Detox Alone with Librium, risks?

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hey, I recently saw my doctor in regards to being dependent on alcohol and wanting to stop, I'd heard not to stop without seeing the doctor first. My consumption is usually evenings (or days at weekends), maybe 150-180 units a week on average but it really varies and occassionally the day off usually due to a hang over or wanting to try and take a break.

The doctor has perscribed Librium 5mg and given me a plan which starts taking 3 in the morning, lunch, 'tea' and night time and over a period of 12 days reducing until on that last day I take one just at night. I had told him my family were going to support me and supervise me.

Afterwards my family did not want to do this due to their own reasons which means I'll be alone and unsupervised when doing the detox (They said they will visit often). I really want to go through with this but was hoping to get a second opinion on any risks to doing this alone - I can't say I've experienced withdrawel to any severe degree, no shakes etc but I haven't stopped for more than 2 days in the past.

Thanks in advance!

1 like, 25 replies

25 Replies

  • Posted


    I quit on my own, I have no family here so lots of phone calls texting and when I did start to get worried I went to the doctor. It can be done but know the warning signs and dont ignore them. Good luck to you and please keep us posted.

    If you should have something happen your not sure about ask on here there are so many people with alot of knowledge :}

    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply Sue, I can see this is a good community to get help, advice and encouragement. I'll keep you all updated once I start treatment smile
  • Posted

    Hi. It's good you've found a good doctor who wants to help. I think you should call him and tell him before you do it alone. Best be safe, he may advice hospital to do it. I've had Librium when in hospital and in rehab and it really makes the detox more comfortable. You sleep a lot arent full of anxiety. Well done for taking that first step. I'm now 3 months sober for first time and life is good..
    • Posted

      Thanks Paper fairy and congratulations on your 3 months sobriety, I am excited for the time I can say honestly that I haven't had anything to drink for a month. I'm hoping (due to what PaulJTurner1964 has said below) to have somebody with me for the first few days at least. Cheers smile
  • Posted

    Stephen, there are risks with doing a detox unsupported and I would urge you to do the following (which I insist on when I treat my own clients).

    Have a supervisor from the family or a friend who can stay with you for the first few days. There are a number of issues:

    1. The Librium is likely to make you drowsy and not fully with it at times. You should not climb any ladders, stand on a chair, go out alone (because you could walk into a road and not realise a car is coming) and be careful on the stairs.

    2. The Librium can lower your blood pressure and the doses you have been prescribed are high. I insist that the supervisor checks the blood pressure and pulse (you can get a meter from the chemist for about £15) before every dose and calls me to discuss that before giving the medication.

    3. You can suffer nausea and vomiting during the early part of the detox. What happens if you take your Librium and then vomit a few minutes later, you don't know how much has been absorbed and whether you should retake the medication.

    4. Although 15mg four times a day is normally sufficient, there are occasions where that is not the case and more is required. How can you determine what is safe to take? If you take less than you need, you will suffer withdrawal symptoms which are at least as dangerous as the medication.

    5. What happens if you have a seizure and nobody is there to help you?

    I am sorry to talk in this way because you clearly have the motivation to do something about your drinking. I hope that you can maybe show this message to a relative who will agree to be there with you (which is not exactly ideal, with nobody suitably qualified on the end of the phone, but way better than you doing it totally alone).

    I am constantly appalled by the risks that are taken by clinicans, with people's lives. We would never give a Librium prescription to a person without their 'supervisor' signing an agreement to be there with them.

    • Posted

      What I meant when I said that 'I insist that...' was in relation to my own clients.
    • Posted

      Hi Paul, I had seen your other messages when I was doing my own research and was hoping you might reply, good to speak with you it seems you're doing good things for many people in this situation.

      Thanks for outlining the risks, I'm going to read over them a few times and I think having somebody stay with me for the first 3 days or so might be best so I might need to make some calls first. I ust wanted to give you my Doctor's plan for the Librium.

      Going from day one I'll do Morning - Lunch - Dinner - Night

      1] 3 - 3 - 3 - 3

      2] 3 - 3 - 2 - 3

      3] 3 - 2 - 2 - 3 

      4] 2 - 2 - 2 - 3

      5] 2 - 2 - 2 - 2

      6] 2 - 2 - 1 - 2

      7] 2 - 1 - 1 - 2

      8] 1 - 1 - 1 - 2

      9] 1 - 1 - 1 - 1

      10] 1 - 1 - 0 - 1

      11] 1 - 0 - 0 - 1

      12] 0 - 0 - 0 - 1

      My blood pressure was high, I only saw the second lower number which was a 95. I asked my Doctor about it but he insists we deal with the alcohol first which should reduce my blood pressure.

