What is Librium?
The main brand name for Chlordiazepoxide, Librium is a Benzodiazepine often used to help people who are going through the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal. Librium was the first Benzodiazepine, or Benzo, introduced to the market in 1960. The drug quickly surpassed the popularity of Barbiturates as a sedative.
The mechanism by which Librium works was unknown at the time it was released, but it has since been determined to be because of two common effects that all Benzos share. One, Librium is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. This means it slows down bodily functions that are connected through synaptic activity in the CNS, like reflexes and heart rate. Two, Librium increases production of an inhibiting chemical in the brain, (GABA), that blocks pain receptors and inhibits other sections of the brain, providing a feeling similar to the effects of alcohol.
The alcohol-like side effects that Librium causes make it an effective tool to use in helping patients recover from an alcohol use disorder. However, these same effects are highly addictive and make it popular to abuse.
Popular street names for Librium are:
- Blue bombs
- Nerve pills
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The Effects of Librium
Like all Benzos, Librium depresses the central nervous system, producing a calming effect on the user. One of the reasons Librium is so popular for treating acute alcohol withdrawal is that it slows down the body, preventing potential shock and inhibiting the brain receptors that express pain. Because of how Librium works in the body, it produces other side effects. These commonly include:
- Impaired muscle control
- Skin problems
- Mood changes
- Menstrual irregularities
- Movement disorders
- Change in libido
In rarer cases, someone using Librium can express more severe side effects, like:
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Uncontrollable muscle movements in eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck
- Agitation and/or hostility
- Liver dysfunction
- Blood disorders
- Jaundice (the yellowing of the skin or eyes)
If anyone using Librium has expressed these symptoms, they should seek out a doctor immediately.
It is frequently prescribed for people recovering from alcohol addiction; however, the addictiveness of Librium is something that the recoveree and prescribing doctor should always be aware of, as a dependency can form in just a couple weeks of regular use. Because of the calming effects Librium has on the body, many won’t realize they’ve developed a dependency until they experience symptoms of withdrawal. These can include:
- Increased heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Sensory hypersensitivity
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Drug cravings
- Delirium Tremens
- Memory loss
The person recovering will also find it is harder to calm down, as they have grown dependent on the drug that was producing calming chemicals in the brain and are now suddenly without it. This causes what are known as “rebound symptoms,” which are perhaps the most troubling for many people to experience.
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When the there is no more Librium in the system, the symptoms that were being managed by the drug resurface. These are known as rebound symptoms. This means that someone who was using Librium to treat their acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin to experience those feelings again. Managing rebound symptoms can be the most important part of recovering from addiction to Librium, and failure to do so is a leading cause of relapse. Checking into a clinic and seeking medically-assisted detox can help someone get over the greatest hurdles of recovery.
Treatment for Librium Addiction
As Librium is often encountered when someone is recovering from alcohol addiction, it is likely they have already struggled with recovery before and may feel ashamed about getting hooked onto another substance. Know that Benzos can be much more addictive than alcohol, and someone in recovery can easily latch onto something new as their body is trying to cope with the absence of their original addiction.
Considering how similar the effects of Benzos are to alcohol and the time frame of replacing one with the other, it can be very easy for someone to develop a Librium addiction. If you or someone you know has developed an addiction to Librium, know that there is no shame in coming forward. Battling addiction isn’t something that is handled at one stage of your life, but a road that twists and turns. You’ll run into obstacles, get lost, and occasionally fall. However, recovery is a journey, and all it takes is to get back up. If you don’t know how to get back up, reach out to a dedicated treatment specialist today who can help you map out your next steps.
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