Before going into specifics, Librium is a drug that poses a risk for both addiction and dependence. With any drug that you develop a dependence to, it can be unsafe to stop using it cold turkey, which is why doctors will put patients on a Librium taper schedule. A Librium taper plan is important whether you’re taking the drug for anxiety or alcohol withdrawal.
Table of Contents
What is Librium?
Librium is a prescription drug that’s the brand name of the generic chlordiazepoxide. It’s used to treat acute anxiety and alcohol withdrawal, and it may also be used in particular anxiety-producing situations such as right before surgery to help calm the patient. Librium is classified as a benzodiazepine, and it impacts the effects of GABA in the brain, which is a natural chemical that controls nerve activity.
Some of the side effects of Librium are pretty common among benzos in general and include dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. People may also experience blurred vision or a headache. More serious side effects of Librium can include mood changes, slurred speech, sex issues, tremors, twitching, urination problems or clumsiness.
Librium is available only by prescription, and benzos are one of the most prescribed drug classes in the U.S.
Unlike a lot of other anxiety medicines, Librium is not intended to treat generalized anxiety disorder. It should only be used to treat acute anxiety symptoms for around two to four weeks because it does have a high potential for abuse and dependency.
Even when someone is prescribed Librium for a legitimate reason, they can develop a dependence on the drug, but the chances of addiction and dependence are higher when people abuse it.
Why Is Librium Used For Alcohol Withdrawal?
The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be some of the most serious of any other substance, and it’s important for alcoholics to seek care in a medically supervised detox program as a result. When someone is detoxing from alcohol, a team of doctors and clinicians can give them the right medicines to not only keep them comfortable but also safe. Librium is one of those medications that are often used.
Librium is useful during alcohol withdrawal because it can help people relax and help deal with the emotional side effects that can happen. It’s also a muscle relaxant, which can help prevent some of the alcohol detox symptoms as well.
If someone is taking Librium for anxiety, they’re probably going to take a dosage of one tablet up to three times a day. When Librium is used for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, the person may take four doses a day. With alcohol withdrawal in a supervised setting, the physician will automatically put the patient on a tapering down schedule. This means that someone who is receiving withdrawal treatment will first get higher doses of Librium right when they stop drinking, and then over the next week or two, the dose will gradually be reduced. This Librium taper is extremely important, and we’ll go into more details about why below.
Related Topic: How to taper off alcohol
Librium Addiction and Dependence
Addiction and dependence are two different things. If someone is addicted to Librium, their brain is pushing them toward doing the drug again and again, because of the way it activated their reward center. When this happens, it’s considered a psychological disease. Someone who is addicted to Librium will start to make the drug their sole focus, and they will often neglect other responsibilities and relationships. A Librium addiction can include abuse of the drug by taking higher doses or taking it in ways other than what’s prescribed.
People who are addicted to Librium may also doctor shop for prescriptions, or they may lie or hide their use. Physical signs of Librium addiction may include restlessness, confusion, and tolerance that develops for the drug.
A Librium dependence is different from addiction. With a dependence, a person is physically dependent on the presence of the drug. They have gotten used to taking it, and they need higher doses for the same effect, and they will also experience adverse side effects if they stop taking it. Being dependent on Librium is common, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted, although you may be.
The likelihood of Librium dependence is high, even when you take it as prescribed. That’s why a Librium taper plan is so important. A medical professional can help you develop a Librium taper schedule that will mitigate or prevent withdrawal symptoms and will help you gradually stop using the drug. It’s important to realize that even after just using Librium for a few weeks you may need to wean off it gradually.
Also relevant to the concept of a Librium taper is the relatively long half-life of the drug, which means you may have to wait longer for it to clear from your system.
So, to sum up, Librium is a prescription benzo that is used to treat anxiety and also alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Regardless of why you’re prescribed Librium, it’s intended as a short-term anti-anxiety medicine, and you should speak with your physician about whether or not a Librium taper is the right way for you to gradually stop using the drug.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.