Librium Effects, Addiction & Treatment

Librium is the brand name of chlordiazepoxide. It is typically prescribed for short amounts of time to treat anxiety. However, it is often used recreationally as well. Anyone who misuses Librium is at risk for addiction or other adverse side effects.
Evidence Based
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What is Librium?

Librium, the brand name for chlordiazepoxide, is a psychotropic benzodiazepine. It treats anxiety disorders and works by altering out-of-balance chemicals in the brain.

Librium is an FDA approved short-term treatment for anxiety, especially for anxiety experienced before surgery. It is also prescribed to people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) who are experiencing anxiety and other acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Similar to other benzodiazepines, Librium can cause addiction and dependency. It is sometimes used recreationally for its sedative effects, or to enhance the high of other illicit or prescription drugs.

Librium is a schedule IV controlled substance due to it's mild potential for abuse and addiction.

Street names for Librium include:

  • Downers
  • Tranqs
  • Bennies
  • Benzos
  • L
  • Blue bombs
  • Normies
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Librium Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur when a person takes Librium include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior
  • Ongoing confusion
  • Anger or aggression
  • Sudden onset of restlessness or excitement
  • Worsening sleep problems
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Sudden feelings of being ill, including chills, fever, trouble swallowing, sore throat, mouth sores, and red or swollen gums
  • Muscle weakness
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Pain in the upper abdomen or stomach
  • Darkened urine
  • Jaundice
  • Sudden weakness

Adverse side effects of Librium tend to occur more often in older adults than in younger adults.

Librium can trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Facial swelling including the lips, tongue, and throat
Graphic of head filled with pills

Librium Addiction Symptoms

Librium is habit-forming, meaning It is possible to develop a physical dependence on it if used for an extended period. The drug is also abused by those who take it for longer than their doctor’s prescribed, use higher doses than prescribed, or use it without a prescription. Benzodiazepines, including Librium, are prescription central nervous system (CNS) depressants. People abuse them to experience a sense of relaxation or to “tune out” stressful thoughts and feelings.

Signs and symptoms of recent use of Librium include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination
  • Irritability or mood changes
  • Problems with concentration or clear thinking
  • Memory issues
  • Lack of inhibition
  • Slowed breathing
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Falls or other accidents
  • Dizziness
  • Involuntary eye movements

A Librium addiction or makes it difficult to control drug usage. If use becomes more frequent or larger doses are needed to achieve the same effect, addiction may be present. Addiction can also form even if a person began using Librium under a doctor’s supervision.

Some Librium-dependent people need to take the drug to feel normal. They will also experience cravings for the drug when they are not taking it.

Withdrawal symptoms for those dependent on Librium can range from mild to severe depending on how long they’ve used the drug and how much they take of it. Gradual detoxification from Librium is the most effective way to achieve long-term sobriety.

Librium withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Frequent cravings for the drug
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

Risks of Librium withdrawal can also be more severe, especially for those who develop benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. This can occur after heavy, long-term abuse of the drug. Severe symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Hypertension
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle pain
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium

Medically supervised detoxification is most effective for people with Librium dependence.

Two pills mixing equals dangerous

Librium Drug Interactions

There are more than 400 different drugs known to interact with Librium. Most trigger mild to moderate reactions. However, many opioid pain medications are known to trigger major adverse reactions when mixed with Librium. These medications include, but are not limited to, oxycodone, methadone, codeine, fentanyl, diazepam (Valium), and oxymorphone.

Librium can also cause people with the following medical conditions to experience a severe medical reaction:

  • Acute alcohol intoxication
  • Closed-angle glaucoma
  • Drug dependence
  • Renal/liver disease
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures
  • Prolonged hypotension
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Librium Addiction Treatment Options

Librium withdrawal and withdrawal from any benzodiazepine can be painful, and in some cases, life-threatening. Medically supervised detoxification is always the better option, but it’s especially important for Librium users.

Successful withdrawal and recovery tend to be more difficult when a user goes “cold turkey” and stops using the drug without medical assistance. Doing so makes the withdrawal process more painful and there is a greater risk for a serious medical reaction, including Grand mal seizures, delirium, or suicidal tendencies.

A medically assisted detox can mitigate these symptoms or eliminate them by gradually tapering drug use.

Counseling can begin before detox is complete. In addition, once the detoxification process is complete, individual, group, family, and behavioral therapy can begin. This provides the best odds of long-term success for recovery from dependence.

Working with counselors and other drug addiction experts allows a Librium-dependent person to:

  • Cope with drug cravings
  • Avoid the drug and prevent relapse
  • Deal with a relapse if it occurs
  • Talk about personal issues linked to the addiction
  • Provide family members and other loved ones with skills and strategies to support their drug-dependent loved one
  • Address co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Provide access to support groups

Librium dependence is a chronic disorder, and as with all drug dependence and addiction, there is always a chance of relapse. Professional treatment provides the support needed to overcome an drug abuse and decreases the sense of shame and isolation that can lead to relapse.


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Resources

“Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) Dosing, Indications, Interactions, Adverse Effects, and More.” Reference.Medscape.Com, https://reference.medscape.com/drug/librium-chlordiazepoxide-342899#3

“Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder) - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2017, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112

“Drug Addiction (Substance Use Disorder) - Diagnosis and Treatment - Mayo Clinic.” Mayoclinic.Org, 2017, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20365113

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. LIBRIUM (CHLORDIAZEPOXIDE HYDROCHLORIDE) Label. 2016, www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/012249s049lbl.pdf.

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Updated on: August 6, 2020
Author
Addiction Group Staff
About
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Medically Reviewed: March 2, 2020
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Annamarie Coy,
BA, CADACII/ICADC, ICPR, MATS
About
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