Chlordiazepoxide Addiction and Abuse

Chlordiazepoxide – marketed under the tradename Librium – is a sedative that is part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Even though it is generally legitimately prescribed for the treatment of insomnia or anxiety, as with any benzodiazepine you can still develop a physical dependence or addiction whilst using chlordiazepoxide.

Most people begin abusing chlordiazepoxide by gradually increasing the dose above their prescription or using it more frequently than they should in order to enjoy the drug’s pleasurable effects. Others combine chlordiazepoxide with other substances (such as alcohol) to enhance those effects. Either way, using chlordiazepoxide contrary to the prescription of your doctor is a bad idea and can lead to addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and even worse health complications.

The longer you abuse chlordiazepoxide, the worse your addiction and resulting withdrawal symptoms will be. This is especially so if your tolerance for the drug has greatly increased. Notably, people with underlying mental conditions are at greater risk of developing a chlordiazepoxide addiction.

Once addiction sets in, it becomes very difficult to quit without professional medical help. This is because the chemical structure of your brain – as well as your body – has adapted itself to functioning with chlordiazepoxide in your system. In the absence of the drug’s influence, your body will find it difficult to cope and function normally. The withdrawal process which can follow once you try to quit can be very uncomfortable. Therefore, it’s best if you receive a medically assisted detox in a specialised addiction facility.

What is Chlordiazepoxide?

Chlordiazepoxide is a benzodiazepine that can be found on the market under the brand name Librium, and illegally under a variety of psuedonyms. The drug is available in tablet form and is used for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and drug/alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The drug has a medium to long half-life and possesses anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, amnesic, sedative, hypnotic, and skeletal muscle relaxant properties. It was originally discovered in 1959 and was the first benzodiazepine to be synthesized.

History of Chlordiazepoxide Addiction

It was in 1963 that Chlordiazepoxide and other benzodiazepines were declared as medication with a high risk of addiction. Over the years, because of chlordiazepoxide’s potential for misuse, the drug has been frequently detected in urine samples provided by people who haven’t even been prescribed the medication.

Internationally, chlordiazepoxide is classified as a Schedule IV controlled drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, while it‘s classified as a Class C controlled substance in the UK. Both classifications are due to the high addiction potential of the drug and in order to control its abuse.

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Causes and Risk Factors for Chlordiazepoxide Addiction and Abuse

Some prominent factors that contribute to the development of chlordiazepoxide addiction include:

Genetics: your genetic makeup plays a key part in determining the development of addiction to substances like benzodiazepines. If you have a family history of abusing benzodiazepine or some of the other forms of addiction, the risk of you developing substance dependence is much higher.

Environmental: individuals who live in an environment which gives them greater access to benzodiazepines – or people who are frequently surrounded by others with an addiction – are more likely to engage in similar behaviours.

Risk factors that can lead to the development of a chlordiazepoxide addiction include:

  • Suffering from a mental health condition.
  • Using benzodiazepines for longer than prescribed or in higher doses than prescribed.
  • Self-medicating with chlordiazepoxide or other benzodiazepines.

Deadly Chlordiazepoxide Drug Interactions

Chlordiazepoxide is not a medication that should be combined with other substances without the explicit instruction of your doctor. This is because when chlordiazepoxide is consumed alongside other substances, a wide range of such can either increase its toxicity and render it poisonous, or heighten its potency and lead to an overdose.

Do not drink alcohol whilst taking chlordiazepoxide. Also, avoid combining chlordiazepoxide with cocaine, opioids, cold or allergy medicine, medicine for psychiatric disorders, sleeping pills, narcotic pain medicine, medicine for seizures or depression, and muscle relaxants. Before taking chlordiazepoxide with any of these drugs or any other substance, please inform your doctor in order to prevent a potentially deadly interaction.

What is Chlordiazepoxide Addiction?

Chlordiazepoxide is a medication that can lead to substance abuse, especially if used in a manner contrary to what has been prescribed by your doctor. Chronic use is especially dangerous, as it increases the risk of increased tolerance as well as addiction. Physical dependence or addiction is when your body has adapted to functioning under the influence of chlordiazepoxide and is unable to function normally in the absence of the drug.

