Librium Abuse and Addiction

May 14, 2010 by  

Librium abuse and addiction

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a psychoactive benzodiazepine drug whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring.  Librium was the first benzodiazepine discovered.  It was discovered accidentally by Leo Sternbach in 1955, and made available in 1960 by Hoffmann–La Roche, which has also marketed diazepam (Valium) since 1963.

Librium is commonly misused and are often taken in combination with other drugs of abuse.

Librium enhances the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which results in sedative, hypnotic (sleep-inducing), anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant and amnesic effect.  These properties make Librium useful in treating anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal and as a premedication for medical or dental procedures.

In general, Librium is safe for short term use, although cognitive impairments and paradoxical effects such as aggression or behavioral disinhibition occasionally occur.

Long-term use has adverse psychological and physical effects, decreasing effectiveness, physical dependence, and benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Librium overdoses can cause dangerous deep unconsciousness.  However, they are much less toxic than barbiturates, and death rarely occurs when a benzodiazepine is the only drug taken.  When combined with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol and opiates, the potential for toxicity increases.

The long-term adverse effects of Librium include a general deterioration in physical and mental health and tend to increase with time.

Adverse effects can include cognitive impairment such as feelings of turmoil, difficulty in thinking constructively, increased anxiety, and depression.  Behavioral problems also occur, such as loss of sex-drive, agoraphobia and social phobia, loss of interest in leisure pursuits and interests, and an inability to experience or express feelings.  An altered perception of self, environment and relationships may also occur.

The most frequent symptoms of withdrawal from Librium is insomnia, gastric problems, tremors, agitation, fearfulness, and muscle spasms.  Other effects include irritability, sweating, depersonalization, derealization, hypersensitivity to stimuli, depression, suicidal behavior, psychosis, seizures and delirium tremens.

Severe symptoms usually occur as a result of abrupt withdrawal, so medically supervised detoxification is recommended.

Approximately 10% of patients will experience a protracted withdrawal syndrome, which can last for many months or longer.  This phenomenon is known as "benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome."  Symptoms do gradually lessen over time, eventually disappearing altogether.

Librium is considered to be major drugs of abuse.

Librium is used recreationally and by drug abusers, with abuse mostly limited to individuals who abuse other drugs.  Benzodiazepine abuse ranges from occasional binges on large doses, to chronic and compulsive drug abuse of high doses.  Mortality rates are higher among drug abusers that use Librium, particularly among heavy alcohol users.

Both long-term and short-term use have the potential to cause physical and psychological dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms.

Dependence and tolerance can also develop rapidly, with benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome occurring after as little as three weeks of continuous use.  Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia, among others.

If you have additional questions, or if you would like us to provide you with a no-cost, no-commitment, confidential consultation, please contact one of our treatment specialists.

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