      Kind Regards

    • Posted

      That looks like a pretty standard reducing regime for Librium. A bit longer than I would normally do, as I try to complete it within 7 days where possible but there are some clients who take longer than 7 days.

      I can't advise you personally, in relation to it as I haven't seen you, physically examined you or obtained your full medical history as your GP will have done.

      Good to see that you GP at least recognises that the doses need to be higher than 5mg three times a day. You would be amazed how many GPs prescibe that, think it should be sufficient and then question their patient's attitude if they start drinking to deal with the inevitable withdrawal symptoms.

    • Posted

      Hey Paul

      I'm afraid I cannot get anybody to supervise me, I did try and call people, I have to do alone.My parents will visit through the day, I plan to live downstairs, sleep on the sofa and avoid stairs. Do you think that will be okay?

      Kind Regards


    • Posted

      It is impossible for me to say yes to that Stephen. People DO do it and there are many GPs who dish out Librium to people who are not supervised. I, personally, think it is risky and, as a registered nurse, cannot advise you to do it without support.

      You should definitely buy a blood pressure monitor from your local chemist, which will cost you about £15. You can easily do your own blood pressure and pulse with one of these. Check them before you take the first dose of Librium and, if there is any big variation from those baseline measurements, call someone for medical advice.

      I hope you understand why I can't give you the answer that you probably wanted.

  • Posted

    Hey guys, I just wanted to update you on the situation. Much to my surprise the dosage of Librium I have been taking didn't have too much of a sedative effect and I've found especially now it's day 4 I am able to function pretty normally.

    It feels good to be 4 days clean, the only issue I've been experiencing is feeling bad possibly depressed from time to time but that may be due events going on in life (such as communication from an ex-girlfriend I'm trying to limit). I guess it doesn't help the only human contact I've had for over a week has been 10 minutes with my parents.

    Anyhow I can get through that and cheer myself up when the time comes, I feel much better than expected and I'm happy about my current progress.


    • Posted

      Good for you .... keep it up you can make it through this smile

      I live on my own, no family in the same city... so I just go to any store and look around, might sound kind of funny but I find it helps just to be around people

    • Posted

      Thanks again Sue. I checked out your original post 2 months ago and congratulations on quitting, hearing from people who have done it is very encouraging to me smile

      Unfortunately my bank card has been cancelled and I am waiting for a new one to arrive, maybe once it does I might go to the supermarket rather than ordering online.

    • Posted

      When I go to stores I dont buy.... its just to be around people
    • Posted

      Thanks so much guys, it has now officially been a week and I've also attended my first AA meeting which has provided additional support and inspiration.

      I can honestly say I feel really good at this point, my friends and family have noticed a difference in my personality, my confidence has increased dramatically and my anxiety seems to be completely gone.

      An example of this would be I didn't like being around people, I couldn't speak around people or on trains and would say as little as possible, I wouldn't feel comfortable telling somebody what I had for lunch if there were strangers around. I did spend the day out today with a friend, all of these problems just didn't exist, I had more fun.

    • Posted

      Wow, That is a great story stephen.  Proof that alcohol was the problem that your life is turning around without drinking.  Makes me not want to drink when I hear such progress.
    • Posted

      Hi candis, I'm glad to hear that you feel that way. I know I'm not qualified to say much as I've only been sober for 7 days (though tried many times in the past). I found the only way to start and quit was to admit honestly with myself that I was an alcoholic and it was hurting me and it was hurting those who cared about me.

      To poorly quote something somebody said to me recently which sticks with me (In regards to alcohol abuse) "It will take your judgement, opportunities, friends, family, relationship, employment and health until ultimately when there is nothing left to take, it will take your life."

      I don't know what your situation is or how you view it, but I do hope if you do have an issue you're able to make the steps to fix it as only you can do it. And if that is the case obviously see your doctor first and speak with people like Paul who I think has a great track record in helping people with this issue.

      The only qualification I have to say anything about this is my experience drinking over the years and my recent experience in stopping, it's entirely possible I can relapse but I would hope that never happens.

      Good luck and apologies for the long unwarranted message.

    • Posted

      Sorry I should say, I don't mean to assume you have any alcohol problem, I realise people come onto these forums for all sorts of reasons, so my apologies if this was a misunderstanding!

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