Once addiction develops, you’ll likely be caught in a vicious cycle of compulsive substance abuse to stave off withdrawal symptoms, as well as to enjoy the desired effects of chlordiazepoxide. If you are addicted to chlordiazepoxide, there’s a high chance you’ll engage in anti-social behaviour in order to acquire more drugs to feed your habit. Withdrawal symptoms that occur once an addict fails to take a new dose of chlordiazepoxide can be quite severe and could motivate further drug-seeking behaviour to alleviate the symptoms.

How Chlordiazepoxide Addiction Starts

Chlordiazepoxide addiction can be caused by using the drug in higher doses or more frequently than recommended by your doctor. Also, combining the drug with alcohol, opioids, and other stimulants greatly increases the risk of developing an addiction.

The first indication of a developing chlordiazepoxide addiction is usually an increase in tolerance level. This indicates a need for higher ongoing doses of chlordiazepoxide to achieve the desired effect.

Even if chlordiazepoxide is used according to prescription, there is still a very high possibility of developing an addiction. This is why it’s generally advised that the drug be used for the shortest time period possible in order to avoid any complications.

How Chlordiazepoxide Affects the Mind and body

Chlordiazepoxide is used in clinical medicine as an anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, and sedative. It is mostly prescribed on a short-term basis to individuals with insomnia or severe anxiety that leads to serious distress.

Chlordiazepoxide functions by affecting your body’s release of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA is a brain neurotransmitter that can influence your internal system by causing a sedated or tranquilised effect, as well as inhibiting transmission of nerve signals. By increasing the effects of GABA on the brain, chlordiazepoxide will reduce the nerve signal transmissions and hyperactivity within the central nervous system. This will help put users of the drug at ease by causing a sedating effect and pleasurable sensations.

Short-Term Effects of Chlordiazepoxide on the Body

Short-term effects of the drug can include:

  • Anxiety-relief
  • Drowsiness
  • Feelings of well-being
  • Relaxation

These effects can be induced fairly quickly and can lead to abuse, as people rely on chlordiazepoxide for quick relief. Other abusers use the drug to achieve a sedating ‘high’.

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Long-Term Effects of Using Chlordiazepoxide

Chlordiazepoxide and other benzodiazepines shouldn’t be used long-term, as this can lead to physical dependence. Aside from this, other long-term effects of chronic abuse of chlordiazepoxide can include:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Loss of sex-drive
  • Social phobia
  • Agoraphobia
  • Addiction
  • Polydrug abuse (abusing multiple drugs simultaneously)
  • Increasing anxiety
  • Depression

Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Chlordiazepoxide Abuse and Addiction

Chlordiazepoxide addiction can lead to a variety of health complications and is best treated as soon as possible. The best way to spot chlordiazepoxide addiction before it fully takes hold is to know the warning signs/symptoms. They can include:

  • Increased tolerance to the drug.
  • Combining chlordiazepoxide with alcohol or other drugs to heighten its effect.
  • Experiencing strong cravings for chlordiazepoxide.
  • Inability to quit using chlordiazepoxide.
  • Failing to meet responsibilities at home, work, or school
  • Using chlordiazepoxide despite it causing physical, psychological and interpersonal problems.
  • Participating in risky activities whilst under the influence (such as driving).
  • Reducing social activities that don’t involve chlordiazepoxide.
  • Using more chlordiazepoxide for longer periods of time than prescribed or intended.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit.

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Chlordiazepoxide Abuse and Addiction

If you’ve already developed a physical dependence on chlordiazepoxide, you will more than likely begin to manifest the following side effects and symptoms of abuse:

  • Poor coordination
  • Excessive sweating
  • Issues with balance
  • Lethargy and drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Visual problems
  • Slowed or shallow breathing

Psychological Signs and Symptoms of Chlordiazepoxide Abuse and Addiction

Psychological signs of abuse and addiction can include:

  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Poor judgment
  • Hostility
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Issues with memory
  • Confusion
  • Dementia-like symptoms

Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may also experience a symptom known as delirium tremens (DT). This is often characterised by a sudden change in your mental state that leaves you disoriented and confused. DT can also be accompanied by extreme anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and decreased attention span.

