Table of Contents
Easing Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Safely
Both alcohol addiction and alcohol withdrawal are dangerous conditions with potentially fatal consequences. Untreated alcoholism will progress relentlessly until it manages to destroy physical and mental health. However, when beginning the journey of recovery to overcome alcoholism, alcohol detox can present serious health risks. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a severe cluster of symptoms that can emerge unexpectedly during alcohol detox, culminating in the life-threatening delirium tremens (DTs). For this reason, when attempting to stop drinking individuals should always accomplish this first step of recovery in a medically supervised detox program.
When researching alcohol detoxification, one may wonder, “What is Librium alcohol withdrawal?” as it appears in materials regarding detox. During alcohol detox and withdrawal, benzodiazepines are used to assist in aiding the individual as they progress through the stages of detoxification, and Librium is one of these benzo options. Librium is often used as the preferred benzodiazepine because of its long half-life, which allows it to taper naturally.
What to Expect in Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal
To fully understand what is Librium in alcohol withdrawal and how detox will unfold, it is helpful to have a general knowledge of the alcohol detox process. Alcohol detox is never to be taken lightly. No one with an established history of heavy alcohol consumption should attempt to stop drinking without medical support, as the result can be fatal. People are generally unaware of just how dangerous alcohol detox can be. Trained detox professionals are trained to intervene as withdrawal symptoms warrant the need for medications.
As the individual passes through the stages of detox their vital signs will be followed and closely recorded. This is because, as the body attempts to expel the remnants of the toxins related to ethyl alcohol and stabilize it will produce dramatic changes in respiratory rate, heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. The detox technicians will respond accordingly, providing the medications that can help ease the severity of these symptoms and keep the body stable. Benzodiazepines are part of this treatment intervention.
What is Librium in Alcohol Withdrawal
During alcohol detox a substitution drug is provided to ease the body’s response to the absence of alcohol. These drugs are in the benzodiazepine family of sedatives, such as Ativan, Valium, and Librium. Librium is frequently accessed to aid withdrawal symptoms in alcohol detox. Librium helps ease symptoms of agitation, anxiety, tremors, vomiting, headache, insomnia, and helps prevent seizures from occurring during detox.
During the detox process, Librium will be prescribed in dosages according to the stage of detox. For example, initially the dosages may be 100 mg three times during the first day or two, or 50 milligrams four times a day. In some cases, the patient is “front-loaded” with a dosing of 300 milligrams until sedation is achieved, then the dose reduced to 50 milligrams very 4-6 hours as needed. Older patients, however, would receive much lower dosing of Librium, possibly just a total of 20 milligrams per day, in order to reduce the risk of over-sedation.
Alcohol Detox Timeline
The alcohol withdrawal symptoms will commence within 8 hours of the last drink. Generally, the early phase of detox involves emerging symptoms including:
- Hand tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
The second phase of detox, days 2-3 involves the peaking of withdrawal symptoms, and may also present serious health risks caused by the DTs. The symptoms during this middle phase include:
- Mental confusion
- Heart palpitations
- Increased heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Alcohol cravings
The final phase of detox, days 5-7, sees the symptoms beginning to subside. Residual psychological symptoms may linger for up to a couple of weeks, including depression and anxiety.
Comprehensive Treatment for Alcohol Dependency
Although completing alcohol detoxification is a huge step taken to launch the recovery journey, detox alone is never going to result in sustained sobriety. Detox may rid the body of the alcohol, but the mind is still wired to expect the drug, to crave the drug, and to repeat known behavioral patterns that are deeply entrenched regarding drinking habits. Triggers that may have contributed to the development of the alcohol dependency have yet to be dealt with, new coping skills have yet to be learned. In essence, to walk away after detox and expect to remain sober is simply nonsensical. It will not happen.
After detox the individual will begin a lengthy process of treating the disease of addiction. There are a wide variety of treatment programs available with specialties and various services. Rehabs fall into two primary categories, outpatient or inpatient. The outpatient option allows for more flexibility and lower costs, however outpatient rehab is not recommended for an individual with a dual diagnosis (the coexistence of a mental health disorder) or for someone with a lengthy history of heavy alcohol abuse. The inpatient rehab offers extended stays where the individual will reside in the rehab center and receive 24-hour support.
Both types of rehabs have core treatment elements, including:
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Relapse prevention planning
- 12-step or non 12-step recovery meetings and programming
- Addiction education
- Life skills classes
- Recovery skills classes
- Medication management
Many rehabs now incorporate holistic and experiential activities, nutrition and exercise into their treatment milieu as well.
Following the rehab program, individuals are encouraged to include ongoing continuing care services to further reinforce recovery skills and sobriety. These include sober living housing, regular outpatient counseling, and participation in a recovery community.
Important Information about Alcohol Detox
The Treatment Specialist is a reliable, free resource for materials related to addiction and recovery, providing assistance for those needing guidance toward treatment. When someone is asking, “What is Librium in alcohol withdrawal?” they can find the answers to that question and so much more regarding alcohol recovery and treatment right here at The Treatment Specialist. If you or a loved one is in need of a solid source of information and guidance, please contact a Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.