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Librium Addiction

Librium (chlordiazepoxide) is a powerful sedative/hypnotic used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It is sometimes used in the treatment of alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms.

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Librium, like all benzodiazepines, has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

What Is Librium?

Quick Answer

Librium is a discontinued brand name for the benzodiazepine chlordiazepoxide. FDA documents suggest it’s safer than other drugs in its class.[1] But it’s still associated with addiction and abuse. 

Generic forms of Librium treat anxiety and acute alcohol withdrawal. People feeling anxious before surgery may get doses of chlordiazepoxide too. 

The proper dosage of Librium is determined by an individual’s age, overall health, symptoms, and reaction to the drug itself. It is important to follow prescription guidelines when taking Librium and other benzodiazepine drugs. Addiction becomes likely when the drug is abused.

Common street names for Librium tablets include the following:

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  • Downers 
  • Tranqs
  • Bennies 
  • Benzos 
  • Chill pills 
  • Sleeping pills

Quick Facts About Librium

Key Facts

  • Librium is no longer available in the U.S. Its generic form, chlordiazepoxide, can still be prescribed.
  • About 30.6 million American adults abuse benzodiazepines like Librium every year.[2]
  • Librium withdrawal symptoms can be serious and include seizures. A tapered dose is the safest way to get sober.[1]
  • In 2015, about 7% of doctor visits ended with a prescription for benzodiazepines like Librium.[3]
  • Librium has a long half-life of up to 48 hours.[1] It will stay in your system for an extended period.

Librium Statistics

  • Librium was synthesized and developed in 1956, and it was approved for patient use in 1960.[4]
  • Mylan, Librium’s producer, stopped making brand-name formulations of the drug in early 2021.[5]
  • Librium often appears on drug shortage lists, as no other companies have stepped up to take over the brand.[5]

Why Is Librium Typically Prescribed?

The FDA approved chlordiazepoxide to treat anxiety disorders, anxious feelings before surgery, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Doctors also use the drug to help people overcome catatonia.[4]

How Addictive Is Librium?

Librium is a Schedule IV drug per the U.S. Department of Justice.[6] Drugs in this class have a lower abuse potential than painkillers and narcotics. But they can cause addiction when they’re used at high doses for long periods. 

While there isn’t a singular cause of benzo addiction, various factors contribute to its formation. Benzodiazepines change the brain’s neurochemistry, which causes tolerance to build up over time. Individuals can become both physically and mentally addicted to Librium and other benzodiazepine drugs.

“There is a lot of debate on the use of benzodiazepines in the medical community. Some support the use due to immediate benefits and some don’t due to addiction, tolerance, withdrawal, risk of cognitive decline, falls, etc. Conflicting studies make it even harder to make the right decision at the time when patients are seen in the clinics.”[7]

Symptoms of Librium Addiction 

If you or someone you know is addicted to chlordiazepoxide, you’ll likely notice some physical and behavioral changes. Recognizing these issues is important. When you see them, you can offer help to someone in need. 

Physical Behavioral Psychological 
DizzinessIrregular sleep patterns Irritability 
NauseaFinancial problemsDepression 
Constipation Drug-seeking behavior Anxiety 
SedationDoctor shopping Mood swings 
Lack of coordination Stealing prescriptions Compulsive behavior 
Slurred speech Forging prescriptions Apathy 
Sources: [1,4]

Potential Signs of Librium Addiction

The following signs of a potential Librium addiction include:

  • Doctor shopping to obtain more Chlordiazepoxide
  • Using illegal methods to locate and purchase Librium
  • Lying to friends, family, and loved ones about Librium abuse
  • Expressing a desire to quit taking the substance but being unable to do so
  • Experiencing financial difficulties due to the cost of locating Librium
  • Physical health issues due to excessive use

Side Effects of Librium 

Like all benzodiazepine medications, Librium can cause unpleasant side effects. Even if you take the drug as your doctor recommends, you could still experience physical or mental discomfort. Problems tend to worsen the longer you use the drug. 

Short-Term Side Effects

Common side effects seen in people who use Librium include drowsiness, confusion, and a lack of coordination. Some people faint while using the drug.[1]

These symptoms are typically mild, and they rarely cause someone to quit taking the drug. But some people experience more unpleasant problems, including allergic reactions and itchy skin. 

Long-Term Side Effects

Librium can be very hard on your liver. People who take the drug for long periods can develop jaundice (yellow-tinged skin) as the liver begins to fail.[1] Doctors typically provide multiple blood tests to monitor your organ health during treatment. If you’re abusing the drug, you won’t get this protection. 

