Benzodiazepines come in two different classes: fast-acting and long-lasting. Those that work quickly can cause almost immediate changes in the people who take them, and they can be awfully addictive for people who abuse them, as the sensations they bring are closely tied to the moment the user takes in the drug. Traditionally, longer-lasting benzodiazepine drugs like Librium haven’t been associated with addiction, as they don’t tend to cause the same kind of immediate response. Unfortunately, some users have learned to abuse this drug, and they might need help in order to recover.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Librium was designed to assist people who feel anxious during the daytime. They need an extended period of treatment, so they can feel happy and productive from the moment the sun rises in the morning until the time it sets at night. When used appropriately, under the direction of a doctor, these drugs have the ability to provide intense relief. However, they’re also remarkably easy to use and abuse. People might take large amounts of pills all at once, for example, or they might crush and snort the drugs and force them to work just a little faster.
People who take Librium for a medical condition might feel simply soothed while on the medication. Those who take intensely high doses, however, might be targeting a very different type of feeling, and the drug is able to produce that sensation quite easily. In a study in Nature, for example, researchers found that benzodiazepines like Librium can entice the cells in the brain and spinal cord to tweak their usage of a chemical known as GABA. This element is part of the brain’s pleasure pathway, and the production or usage of GABA tends to fluctuate due to happy signals such as good food or physical pleasure. Tweaking GABA levels could allow people to feel euphoric and powerful, even in the absence of something positive in the environment. They’re hijacking the pleasure pathway, and it’s hard for them to predict what might happen as a result.
Experts know, however, that those who tweak these chemicals tend to experience a chain reaction of misery. The brain might produce fewer pleasure signals, for example, or receptors for pleasure might turn inward or just turn off. Normally produced low levels of chemicals might bring about no feeling of pleasure at all. Only drugs might make people feel happy, and an addiction quickly follows.
People who abuse Librium may want to curb their use, but the chemical changes their bodies have undergone can make sobriety hard to achieve.
For example, in a study in the journal Psychopharmacologia, researchers found that people who had taken Librium experienced a variety of terrible symptoms when they attempted to quit abruptly, including:
Some people even developed seizures in the days that followed their abrupt discontinuation of use. That’s a common risk of abrupt withdrawal from benzodiazepines, and it’s not unheard of for people to lose their lives in the process. Some people with a physical dependence like this may come to believe that they simply will never recover from their addictions, as terrible physical pain follows them with each attempt at sobriety.
In addition to enduring physical discomfort during withdrawal, people who are addicted to benzodiazepines can also experience serious physical problems due to their abuse. The drugs tend to cause slow breathing rates and reduced blood pressure readings and heart rates. High doses of the drugs can just put people to sleep, and they may not ever wake up again.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people who abuse Librium develop anxiety and nervousness, and they may become so uncomfortable and distressed that they lash out at the people around them with hostility and irritability. Those who combine Librium with other drugs like cocaine may become so upset, consumed by hallucinations, that they may get into fights or otherwise endure some kind of physical altercation.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) keeps a close eye on the physical problems people endure as a result of drug use, and the statistics regarding the abuse of benzodiazepines like Librium are startling. For example, SAMHSA reports that emergency room visits due to benzodiazepine abuse increased 41 percent between 1995 and 2002. Of those visits, nearly half were due to a suicide attempt. Statistics like this demonstrate just how prevalent the abuse of these drugs really is, and just how miserable people can become when they’re in the clutches of an addiction.
Words of Caution
Many families dealing with a Librium addiction want the abuse to stop now, and they may even hold interventions in which the person is told to stop the use at once or face dire consequences. In general, this isn’t the best approach to take in order to heal a Librium addiction, as sudden withdrawal can make people feel quite sick. Instead, it’s best to provide the person with access to a treatment program, so experts can supervise the withdrawal process and allow the person to achieve sobriety in a controlled manner, without physical distress. Then, therapy can be used to help people control their urge to abuse Librium in the future.
This is the kind of help we provide at Axis. We offer a comprehensive drug detox package, utilizing a variety of different techniques to soothe pain, and we follow up that care with an intensive residential program. Here, people are surrounded by the culture of healing, and they live with others who are also in recovery. Each day, therapy sessions, support group meetings, exercises and more are provided in order to help people learn, understand and grow, and we provide intensive transitional counseling that can allow people to move from our care into their own communities without losing the progress they’ve made in the fight against addiction. If you’d like to learn more about our quality treatment, including our affordable pricing options, please call.