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Chlordiazepoxide/Librium For Alcohol Detox

Chlordiazepoxide/Librium For Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detoxification is a physically and psychologically demanding process that involves slowly tapering off the dosage of alcohol over a period of time. As the body begins to rebalance and learn to function again without the presence of alcohol in the system it is common to experience withdrawal symptoms including excessive perspiration, anxiety and depression, vomiting and even seizures. [1]

For many people, the idea of subjecting themselves to a number of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms is an intimidating prospect. Thankfully, there are a number of medications that can help to reduce or alleviate many of the more uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as part of the detoxification process.

Chlordiazepoxide, commonly known as Librium, is often prescribed during the alcohol withdrawal stage as it can help with feelings of anxiety as well as body tremors. Librium is a benzodiazepine that has a sedative effect, causing feelings of relaxation which can help the individual get through the difficult process of detoxification. [2]

As Librium is potentially addictive it will only be prescribed on a short-term basis during this process, as the feelings of anxiety will diminish over time and the medication will no longer be required.

What are the symptoms of alcohol addiction?

As drinking alcohol on a regular basis is accepted and even encouraged within the majority of social circles, it can be difficult to recognise if you or a loved one has developed an addiction.

If you can relate to some of the below statements, you may be dealing with alcohol addiction. It is recommended that you seek treatment within a rehabilitation centre and undergo a medically assisted detoxification plan to begin your recovery journey.

Physical symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after going without alcohol for a period of time
  • Changes in weight, including weight gain and weight loss
  • Poor hygiene and lack of grooming
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Frequent headaches

Psychological symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

  • Intense cravings for alcohol
  • Drinking on a regular basis in order to relieve stress
  • Feelings of anxiety, depression and paranoia
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Becoming agitated and irritable

Behavioural symptoms of alcohol addiction include:

  • Becoming withdrawn and isolated
  • Drinking alcohol alone on a regular basis
  • Poor performance at work and school
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Drinking alcohol during working hours or first thing in the morning
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work and school
  • Being defensive and dishonest about alcohol consumption when challenged

How is Librium used during alcohol detox?

Librium is typically prescribed as part of a detoxification treatment plan to help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety that are associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Before a prescription can be obtained, the individual must first undergo an assessment to determine whether their physical and mental health are suited to this medication. Anyone with liver problems or a potential pregnancy should not be offered Librium.

Librium is commonly prescribed in a capsule form that comes in a range of colours depending on the dosage. 5mg of Librium comes in a green and yellow capsule, 10mg comes in green and black and the 25mg capsules are green and white.

A typical dosage of Librium during alcohol detoxification can range from 5mg to 100mg, taken once every few hours. In severe cases of withdrawal, patients may be prescribed up to 200mg but should be carefully monitored throughout the process due to the risk of experiencing side effects and addiction. In most instances, the patient will start on a low dosage of this medication which will be gradually increased as needed.

What are the side effects of Librium?

As with many other benzodiazepines, taking Librium for a period of time can result in a number of physical and psychological side effects. The majority of these are benign and should reduce over time, but others may be a sign that the dosage of this medication should be reduced or stopped entirely.

In most cases, the benefits of Librium far outweigh any potential side effects when used as part of the alcohol detoxification process.

Common side effects of Librium include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling drowsy, tired and lethargic
  • Digestive problems including constipation
  • Changes to menstrual cycles
  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin irritations including rashes and swelling

Rare side effects of Librium include:

  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Extreme confusion and disorientation
  • Severe anxiety or depression
  • Difficulty walking
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Visual, auditory or tactile hallucinations
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Muscle twitches

While the first group of common side effects are fairly typical and do not usually present any concerns, the second group of rare symptoms could indicate a potential issue. If you notice any of the rare side effects when taking Librium, speak to your doctor as soon as possible so that they can adjust your dosage and medication.

Can I take Librium while pregnant?

It is not recommended to take Librium while pregnant or breastfeeding, as some studies have shown that this substance can be passed from mother to baby while in vitro. However, if you have been taking Librium and have recently discovered that you are pregnant, you should speak to your doctor and avoid suddenly stopping your dosage as this could cause withdrawal symptoms.

Babies that are born from mothers who are taking Librium may experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. These are not usually dangerous and can be treated by medical professionals.

Common symptoms of Librium withdrawal in babies include:

  • Low body temperature
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Frequent crying and irritability
  • Low muscle tone

If you are pregnant and attempting to detox from alcohol, speak to your doctor about your medication options. They may be able to prescribe a medication that is suitable for pregnant women, or they may advise you to detox without the help of medication.

Librium use – what are the laws?

As a member of the benzodiazepine family, Librium is classified as a Class C controlled substance under UK law. This makes it illegal to obtain and use this medication without a current prescription as well as manufacturing and supplying without a licence.

If you are found guilty of the illegal possession of Librium you could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison and/or a potentially unlimited fine, and for the supply and manufacture of this substance, you could receive up to 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. [3]

This sentencing will be on your criminal record and may prevent you from finding employment in some sectors and travelling to certain countries in the future.

Even if the medication does not belong to you, you can still be charged if it is found in your home, car or personal possession. A number of factors will be taken into account when determining your sentence including the amount of Librium recovered, whether you intended to sell or manufacture the substance and your own personal criminal history.

Can I overdose on Librium?

When taking Librium as part of an alcohol detoxification plan under medical supervision, the risk of overdose is extremely low. However, taking more than the recommended dosage or mixing Librium with other substances can lead to life-threatening side effects.

As Librium is a sedative, it has the ability to depress the respiratory system and slow down the body. If too much of this medication is taken, the central nervous system including the heart and lungs may cease to function.

Common signs of a Librium overdose include:

  • Blue tinge to lips and fingernails
  • Jerky and uncoordinated movements
  • Memory loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Extreme drowsiness and confusion
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Seizures

It is important to follow medical advice when taking Librium and stick to the recommended dosage. It is not recommended to take this medication in any form other than as directed, as snorting or injecting Librium can increase the chances of overdose.

If you are concerned that you or someone you care about is suffering from a Librium overdose, call 999 immediately and seek medical treatment. You should report the dosage and types of substances ingested as accurately as possible to the paramedics in order for them to take appropriate action.

How can I access Librium?

As Librium has the potential to be addictive and also poses a risk of overdose, it is only possible to obtain this medication through a prescription.

Safe and effective alcohol detoxification should be performed under the care of medical professionals within a specialised rehabilitation centre. Therefore, you are more likely to be prescribed this medication if you enter a professional treatment programme for your alcohol addiction.

Along with a medically supervised detoxification and any required medication, you will also receive a range of therapy options and a personalised aftercare plan to increase the chances of long-term recovery and prevent relapse.

You do not have to wait to be referred to a rehabilitation centre by your GP or another medical professional. Here at OK Rehab, we have the experience, resources and empathy to help you start your recovery journey.

Contact us now for expert advice and guidance on the most suitable and effective treatment programmes to suit your lifestyle and budget – simply pick up the phone and speak to one of our friendly and non-judgmental advisors today.

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860472/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606320/

[3] https://www.gov.uk/penalties-drug-possession-dealing

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