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Librium Withdrawal | Timeline, Symptoms, and Detox

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a medication from the benzodiazepine (benzo) class that is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol and other benzos withdrawal symptoms.

It is a white, crystalline substance that can come in multicolored capsules. The Librium dosage ranges from 5-, 10-, and 25-milligram strengths. Though it is typically swallowed, the drug can also be snorted and injected.

First discovered in 1959 and marketed a year later, it was the first benzodiazepine that was synthesized. What is now known as Librium was the pet project of one of the most successful chemists of the 20th century.

Along with psychological conditions, the Schedule IV drug can also be used in combination with clidinium bromide to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Though it was initially accepted by the public, it was soon met with disapproval before there was a push to have more restrictive medical guidelines.

Librium acts as a sedative and directly affects the central nervous system, producing a sense of tranquility. Since its half-life is between 10 and 30 hours, it can take several hours to feel its full effects.

People who abuse Librium do so by doctor shopping or procuring the drug online or on the street. Street names for Librium include “downers”, “tranqs”, “bennies”, “benzos”, “L”, “blue bombs”, “blues”, and “ruffies”, to name a few.

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What Are the Librium Withdrawal Symptoms?

Like other benzos, Librium is habit-forming. People who are prescribed the drug to treat their medical conditions can still develop an addiction to the drug. Chlordiazepoxide can also result in physical dependence and what’s referred to as the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. 

Withdrawal from Librium and other benzos generally lead to withdrawal symptoms that are similar to those of alcohol and barbiturates.

Some of the Librium withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Restlessness
  • Tension
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Delirium tremens
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Paranoid psychosis
  • Potentially fatal seizures

It’s important to note that symptoms will manifest differently in each user depending on their genes, the dose taken, and the duration of use. Librium withdrawal symptoms are especially common among people who have used and abused the drug continuously for more than four months. Also, abusing Librium in combination with other substances like alcohol, opioids, and cocaine, can exacerbate the withdrawal process and even lead to overdose. 

What Are the Stages of the Librium Withdrawal Timeline?

The withdrawal symptoms you experience will depend on a few factors that are specific to your experience with Librium. If you’ve been dependent on a high dose of the drug for a long time, you’re likely to experience intense symptoms more quickly. Your timeline might also be sped up if your last dose was smaller than you’re used to. 

The length of time you experience withdrawal symptoms can also depend on a few factors like whether or not you tamper or quit cold turkey. However, Librium withdrawal can be dangerous when you quit cold turkey, and it’s important to speak to a doctor before you decide to stop using it completely.

Undergoing withdrawal from Librium without medical assistance can be very dangerous and can result in life-threatening symptoms. Below is the Librium withdrawal timeline:

First 1-3 Days – The earliest symptoms of withdrawal, including disturbed sleep, restlessness, anxiety, rapid heart rate, and tremors can begin as early as 24 hours following the last dose. Though some patients may not experience physical symptoms until a week later.

First 4-7 Days – Although many physical side effects start to leave after this period, some users still report experiencing anxiety and stress.

Second week – Withdrawal symptoms during this stage of the Librium withdrawal timeline can rebound about two weeks after the last dose and are generally at its painful and uncomfortable. Librium’s long-lasting effects attribute to this rebound effect.

A few weeks – Users start to recover as more symptoms fade. Regardless, many still experience Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), which involve cravings, depression, and irritability.

How Dangerous Is Librium?

As a common prescription medication, you may assume that Librium is fairly safe. For the most part, if you follow the dose instructions and speaking to your doctor about changing symptoms, using the prescription is relatively safe. However, it can become dangerous if it’s used for a long time, in high doses, or alongside other psychoactive substances. 

Benzodiazepines like Librium can cause dependence and addiction if they’re used for too long or if they’re used in high doses. If you become dependent, quitting could cause potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms, especially if you quit cold turkey. 

Librium and other depressants can cause delirium tremens, which include confusion, disorientation, visual and auditory hallucinations, fever, high blood pressure, and seizure.

High doses of Librium can also cause dangerous overdose symptoms. A benzodiazepine overdose isn’t as likely to lead to death as other depressants like barbiturates, but with very high doses it’s possible. Overdose symptoms can include heavy sedation, loss of consciousness, slowed breathing, low blood pressure, and slowed heart rate. 

Librium overdose is more likely to become deadly if the drug is mixed with opioids or other depressants like alcohol, barbiturates, and sleep-aids. Together, these drugs can potentiate each other, which is when substances with similar effects combine to create a more intense reaction in the brain and body.

When benzos and other drugs potentiate, it can lead to an overdose even if each dose of the individual drugs is moderate.

Why Should I Detox?

Quitting drugs cold turkey may sound like a good idea, but it can be difficult, painful, and dangerous. In some cases, it can be dangerous and even deadly.

Given the difficult physical symptoms, withdrawing on your own without professional medical help can be very challenging. It’s important to find a professional, medically assisted detox program to support you during the process of Librium withdrawal.

Doing this will ensure that you are carefully monitored in a safe environment while your body goes through the difficult detoxification process. Participating in an addiction treatment program also gives you a better chance at lasting recovery as a result of the structured medical and emotional support you will receive.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

The primary goal is medical stabilization during the first stage of withdrawal treatment, which is known as detox. Expect the detox stage to last from a few days up to a week. When you arrive, your medical team, which will include doctors, nurses, and support staff will complete your comprehensive medical assessment, which will help determine your level of addiction and additional medical needs you may have. The assessment includes a medical exam plus a urine screening for drugs.

Your medical team will monitor you 24/7 to help manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and prevent dangerous Librium withdrawal symptoms.

Many people also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological challenges during the detox period. Your treatment plan will also include comprehensive support to help you with these symptoms. A longer-term treatment plan will be put into place for you once you are medically stabilized.

If you and the treatment team determine that you need further medical treatment, you may continue the next stage of treatment on an inpatient basis, which might be because of co-occurring medical conditions or post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient treatment is intensive and includes 24/7 clinical monitoring. At this stage, you will start seeing a therapist regularly to help you process the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction and recovery.

Partial hospitalization (PHP) is in-between outpatient treatment and inpatient care. The goal of PHP is to stabilize your mental status and better prepare you for success once you return to independent living after you leave the treatment center. During this stage, you’ll live at a transitional living facility while undergoing a supportive and rigorous treatment program. This program will be five days a week for six hours each day. You will be able to participate in individual, group, and family therapy programs to help you address emotional and mental health needs.

Learning positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and techniques to help prevent relapse so that you will be prepared for long-term recovery will be the primary focus during PHP.

Sources

Becker, H. C. (1998). Kindling in Alcohol Withdrawal – National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-1/25-34.pdf

Maugh, T. H. (2005, October 1). Leo Sternbach, 97; Invented Valium, Many Other Drugs. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2005-oct-01-me-sternbach1-story.html

Schmitz, A. (2016, May 6). Benzodiazepine use, misuse, and abuse: A review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007645/

ScienceDirect. (0AD). Drug Potentiation. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/drug-potentiation

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019, September 11). Chlordiazepoxide: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682078.html

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