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Librium Withdrawal

An overactive central nervous system can cause several complications. Anxiety, sleep disorders, and even seizures are rooted in a central nervous system that’s not regulated properly. Biochemical and psychological issues can both cause this condition.

Anxiety and sleep disorders are two of the most common medical issues Americans face. Millions of people struggle with some form of anxiety disorder, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as much as a third of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

People have been using modern chemical medications to treat sleep and anxiety problems since the 19th century. Librium is the brand name for chlordiazepoxide, a medication that’s used to treat sleep and anxiety symptoms.

Librium is in a category of drugs called benzodiazepines, which were first synthesized and distributed in the 1960s. The drugs outmoded barbiturates as the common sleep aid because they have a relatively safer side effects profile. Benzodiazepines like Librium work by influencing an important chemical messenger in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA).

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GABA is designed to bind to their receptors and regulate excitability in the brain. This chemical allows you to calm down after experiencing stress, and it helps you to relax when it’s time to rest. For physical or psychological reasons, GABA is sometimes not enough to regulate an overexcited central nervous system. Drugs like Librium can increase the efficiency of GABA to help facilitate rest and sleep.

However, Librium can also cause chemical dependence. As your body gets used to the drug in your system, it adapts around it and relies on it to maintain normal brain chemistry.  If you stop using Librium, it can cause uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

What Are Librium Withdrawal Symptoms?

As a central nervous system depressant, Librium can cause symptoms related to overexcitement in the system during withdrawal. Because your body works to counteract and adapt to the drug in your system, quitting it abruptly can cause a chemical imbalance that causes anxiety, insomnia, and more extreme symptoms like seizures.

Symptoms can be extreme if you used high doses and quit suddenly or “cold turkey.” They can also be more extreme if you’ve gone through depressant withdrawal before. A phenomenon called kindling brings on changes in your brain after depressant withdrawal that makes subsequent withdrawal periods more dangerous. Other symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Restlessness
  • Tension
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Sudden confusion
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia

What Are the Stages of the Librium Withdrawal Timeline?

Your timeline of Librium withdrawal can depend on your past with the drug. If you’ve taken it for a long time or if you’ve used it in regular high doses, you may experience your first withdrawal symptoms earlier. Your withdrawal timeline may vary, but it will likely resemble the following:

  • 3 days: Librium has a half-life between five and 30 hours, which means it will stop being effective around that time. You may experience your first symptoms of withdrawal within three days of your last dose. Early symptoms can include anxiety and insomnia, especially if you used the drug to treat those issues. 
  • 7 days: Your symptoms will peak within the first week of your withdrawal. Peak symptoms are usually at their most intense and can include severe symptoms such as seizures and delirium. After your symptoms peak, they will start to disappear. 
  • Two weeks: As your symptoms begin to fade, physical symptoms will wear off first. However, psychological symptoms may linger. It’s common to feel insomnia, anxiety, and drug cravings after your acute withdrawal period. 
  • 1 month or more: In some cases, persistent symptoms need to be addressed in treatment. Drug cravings may continue indefinitely, and you may need to learn how to cope with them in a way that allows you to avoid relapse. 

Why Should I Detox?

Medical detox is the safest way to get through withdrawal symptoms for many substances. However, central nervous system depressants like Librium can be dangerous during withdrawal, so they are the most likely category of drugs to need detox. Medical detoxification involves 24-hour medically managed treatment from medical and clinical professionals. Detox usually lasts a week to 10 days, depending on your needs.

Detox is designed to help people who are likely to go through severe withdrawal symptoms. It also can also help anyone who needs treatment for other health concerns alongside withdrawal. Not everyone who seeks addiction treatment will need detox, but a medical and clinical evaluation will be done to help determine your needs.

The Next Step in Treatment

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, detox alone is often not enough to effectively address addiction. While it’s an important part of addiction recovery, treating addiction and its underlying issues may need additional levels of care.

If you have high-level medical or psychological needs, you may go through an inpatient or residential treatment program with 24-hour monitoring and access to services. If you can safely live on your own, you may enroll in an outpatient treatment program. Through treatment, you will participate in therapies that are tailored to your needs, including individual, family, and group therapy.

Why Seek Addiction Treatment?

Since Librium can potentially cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to seek help before you attempt to quit cold turkey. However, it’s also important to seek addiction if you have a substance use disorder that extends beyond chemical dependence.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that affects the brain’s reward system. It is often difficult to overcome on your own outside of professional help. If you or someone you know is battling with a substance use disorder that’s related to Librium or another drug, it’s important to address it as soon as possible. Treating a substance use problem early can help you avoid some of the worst consequences of addiction, including health problems and financial instability. Learn more about addiction and how it’s treated to take your first steps toward sobriety.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, February 22). CDC – Sleep Home Page – Sleep and Sleep Disorders. from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

Ogbru, A. (2018, February 6). Benzodiazepines Drug Class: Side Effects, Types & Uses. from https://www.rxlist.com/benzodiazepines/drugs-condition.htm

RxList. (2018, October 10). Librium (Chlordiazepoxide): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses. from https://www.rxlist.com/librium-drug.htm

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2004, September 16). gamma-Aminobutyric acid. from ttps://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/gamma-Aminobutyric-acid

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