Prescription medications can treat a variety of ailments effectively for those struggling from disorders, but the country is currently plagued by an addiction crisis that has been fueled by prescription medications. Opioids have received all of the headlines when it relates to drug abuse, but another problematic medication that goes under the radar is benzodiazepines.
Benzos, along with the prescription drug Librium can result in dependence, addiction, and even fatal overdoses when taken beyond their prescribed purpose.
It is always recommended to follow the instructions of your doctor and those that are listed on the medication itself.
Benzodiazepines are classified as psychoactive prescription drugs with a plethora of uses. These include treating insomnia, anxiety, seizures, and muscular issues. Librium’s primary use, however, is to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
Benzos work by slowing down overactivity in the central nervous system that causes sleep problems and anxiety. Because of this, it is regarded as a beneficial treatment for insomnia and sleep disorders.
Benzos’ popularity, as well as the success some people have received in direct relation to their use, have both contributed to overprescribing practices among physicians during the past several decades. There is a direct link between benzo prescription and overdose increasing sharply over the past several years, data show.
For a time, benzodiazepines were the most prescribed medication in the world. They remain highly sought after by those with debilitating disorders, but it’s important to know the dangers associated with the prolonged use of the drug.
What is Librium?
Librium is the brand-name for the generic drug chlordiazepoxide, and it is used as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Librium was discovered by accident and was the first of its kind to have hypnotic and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. This took place in the 1950s, and shortly after, its discovery was sold as a therapeutic, hypnotic drug. In as little as a year, it was used by more than 20,000 people.
It was sold to the public as a safer version of barbiturates, which are another type of CNS depressant that possesses similar side effects. Barbiturates were known to harbor severe side effects that were potentially dangerous, and upon the creation of Librium, it was said to offer the same benefits of barbiturates without the adverse side effects.
Depressants were mostly marketed to mothers who were in good health, and this stirred up controversy about the intentions of drug makers. The popularity skyrocketed during the next 10 years, and by the 1970s, it was the most prescribed drug in the world.
Librium’s longer-lasting effects make it better suited as a sleep aid than other benzos because it does not just help you fall asleep, but it allows for longer restful sleep. Its long half-life is why long duration sleep can be achieved when consuming the drug.
While it is an effective medication for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, it holds the potential for serious side effects that are similar to those of barbiturates. Some of the side effects attributed to the use of Librium include:
- Liver problems
- Lack of coordination
Because of Librium’s potential for abuse, it has been suggested for only short-term therapeutic use. Long-term use has been linked to worsening sleep problems and anxiety. Librium can be used for its intoxicating effects, but when it is abused, it can lead to a possibly fatal overdose.
When Librium is used in combination with drugs like heroin or alcohol, it can cause a person to stop breathing.
What are the Signs of Librium Addiction?
Dependence that leads to addiction can happen when a drug is used in higher doses than prescribed or for longer than intended. There are many outward warning signs exhibited by someone using Librium, including those listed above.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a Librium addiction, it’s important to be aware of all the warning signs and dangers of heavy use. Someone with a Librium addiction may show symptoms such as:
- Memory loss
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Withdrawing from normal activities
- Trouble at school or work
- Impaired cognitive ability
When a Librium addiction is beginning to form, more pronounced symptoms may begin to appear. These symptoms include:
- Misusing Librium and taking higher doses than the doctor prescribes
- Doctor shopping to get additional Librium prescriptions
- Lying to your family members about Librium use
- Falling into illegal methods to obtain Librium, such as forging prescriptions
- When Librium becomes a primary focal point of your day
- Neglecting everyday responsibilities or relationships
- Feeling the pinch financially as a result of your expensive habit
- Thoughts of confusion
- Thoughts of quitting, but failing to do so
- Feeling restless
- Taking extreme doses to combat a growing tolerance
- Rapid heart rate, tremors, or sweating when trying to stop using Librium
While quitting Librium is challenging on its own, attempting to stop without professional help can create additional hurdles. When someone abuses Librium for an extended period, their usual pathways adjust to the presence of Librium in the brain.
Individuals will become physically dependent on Librium and begin to feel normal only after using the drug. After dependence has developed, abrupt cessation of the drug will induce miserable withdrawal symptoms.
Even when someone uses the drug as prescribed for six to eight weeks, Librium often causes withdrawal symptoms. Not only is the withdrawal process uncomfortable, but it can be dangerous. Librium withdrawal is best managed by addiction specialists as some of the withdrawal symptoms can be deadly.
What is Involved in Librium Addiction Treatment?
While there is no single cure for addiction, there are resources available to help guide you in the recovery process. There is treatment designed to help you achieve a better life and several therapy options for individuals seeking refuge from the darkness that addiction is.
Benzodiazepines like Librium carry the possibility of dangerous withdrawal symptoms that could be deadly in certain circumstances, driving the push behind seeking medical detox at the beginning of recovery. This starts the long process in the continuum of care but is also the most intense level of treatment.
During medical detox, you will receive 24-hour, around-the-clock care from medical professionals, and this is where you will create your medical plan. You and your medical team will discuss your history of drug use, other drugs you may use in conjunction with Librium, and your desired outcome. Your history and overall well-being will help determine the appropriate placement for your after detox is completed.
In detox, you will receive medications that allow for tapering off Librium to allow for a more comfortable withdrawal. While you have a medical plan set in place for medications and time in detox, these are always left open to interpretation as you may not always respond as anticipated. The primary objective of medical detox is to ensure your safety into a sober state. Upon the completion of detox, your primary care team will decide which level of the treatment you will enter. There are three levels of care after detox that include:
- Residential inpatient
- Intensive outpatient
How Dangerous is Librium?
When Librium is used to manage a disorder as prescribed by a doctor, it can be an effective means of treating an ailment. However, that doesn’t mean it’s exempt from deadly side effects. When abused or mixed with other drugs, the medication’s side effects can be fatal. A dangerous side effect of Librium is lack of coordination similar to what you’d expect from being drunk from alcohol.
The symptoms alone may not be deadly, but when getting behind the wheel of a car due to an impaired cognitive ability, you put not just yourself, but many others in harm’s way.
Recreational use of Librium increases the chances of an overdose. During an overdose, your central nervous system is slowed to the point where the body cannot breathe on its own. This can lead to coma, brain damage, and ultimately end up being fatal.
This is more common when mixing benzos with other drugs that suppress the nervous system, and this has never been more evident than between 2002 and 2015 when benzo overdose death rate increased exponentially.
As mentioned previously in this article, withdrawals attributed to the sudden cessation of benzos can be fatal. If dependence on Librium is developed, and you suddenly quit taking the drug, or you are unable to obtain more, your risk of serious withdrawals such as seizures increases dramatically.
Librium and other benzos have been known to cause delirium tremens (DTs), which is known as a condition characterized by extreme confusion, seizures, and panic. Without proper treatment, this can result in death.
Librium Abuse Statistics
- Librium is so common that 11% to 15% of American households have a prescription.
- In 2011, 30% of opioid overdose deaths involved benzos as well.
- Nearly 9,000 people died in overdoses involving benzodiazepines in 2015.