Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) Withdrawal and Detox

Given how helpful Librium is to people who suffer from an anxiety disorder and are recovering from alcohol withdrawal, it’s hard to believe that such a supportive drug can become such a threat. Even though there are many good things that come from Librium, the drug can become highly addictive if it is not taken carefully. If misused or taken for extended periods of time, individuals can find themselves addicted to Librium. However, it is possible to live a life free of substance misuse.

In order to recognize Librium withdrawal, a person should first understand what the drug is itself. Librium is the brand name of a generic, anti-anxiety prescription drug called chlordiazepoxide. This medication is usually given to people who struggle with anxiety, but it’s also given to people who are battling the withdrawal symptoms from alcoholism. Librium, classified as a benzodiazepine, is the kind of drug that impacts the brain by slowing down brain activity. The drug is intended for short-term use, but the relaxation and sense of euphoria it may bring to the user is what can cause the addiction.

Librium withdrawal occurs when the body begins to rid itself of the drug and attempts to function normally. When someone takes Librium, it acts on their brain’s GABA receptors. The GABA neurotransmitter is responsible for calming the nerve activity in the brain and keeping it balanced. The amount of the drug that was consumed throughout the addiction determines how severe the withdrawal symptoms will be. During withdrawal, the brain goes into shock as it is now trying to function on it’s own, without the Librium.  

Going through withdrawal can be an uncomfortable process, but it’s one that is manageable with the right support and resources. Throughout withdrawal, a person may experience:

  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Psychosis
  • Insomnia
  • Amplification of symptoms that the drug was initially intended to treat (such as anxiety)   

While a person may not encounter every symptom,experiencing multiple symptoms is possible depending on how intense the withdrawal is. The severity of the addiction is what determines the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. There are also additional factors that can affect the intensity of the withdrawal. Some factors include:

  • Length of time using Librium
  • Dosage taken
  • Age
  • Height
  • Gender
  • Physical health
  • Psychological health
  • Method of detoxification
One aspect that is important to keep in mind during the recovery process is that everyone progresses at their own pace. Recovery isn’t a race. Every person who has misused Librium will have different reactions during detoxification and will also have unique withdrawal timelines. The Recovery Village can create a treatment plan that is specifically tailored to an individual’s unique needs.

While it may take some people only a few weeks to complete their detox, others mayake longer to complete the process. Each person’s recovery time is different, but what’s most important are those first steps a person takes toward sobriety. For a better idea of how the process can go, here is a typical timeline for someone detoxing from Librium:

  • Days 1 – 3: The beginning of detoxification can be challenging because the body is trying to cleanse itself of the Librium. The person may experience restlessness and exhaustion, along with dizziness and headaches. During this time, the brain craves the Librium that  it is accustomed to having. The person may also feel irritable or depressed. In more severe instances, paranoia can be experienced. The brain is going through some very radical changes, so patience is key during this time.
  • Days 4 – 7: After almost a whole week without Librium, the symptoms may lessen in their effects. Cravings may remain, but, the most challenging part of a Librium detox has passed. The person may still feel an intensified feeling of exhaustion, but they’re well on their way toward recovery.
  • Days 8 – 14: At this point it has been two weeks without Librium and some withdrawal symptoms may still persist. The person may begin to experience insomnia, and when they are able to fall asleep, they may experience unpleasant dreams. However, around this time is when a person’s appetite may return to a normal state after being suppressed by the need for Librium for so long. Mood swings may still linger, but this means that the brain is returning to its original state prior to the substance misuse.
  • Days 15 – 28:  Near the end of the first Librium-free month, some cravings may reappear. Fortunately, the Librium should be completely out of the system by this point.

It’s imperative to recovery to remember that it is not a race. Recovery times vary per person and depend on particular situations and a person’s chemical makeup. Do not become discouraged if the recovery process is not identical to the aforementioned timeline – instead be proud for working toward a drug-free life.

For a successful detox process, it is advised to consult with a medical professional before attempting to wean off of taking Librium. Working with a doctor is not only the safest way to detox, but it’s also the most effective. Some people attempt to detox on their own through various methods like quitting “cold turkey” and tapering. Even though these methods have the possibility of being successful, they still are not recommended methods. When trying to detox without proper medical assistance, the withdrawal symptoms can appear much sooner and stronger compared to detoxing under professional care.
One of the best ways to begin a Librium detox is by tapering. Tapering is a process in which physicians create a schedule for their patient to begin weaning them off of the drug. The overall schedule depends on the length of time that the drug has been used, along with the usual dosage and the severity of the addiction. This method lets the mind and body safely rid itself of Librium and return to its original state. Doing this will lessen the amount and severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Usually the dosage is  decreased by one-quarter for each week in detox, but the exact amount varies per patient. Some people attempt to do this on their own, but it is highly recommended to do this with proper medical supervision.

Another way that people attempt to detox is by quitting “cold turkey,” which means to stop the use of the drug all at once. This method is not one that medical professionals support, as it can be extremely dangerous. When the intake of the drug is stopped so suddenly, the body can go into shock and experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

The best way to detox from Librium is in a professional rehab facility. While at such a facility, the patient  would have the opportunity to work with medical professionals that would devise a plan specifically based on individual needs . The Recovery Village offers various programs to help people recover such as inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, and intensive outpatient rehabilitation.

To begin a Librium detox, an evaluation is usually the first step. The evaluation is important because medical professionals take note of individual symptoms and the person’s history of Librium use to determine the best kind of treatment plan.

After the evaluation, the patient begins the detox process itself. The moment the person stopped taking Librium, the detox process began. The body shifts into overdrive to expel the drug and attempt to return to its state prior to the drug being introduced. This is when a person experiences withdrawal symptoms, and this is the time that a person needs to be the most patient to ensure a successful recovery.

Once detoxification is over, the patient shifts to aftercare. This is when the patient takes the skills they learned during treatment and applies them to life in their community. While the Librium that was previously consumed is completely out of the system, the mind may still be fighting the urges that lead to substance misuse. It’s important during this time to practice sober-living techniques to help fight the temptation of using the substance.

The Recovery Village has a variety of facilities that are located around the country to help you on your journey to a drug-free life. With locations in Colorado, Ohio, Maryland, Washington and Florida, each center is there to help you through every step of the detoxification process and to teach you the tools that are necessary to become sober and healthy. Begin your recovery today.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.

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