium. A variety of both physical and mental symptoms can occur while your brain and body attempt to get back to normal. It is for this reason that a gradual reduction of Librium is recommended. This can help to reduce the severity of symptoms.
What will help Librium withdrawal?
Certain medications can make withdrawing from Librium easier. These medications might include pain relief, antidepressants, and beta-blockers, which can all help ease symptoms. It may also be possible to prevent some symptoms from occurring by using a substitute benzodiazepine during the detox process.
Holistic therapies such as meditation and mindfulness have also proven effective in relieving symptoms and preventing cravings.
How to ease Librium withdrawal?
Withdrawing from Librium often results in physical and mental symptoms but using a tapering schedule where your medication is reduced gradually over a period of weeks or months may ease the process and make you more comfortable. It might also help to prevent the worst symptoms from occurring.
How to minimise Librium withdrawal?
Before you try to detox from Librium, you should speak to your doctor for advice. If you do not yet have an addiction to your medication, you may be able to withdraw at home. However, just because you do not have an addiction does not mean that you do not have a physical dependence. It will therefore be necessary for you to reduce your dose of Librium slowly rather than stopping it suddenly.
If you use a gradual reduction plan, your risk of severe symptoms will be reduced and you may even prevent the worst symptoms from occurring in the first place.
Is Librium withdrawal dangerous?
Librium withdrawal is dangerous when attempted without medical supervision. Trying to quit your medication suddenly could result in withdrawal symptoms that have the potential to be life-threatening.
It is recommended that you detox in a dedicated facility under medical supervision as doing so will mean you are at virtually no risk throughout the process.