Other common side effects include weight gain, menstrual irregularities, and forgetfulness.[1,4] 

Short-Term EffectsLong-Term Effects 
SedationLiver damage
Depression Weight gain 
Lack of coordination Menstrual irregularities 
Fainting episodes Forgetfulness
Sources: [1,4]

Combining Librium With Other Substances

Librium interacts with other drugs. When chlordiazepoxide is abused, it is commonly used with other substances, such as marijuana, alcohol, and other prescription medications like opioids.

Chlordiazepoxide is known to have severe interactions with alcohol as well as sedative-hypnotics.[1] When the drug is combined with other benzodiazepine drugs or opioids, the sedative effects are magnified, causing slowed heart rate, depressed breathing, and other respiratory issues. This can even result in coma or death. 

Combining Librium with other drugs and substances (sometimes called crossfading) is very dangerous. It should never be done without a doctor’s approval.

In 2021, nearly 14% of all overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines like Librium, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.[8]

Librium Overdose 

Take too much Librium, and you could experience an overdose. This is a life-threatening problem that requires treatment in a hospital. 

These symptoms are common in a Librium overdose:[4]

  • Confusion
  • Slow reflexes
  • Extreme sedation 
  • Unconsciousness

If you think someone has overdosed on Librium, call 911. Tell the operator where you are, what happened, and what the person took. Stay with the person until help arrives. 

Between April/June 2019 and April/June 2020, overdose deaths attributed to illicit benzodiazepines rose 519.6%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.[9]

Librium Withdrawal 

Do not quit taking benzodiazepines without your doctor’s help. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe. In some cases, they can be life-threatening.

Common withdrawal symptoms include the following:[1]

  • Anxiety 
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sensory hypersensitivity
  • Nausea

In some cases, people attempting to quit benzodiazepines cold turkey develop seizures. It’s never safe to try this approach. 

Finding Librium Addiction Treatment

Recovering from Librium addiction is possible. You’ll need a treatment program made up of the following critical elements:

Supervised Taper

A cold-turkey approach to quitting puts pressure on delicate brain cells and can lead to seizures. A taper is different. Your doctor develops a schedule that allows you to quit the drug over time, so your brain cells can adjust safely. Your doctor ensures you move through this process without experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, but you might feel mild discomfort as you taper your dose

Medical Detox 

Since some people abuse other drugs in combination with Librium, medical detox could be helpful. Here, doctors use medications to help your body to quit using other substances. Your team might also use this opportunity to treat underlying issues like depression. 

Behavioral Therapy 

Therapy is the core of addiction treatment. In sessions, clients work with therapists to determine the root causes of their substance abuse. By identifying these triggers for drug abuse, they can begin to build plans to make better choices going forward.

Individuals learn how to build healthier habits that support a life in recovery. An emphasis is often placed on cognitive behavioral therapy, where the relationship between thoughts and behaviors is highlighted. By changing their thoughts, individuals learn how to change their behaviors. 

Dialectical behavior therapy is another approach that can help you change your thought patterns and then your behavior. 


Managing medications and therapy isn’t easy for everyone, especially when you’re living at home and surrounded by triggers. An inpatient treatment program can help you step away from triggers to focus on your treatment around the clock. An outpatient treatment program can help you manage potentially triggering situations while you work on your healing in appointments. 

Librium Addiction Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most commonly asked questions about Librium addiction. 

What is Librium prescribed for?

Librium is used to treat anxiety and alcohol withdrawal.

Is it easy to get addicted to Librium?

Yes. Librium can alter your brain chemistry, which can cause addiction. 

What are the signs of Librium addiction?

People addicted to Librium typically take more than is prescribed. They shop for doctors, steal drugs, and work with dealers to keep up their drug supply.

Is it easy to quit Librium?

You must work with a doctor to quit using Librium. You can’t quit this drug cold turkey without help. Doing so is dangerous.

Updated March 21, 2024
  1. Librium patient handout. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published July 2005. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  2. Maust DT, Lin LA, Blow FC. Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Adults in the United States. Psychiatr Serv. 2019;70(2):97-106. doi:10.1176/
  3. Agarwal SD, Landon BE. Patterns in Outpatient Benzodiazepine Prescribing in the United States. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(1):e187399. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7399
  4. Chlordiazepoxide. Ahwazi H, Abdijadid S. Stat Pearls. Published November 7, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  5. Chlordiazepoxide capsules. ASHP. Published June 15, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  6. Controlled substance schedules. U.S. Department of Justice. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  7. Careful Prescribing of Benzodiazepines during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review. Agrawal R. J Ment Health Clin Psychol. 2020;4(4);13-16.
  8. Benzodiazepines and opioids. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published November 7, 2022. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  9. Liu S, O’Donnell J, Gladden RM, McGlone L, Chowdhury F. Trends in Nonfatal and Fatal Overdoses Involving Benzodiazepines — 38 States and the District of Columbia, 2019–2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1136–1141. DOI: icon
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