Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is commonly used for its ability to induce sedation and feelings of relaxation. It is frequently used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Alcohol also has sedating, depressant effects, and as such, using Librium and alcohol in combination can be risky. Drinking while taking Librium may cause breathing problems and increase the risk of other severe, adverse consequences such as overdose.
Using Librium with other intoxicating substances such as alcohol that haven’t been approved by a licensed health provider is ill-advised. It can lead to severe side effects, including breathing problems and memory impairment. It can also increase the risk of an overdose related to one or both substances.
Moreover, abusing Librium for reasons other than prescribed, and mixing it with alcohol is a severe problem. If you or someone you love is using Librium in conjunction with alcohol, treatment for polysubstance abuse may be prudent.
What Is Librium?
Librium, a benzodiazepine or “benzo,” was first developed in 1955 and was the first drug of its class to be introduced to the market in 1960. Since its development, many other prescription anti-anxiety medications have appeared, including other benzos, such as Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin.
A principal function of Librium is to affect GABA, a chemical in the brain responsible for inhibiting activity. As with all benzos, Librium enhances the effects of GABA, which can slow certain functions regulated by the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in Librium’s sedative effects. Librium can also boost appetite and slow breathing and heart rates.
Other potential side effects of Librium include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Memory impairments
The Food and Drug Administration approves Librium to treat anxiety and panic disorders and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Off-label uses include muscle relaxation and for the treatment of seizures or insomnia.
Effects and Dangers of Librium and Alcohol
Like Librium, alcohol can also induce feelings of calm and relaxation. Combining the two can intensify these and other effects, cause extreme drowsiness and dizziness, difficulty breathing, and unconsciousness.
Other effects of using Librium and alcohol include impaired motor skills, strange or impulsive behavior, and an increased risk of overdose, coma, and death. The combined impact of Librium and alcohol on the brain and body can rapidly cause life-threatening symptoms, particularly when either is used in excessive amounts.
In the short-term, the increased risk of overdose is probably the most worrisome danger. However, some other outcomes, such as liver damage, can also occur from chronic alcohol and Librium misuse.
Increased Risk For Overdose
Abusing Librium by ingesting large or multiple doses can result in an overdose, which may be much more likely when Librium is crushed, chewed, smoked, snorted, or injected.
Mixing Librium and alcohol can induce an overdose more rapidly than when Librium is taken independently. This can have dangerous effects on breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. Slurred speech, hallucinations, and coma can also occur.
Of note, Librium overdose is unlikely to be lethal on its own. Combining it with alcohol, however, an overdose may cause more severe complications, up to and including brain damage or death.
Liver damage is a well-known and often predictable consequence of chronic alcohol abuse. The amount of damage can be anywhere from mild to severe, depending on several factors. Late-stage liver disease related to alcohol abuse can be permanent, and in extreme cases, may require a liver transplant.
Although uncommon, Librium abuse also has the potential to cause liver damage. Combining it with alcohol may increase the risk of experiencing toxic effects.
Is Librium Safe for Alcohol Withdrawal?
Many medical detox programs for substance abuse include using certain medicines to ease severe withdrawal symptoms. As a CNS depressant, Librium has been clinically tested for its effectiveness in relieving extreme panic, agitation, and tremors during alcohol withdrawal.
While short-term use of Librium for alcohol detox may be relatively safe, discretion is advised. Experts advise it to be used under careful supervision, as individuals with a history of substance abuse may be more likely to develop a dependence on Librium.
Anxiety and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse commonly co-exists with mental health conditions such as anxiety. A key reason is related to the sedating and rewarding effects of substances like Librium and alcohol. Many individuals who abuse benzos and alcohol use these substances to dull feelings of anxiety, panic or to avoid recalling memories related to previous trauma.
Over time, the abuse of Librium and alcohol can become habit-forming. That is, the brain and body can develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects, requiring the individual to intake increasingly higher amounts of either substance. Taking more of a drug than directed or drinking excessively can result in tolerance much more rapidly. It can also cause chemical dependence and psycho-emotional addiction.
People affected by both anxiety and substance abuse will likely garner the most benefit from dual-diagnosis treatment that addresses comorbid disorders and helps people find healthier ways of managing acute or chronic anxiety.
Librium and Alcohol Detox
Most individuals who abuse alcohol and Librium will need to undergo some form of medical detox. When a person’s brain and body becomes dependent on a substance, discontinuing or reducing use may lead to highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Both alcohol and Librium can result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped abruptly, or “cold turkey,” including seizures and respiratory arrest. Entering a medical detox program can alleviate the burden of managing symptoms alone and preventing potentially lethal consequences.
Medically-supervised detox involves around-the-clock supervision within a safe, supportive environment. During this time, medical professionals can monitor and address severe symptoms as appropriate. They all keep individuals hydrated and nourished to promote comfort and health further.
A complex issue, such as substance abuse and addiction, requires more than a simple solution. Residential treatment programs can provide multifaceted care to address all aspects of substance abuse and mental health.
Many individuals en route to recover experience fear and are unsure of their ability to stay sober after detox. Drug and alcohol cravings can be intense in early sobriety and challenging to manage without substantial, long-term support.
Many rehab programs aim to help individuals learn to manage triggers and teach life skills to promote sobriety. The use of certain prescription medications can also be beneficial for relieving cravings and treating co-occurring anxiety or depression.
Getting Professional Help for Librium and Alcoholism
An addiction to Librium and alcohol can be difficult to surmount, but you don’t have to face it alone. Substance abuse programs, such as those offered by Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery, can provide people with the structure, tools, and support they need to confront and overcome addiction effectively.
Our substance abuse treatment centers are licensed and specialized and feature a comprehensive, individualized approach intended to address all aspects of a person’s health and well-being. Services we offer include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual/family counseling
- 12-step group support
- Health and wellness education
- Substance abuse education
- Art and music therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Aftercare planning