Signs of Chlordiazepoxide Withdrawal and Overdose.

Going beyond the prescribed dose or frequency of usage can lead to an overdose with potentially fatal consequences. A chlordiazepoxide overdose can potentially be fatal, so if you suspect an ongoing overdose, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Signs that indicate a possible chlordiazepoxide overdose include:

  • Dizziness
  • Hypotension
  • Hypoventilation
  • Impaired balance
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Mental confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Somnolence (difficulty staying awake)
  • Coma

If you take too much chlordiazepoxide for longer than necessary, you put yourself at risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit or reduce your dose. Chlordiazepoxide withdrawal can lead to the manifestation of physical and psychological symptoms such as aggravated anxiety, psychosis, suicidal behaviour, seizures, and chest pains.

Social Impacts of Chlordiazepoxide

Aside from the health related dangers, substance abuse also negatively impacts your social relationships and leaves you vulnerable in a number of ways.
Long-term chlordiazepoxide abuse can impact the social aspect of your life in the following ways:

  • Impaired work or school performance
  • Excessive absences
  • Job loss
  • Engaging in criminal activities to finance drug use
  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Divorce
  • Loss of friends
  • Child neglect
  • Loss of finances
  • Physical injuries due to accidents
  • Legal problems
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Drug-seeking behaviour

Therapy, Treatment and Rehab for Chlordiazepoxide Abuse and Addiction

Because chlordiazepoxide withdrawal may be accompanied by seizures and delirium tremens (similar to what is experienced during alcohol withdrawal syndrome), the most effective and safest way to quit is via detox supervised by a medical professional in a specialised detox facility. Such a setting will ensure you are closely monitored by addiction specialists for the duration of your withdrawal symptoms. Professional treatment will significantly minimise any unpleasantness of the physical symptoms, as well as provide you emotional support until the process is completed.

A medically assisted detox will include gradually tapering your chlordiazepoxide dosage, whilst monitoring withdrawal symptoms. This will be performed in a safe and controlled environment, free of the triggers and stressors that normally lead you to abuse drugs. Any underlying conditions or co-occurring disorders will also be cared for during treatment.

The following can also be provided to facilitate your recovery:

  • Providing a low-stress environment where you can stay focused on long-term sobriety
  • Anti-seizure medication like carbamazepine or valproate to minimise symptoms
  • Antidepressants with sedative effects like trazodone or imipramine to minimise other symptoms

All the above can be combined with cognitive and behavioural therapies, to ensure you make a full recovery.

Keep in mind that detox is just the first step on the path to recovery. Ongoing treatment – either through an inpatient or outpatient programme after detox is completed – will help build the skills you need to be able to continue and maintain abstinence post-addiction treatment.

Depending on the severity of your Chlordiazepoxide addiction, treatment can be received through an inpatient or residential programme (for more severe cases), or via partial hospitalisation and other outpatient treatment programmes (for less severe cases).

Chlordiazepoxide Addiction Treatment Prices

The cost of treatment is often dependent on a variety of factors, such as the type of treatment programme, duration of treatment, type of treatment centre, and severity of your condition. For instance, inpatient programmes often cost more than outpatient ones. Also, a luxury inpatient facility or an executive one will definitely cost more than a regular inpatient programme. Therefore, be sure to verify the affordability of the treatment facility you prefer before signing up.

Staying off Chlordiazepoxide

Quitting Chlordiazepoxide is one thing, but staying off the drug long-term is an entirely different journey. In order to achieve long-term sobriety, you can take advantage of the following:

Individual Counselling: During individual counselling, you’ll receive one on one treatment from an addiction specialist, who will talk to you about your condition and help identify the root cause of your substance abuse. You’ll also be taught how to avoid the stressors and triggers that typically lead you to abuse chlordiazepoxide, as well as healthy ways to cope in the outside world without needing to abuse drugs.

