Chlordiazepoxide Addiction and Abuse
Chlordiazepoxide is a benzodiazepine medication with strong sedative, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties. These properties make it highly effective for short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, pre-operative anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Marketed under the name Librium, chlordiazepoxide is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the US, and it is also one of the most frequently abused; therefore, causing the likelihood of chlordiazepoxide addiction and abuse to increase.
When taken for four weeks or less, chlordiazepoxide is relatively safe and benign. Tolerance swiftly develops if the medication is taken for more than a few weeks, leaving patients severely addicted and plagued by incredibly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop taking it.
Street Names for Chlordiazepoxide
Common street names for Chlordiazepoxide include:
- Blue bombs
- Nerve pills
Chlordiazepoxide is a long acting benzodiazepine medication labelled as a Schedule IV drug. Drugs in this classification are considered to be relatively safe, with a low potential for abuse. It is noted that this classification is accurate when chlordiazepoxide is taken for no more than four weeks, which includes a weaning period as the drug is titrated to taper off usage.
Chlordiazepoxide and other benzodiazepines are classified as central nervous system depressants. They work by enhancing the efforts of GABA neurotransmitter receptors, which slows nerve responses in the brain. This produces a calming, relaxing sensation that can produce feelings of euphoria.
History and Trends in Chlordiazepoxide Addiction and Abuse
Chlordiazepoxide was the first benzodiazepine ever developed. It was synthesized by Leo Sternbach in the 1950s, and introduced to the world under the brand name Librium in 1960. Librium was thought to be the ideal medication to take the place of barbiturates, which were known to be addictive and have some concerning side-effects. By the 1970s, Librium was one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world, and its addictive properties began to become apparent.
The CDC reports that prescriptions for Librium and other benzodiazepines are still on the rise. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults filling prescriptions for these drugs increased 67% from 8.1 million to 13.5 million. The total quantity of benzodiazepines has more than tripled, as patients are taking higher doses of the medications than in past years.
Side effects of Chlordiazepoxide Addiction and Abuse
When chlordiazepoxide is taken as directed, it produces feelings of calmness and relaxation and is generally well tolerated with only a few mild side effects. The side effects increase in severity and number when chlordiazepoxide is taken for longer periods of time, because the drug builds up in users’ systems. The side effects produced by short-term usage of Librium are relatively mild, and generally well-tolerated. These side effects include:
- Muscle pain
- Altered vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry mouth
- Impaired coordination
- Sleep disturbances
- Irregular menstrual periods
Because chlordiazepoxide has an extremely long half-life that can extend up to 30 hours, patients should be carefully monitored to prevent overdose from the medication lingering in their system. This build-up of medication produces long-term side effects of over-sedation, which include:
- Impaired Thinking
- Memory loss
- Lack of judgement
- Slurred speech
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination
Signs of Chlordiazepoxide Addiction and Abuse
Tolerance develops swiftly with Chlordiazepoxide, with patients needing to take more of the medication to achieve the same effects within weeks of taking their first dose. Once that occurs, users quickly become dependent on the medication and addiction soon follows. Chlordiazepoxide is frequently abused in conjunction with other intoxicating substances, particularly opioids and alcohol. The signs of Chlordiazepoxide addiction and abuse become obvious as the addicted individual displays the following changes in behavior:
- Social phobias
- Decreased libido
- Withdrawal from activities and relationships
- Persistence in drug use despite negative consequences
- Risky, antisocial behavior
Withdrawal symptoms of Chlordiazepoxide
Withdrawal symptoms strike Chlordiazepoxide addicts more slowly than with other benzodiazepines, because of the long-lasting action of the medication. Approximately 6 to 30 hours after their last dose, Chlordiazepoxide addicts will experience these withdrawal symptoms:
- Rebound anxiety
- Severe muscle cramps
- Convulsions, seizures
- Hypersensitivity to stimuli
- Loss of appetite
Treatment for Chlordiazepoxide addiction
Chlordiazepoxide addiction can be difficult to overcome, as some individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms for several months. Addicted individuals should never try to quit taking Chlordiazepoxide on their own.
Treatment for Chlordiazepoxide addiction should begin with medically supervised detox, where trained personnel can administer supportive services and gradually taper users off the medication. Once the acute phase of detox is passed, treatment at an inpatient addiction rehab center is recommended where patients receive 24-hour care.
White Sands Tampa will employ cognitive therapy, group therapy, and relapse prevention strategies to give addicted individuals the best chance at long-term recovery success from Chlordiazepoxide addiction. Call us today at 1-877-640-7820.