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Long-Term Effects Of Librium Abuse

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

May 15, 2019

Librium abuse can have lasting effects on mental and physical health, including addiction and increased risk for overdose. Overcoming chronic Librium abuse may require treatment.

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a sedative typically prescribed to relieve anxiety and panic. Similar drugs include the benzodiazepines, Ativan (lorazepam) and Valium (diazepam), which can also treat anxiety.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Librium is not known to be effective for long-term use. The general recommendation for short-term use of Librium is between 2 to 4 weeks. Taking Librium for longer may lead to drug tolerance, which can cause lessened effects.

Abusing Librium can lead to consequences more harmful than tolerance, including addiction and overdose. While short-term dangers are a looming concern with Librium abuse, long-term effects can also occur due to changes Librium can make in the brain.

Librium Effects On The Body

Taking Librium for an extended period of time can have several physical effects, including impact on appetite and coordination. Abusing Librium can cause worsened side effects, as well as muscle weakness and spasms with prolonged use.

People who abuse Librium can also develop a tolerance to its effects much quicker. When the body adapts to a certain dose, the only way to continue experiencing effects may be to increase the amount taken.

Many people who become addicted feel driven to take greater amounts of Librum, or to find riskier ways to keep feeling its effects. Adjusting drug dosages on your own can be very dangerous. This can lead to severe dependence on Librium, and can increase risk for overdose.

Heavy or chronic Librium abuse can also overwhelm the liver, which is responsible for metabolizing the drug. This can lead to liver damage. Physical signs of liver damage can include yellowish skin or eyes (jaundice) and pain or swelling of the belly area.

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Librium Effects On The Mind

Many people who abuse Librium do so for its euphoric effects. High doses of Librium can cause an intense high, spreading a feeling of relaxation over the body and producing a sense of wellbeing. This effect can be comforting for people who are dealing with serious stress, mental illness, or trauma.

However, not all side effects of Librium are pleasant. Other side effects that can occur when taking Librium include:

  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • poor judgment
  • slurred speech
  • slowed reflexes
  • mood swings
  • hostile behavior

Chronic abuse of Librium can cause these effects to be more intense. It can also have lasting effects on certain cognitive functions, such as long-term memory.

Librium causes certain changes in the brain that can impact everything from appetite to a person’s sense of reality. In rarer cases, or instances of severe Librium abuse, the drug may cause symptoms of psychosis. This may include hallucinations, delusions, and extreme paranoia.

Other long-term effects of Librium on the brain can include:

  • increased anxiety or agitation
  • depression
  • disorientation
  • worsened confusion
  • sleeping problems
  • unusual behavior

Dangers Of Long-Term Librium Abuse

Librium can affect people in different ways depending on a person’s genetics, health condition, age, and other factors. These can similarly impact the amount of harm that can be posed by abusing Librium.

The longer a person abuses Librium, the more likely they are to experience harmful effects. Librum makes changes in the brain that, over time, can result in physical and psychological addiction. Becoming addicted to Librium can make it difficult for people to stop taking the drug on their own.

Chronic Librium abuse can also result in severe dependence. This is when the body is incapable of functioning normally without taking more of the drug.

In some cases, people may need to take several doses of Librium throughout the day to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This can have a serious impact a person’s quality of life and affect their ability to function at work, school, or in any other aspect of their life.

Additional dangers of Librium abuse can include:

  • increased risk for overdose
  • more severe withdrawal symptoms
  • confusion and disorientation
  • psychosis in the elderly (i.e. delusions, hallucinations)

Signs Of Librium Abuse

Librium abuse is a serious problem that can lead to addiction. When someone becomes addicted, treatment may be required to help a person detox from Librium and overcome their addiction.

Signs of Librium abuse and addiction include:

  • taking higher or more frequent doses than prescribed
  • crushing and snorting Librium tablets
  • smoking or injecting Librium into a vein
  • running out of prescriptions early
  • craving the drug
  • being unable to lower their dose or stop taking it
  • lack of interest in activities the person used to enjoy
  • mixing Librium with alcohol or other non-prescribed drugs
  • engaging in risky activities
  • lying about symptoms to get refilled prescriptions

Librium Withdrawal

Addiction to benzodiazepines like Librium can cause serious withdrawal effects. If you have taken Librium for more than three or four weeks, it may be dangerous to stop taking Librium all at once. This is especially true if you have been taking a high dose.

Detoxing from Librium often requires a gradual process. Typically, this involves tapering off Librium over an amount of time deemed appropriate by a doctor. Stopping Librium all at once may lead to respiratory failure, seizures, or in severe cases, death. These are the most serious symptoms of withdrawal, which can be triggered if someone attempts to stop using the drug too quickly.

Librium Detox Options

While some people may attempt to detox on their own, this is not recommended. Many people struggle to avoid relapse during the more severe stages of withdrawal, and symptoms can be difficult to manage without medical support. Some symptoms of Librium can also be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

For these reasons, a common recommendation for people overcoming substance abuse is to enter a medical detox program. This can provide a safe setting with professionals that can monitor for and treat severe symptoms within the acute stage of withdrawal.

Treatment For Librium Abuse And Addiction

Although detox can be an essential part of the treatment process, it does not provide complete treatment. People that have been struggling with Librium abuse often need inpatient treatment following detox to continue healing from their drug abuse.

Inpatient rehab programs provide a multi-dimensional type of care that can treat both mental and physical aspects of addiction. Within a rehab center, patients can receive personalized treatment that is able to address their specific needs. Common treatment services include individual counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and attending group therapy. Many programs may also offer treatment for other mental health or medical conditions.

Each person’s path towards recovery can look different. If you are concerned about you or a loved one’s Librium use, help is available.

Contact us today to learn more about the long-term effects of Librium abuse and how to find treatment.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

The Ochsner Journal - Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System-Mediated Effects

Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) - Benzodiazepines

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