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Chlordiazepoxide Withdrawal

Chlordiazepoxide withdrawal symptoms include abdominal pains, convulsions, tremors, vomiting, and sweating.

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Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is a benzodiazepine drug used primarily to treat anxiety (including anxiety before surgery) or to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. 1 Regular use of chlordiazepoxide can cause tolerance. The person’s system becomes desensitized to the effects of the drug, and they must take higher and higher doses to achieve the effects they want.

This pattern of use can lead to physical dependence, in which the brain and body adapt to the regular presence of the drug and begin to rely on it to function. People who have used the drug for a long time and become dependent may experience withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop using it or reduce the dose. 2

Chlordiazepoxide Withdrawal Symptoms

Chlordiazepoxide is a long-acting benzodiazepine, which means withdrawal symptoms may not peak for 4-7 days and can last up to 1-2 weeks. 3 People who have taken the drug for longer than 3-4 weeks are likely to develop withdrawal symptoms. 4

Chlordiazepoxide withdrawal symptoms include abdominal pains, convulsions, tremors, vomiting, and sweating. 2 Not every person going through chlordiazepoxide withdrawal will experience all these symptoms, however.

A medically assisted detoxification program can help to lessen the effects of chlordiazepoxide withdrawal, making the process safer and more comfortable. Instead of completely stopping use, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends gradually decreasing the dose or “tapering” off of the drug. 2 A physician in a detox program can help you taper off chlordiazepoxide as well as monitor you for any other issues during withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms may be more severe in people who have been taking high doses for a long period of time. 2 Further, it’s estimated that between 10–25% of chronic benzodiazepine users may experience “protracted withdrawal symptoms” that can last up to 12 months or longer. 5

Withdrawing From Chlordiazepoxide: Options for Help

For optimal safety, many people receive treatment for chlordiazepoxide withdrawal at a medically supervised treatment facility. These facilities include detox centers, inpatient rehab centers, or outpatient programs.

The type of facility that’s right for the person will depend on:

  • How long they’ve been taking chlordiazepoxide.
  • The dose they’ve been taking.
  • Whether they’ve been abusing chlordiazepoxide (e.g., taking an excess of a prescribed amount or using without a prescription).
  • Whether they’ve been abusing other drugs.
  • Whether the person has had drug or alcohol addiction problems in the past.

People who get treatment in a detox center or inpatient rehab center live at the facility, which offers a structured environment, prevents access to other substances, and limits discomfort and the possibility of serious complications, such as seizures.

Some luxury treatment centers offer a spa-like environment to increase the comfort of those in recovery. Complementary approaches such as massages and yoga may be used in conjunction with substance abuse counseling and therapy to prepare the user for a drug-free existence.

Withdrawing from chlordiazepoxide can be a slow process. The tapering off period depends largely on the size of the initial dose as well as the length of time the person has been taking the drug. It can sometimes take a few weeks for those who used light doses of the drug, to a few months for those who took heavier doses or used for a longer time period.

Detoxing, Addiction Treatment, Rehab, and Recovery

Detox programs help to manage the physical dependence to chlordiazepoxide. But the psychological dependence can linger after the detox ends. People who abused the drug should continue with some form of addiction treatment after detox.

Thoughts and behaviors consistent with chlordiazepoxide abuse and addiction include:

  • Taking doses higher than prescribed.
  • Believing that you need the drug to get through the day.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining the drug, using it, and recovering from its effects.
  • Neglecting social activities, family, friends, and hobbies in favor of drug use.
  • Feeling cravings to use.
  • Using despite medical or psychological problems that may be caused by your use of the drug or made worse by drug use.

Substance abuse treatment helps people develop coping skills to resist the compulsion to continue abusing drugs such as chlordiazepoxide. These skills include the recognition of drug cravings and triggers for drug use, and avoidance or successful handling of situations that may increase the anxiety that the drug use calmed.

Common varieties of addiction treatment include:

Counseling may also continue after release from an inpatient rehab treatment facility on an outpatient basis. Alcoholics can especially benefit from continued counseling after withdrawal treatment, as well as group therapy with support groups.

Users who were given a prescription for chlordiazepoxide to treat anxiety disorders may receive an alternative drug or non-pharmacologic management of their anxiety issues.

Chlordiazepoxide Information at a Glance
Medication Name, Costs Class of Medicine
Generic Name: Chlordiazepoxide
Cost/Price: $1 – $7 1
Used to Treat Addiction? Used during alcohol detox
Function or Use at Low Dose: mild sedative 2
Function or Use at High Dose: treatment of alcohol withdrawal 2
System: central nervous system (CNS) depressant/benzodiazepine
Form, Intake, and Dose Interactions and Complications
Drug Forms: 5 mg, 10 mg, 25 mg 1
Administration Routes: Oral
Dosage: Maximum 300 mg/day 2
Overdose Effects: respiratory depression, muscle weakness, drowsiness 1
Alcohol Interaction: increased depressant effects 3
Prescription Medications: increased depressant effects with other CNS depressants
Contraindications: in patients with known sensitivity to the drug 2
Effects and Adverse Reactions Substance Abuse
Short-Term: drowsiness, ataxia, nausea, constipation, libido changes, confusion 2
Long-Term: dependence and withdrawal 2
·Risk of Substance Abuse: Yes
Signs of Abuse: drowsiness, mood swings, tolerance, withdrawal, neglecting responsibilities and social activities in favor of drug use
Physiological Problem Signs and Symptoms Dependence and Addiction Issues
Withdrawal Syndrome Onset: Symptoms peak within 4-7 days and fade within 1-2 weeks. 5
Withdrawal Symptoms: convulsions, tremors, abdominal cramps, vomiting, sweating, dysphoria, insomnia 2
Tolerance: Users may develop tolerance 3
Cross Dependence: alcohol, barbiturates
Physical Dependence: Possible
Psychological Dependence: Possible
Legal Schedules and Ratings
Controlled Substances Act Rating: Schedule IV 2

Questions and Answers (FAQ)

How Long Does Chlordiazepoxide Withdrawal Last?

The average length of a chlordiazepoxide withdrawal timeline is anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks, though as mentioned above, some users may experience post-acute or protracted withdrawal symptoms that can last up to a year or longer. 3,5

The duration of symptoms depends on how much of the substance the person used and how long they took the drug, as well as factors such as individual metabolism.

Are There Any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

Self-detoxification from chlordiazepoxide is not recommended. Getting professional help for detox ensures that the person can get the relief they need from the uncomfortable effects of withdrawal.

Additionally, some of the effects of chlordiazepoxide withdrawal, such as seizures, can be dangerous and even fatal.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Chlordiazepoxide?

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines such as chlordiazepoxide can last from 4-14 days. 3 To research your options for detox methods and recovery programs, call 1-888-935-1318 or fill out the form on the right side of the page.