Support Groups: This is a highly effective form of drug rehabilitation that will provide help and support through group therapy. You’ll attend sessions with people who are going through exactly the same thing and every attendee can help one another stay focused and committed to sobriety. An example of support groups are Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programmes. There are also non 12-step programmes for people who don’t wish to accept their life is controlled by a higher power.

Family Therapy: Family is a very important support system for any recovering addict. However, in order for family to be able to help you stay clean long-term, it‘s important they – or other supportive loved ones – receive the necessary training on how to effectively support you and help you remain chlordiazepoxide abuse-free.

FAQs

What are the Medical Uses of Chlordiazepoxide?

Chlordiazepoxide is prescribed as short-term medication for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and drug/alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

What is Chlordiazepoxide Abuse?

Chlordiazepoxide abuse is the recreational use of the drug, and using it in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed to enhance its enjoyable effects.

Chlordiazepoxide abuse can also involve combining it with other substances to intensify its pleasurable effects.

Is Chlordiazepoxide Addictive?

Yes, As a benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide has highly addictive properties.

Does Chlordiazepoxide Show up in Urine Tests?

Yes, it does.

Who Should not Take Chlordiazepoxide?

Chlordiazepoxide shouldn’t be taken by nursing mothers or pregnant women, as it can cause defects in an unborn child. Also, if you are allergic to chlordiazepoxide, you shouldn’t be using the drug at all. If you have breathing problems, porphyria, kidney or liver disease – or a history of alcohol or drug abuse – you very likely shouldn’t be using chlordiazepoxide.

What is Chlordiazepoxide Addiction and Treatment?

Chlordiazepoxide addiction occurs when your body has developed substance dependence and requires frequent doses of the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms taking hold. Once chlordiazepoxide addiction has developed, the best way to treat the condition is through a medically assisted detox to care for the physical aspects of addiction, and rehabilitation to care for the psychological aspects of addiction. Treatment can be provided in either an outpatient or inpatient facility, depending on the severity of addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

How Long does it Take to Become Addicted to Chlordiazepoxide?

The use of chlordiazepoxide should never be prescribed for longer than two to four weeks. This is because using it for longer than this can lead to physical dependence and eventually addiction.

What is the Chlordiazepoxide ‘High’ Like?

The ‘high’ caused by Chlordiazepoxide abuse is similar to that experienced during alcohol intoxication. The drug induces an altered mental state, reduces anxiety and inhibitions, impairs judgment and causes relaxation. It takes about 24 to 48 hours for a chlordiazepoxide ‘high’ to reach its peak.

Do Controlling Parents Increase the Risk of Addiction?

Controlling parenting has been linked to anxiety, aggressive behaviour, depression, loneliness, and chronic stress in children – all of which are individual risk factors for addiction.

Is Chlordiazepoxide just a Harmless Drug?

Chlordiazepoxide has many advantages when properly prescribed and administered for clinical use, but it can also lead to a variety of health risks if improperly used, including:

  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Coordination problems
  • Weakness
  • Uncontrolled movements of the eyes
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Slowed breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Risk of addiction

How is Chlordiazepoxide Legally Classified?

Internationally, Chlordiazepoxide is classified as a Schedule IV controlled drug under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances. In the UK, it is classified as a Class C drug.

Are there Dangers of Mixing Chlordiazepoxide?

Mixing chlordiazepoxide with substances such as alcohol, opioids, or other stimulants and depressants can lead to a fatal overdose. Mixing also leads to increased tolerance and can heighten the toxicity of chlordiazepoxide, thus rendering it poisonous.

What are the Dangers of Overdosing?

The greatest danger of overdosing on chlordiazepoxide is the possibility of death. The following side effects can also occur:

  • Somnolence (difficulty staying awake)
  • Mental confusion
  • Hypotension
  • Hypoventilation
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired balance
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coma
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