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Librium Abuse Side Effects, Withdrawal, and Addiction Treatment

Librium—which is the brand name for chlordiazepoxide—is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of controlled substances called benzodiazepines. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning it slows down brain activity. Chlordiazepoxide is commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, as well as to mitigate the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and other sedative withdrawal syndromes. In combination with a second drug called Clidinium, chlordiazepoxide is also used to manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.1,2,3

Is Librium Addictive?

Like in the case of all benzodiazepines, Librium use can be habit-forming and presents the risk of abuse and addiction.1,2 Misuse of Librium occurs when it is used in larger doses, more often, or for longer courses than directed by a physician.1 Librium abuse frequently occurs when it is taken nonmedically for the intended purpose of getting high. Users may snort the contents of Librium capsules or combine Librium with other drugs, such as alcohol or opioids, to create a stronger effect.

Misusing or abusing Librium can decrease its efficacy, increase the risk of overdose, and lead to unpleasant benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.1 Its sedative effects can be amplified when it is mixed with other substances, such as alcohol or other CNS depressants. Combining Librium with other drugs can increase the risk of overdose and adverse effects.

Signs and Symptoms of Librium Abuse

There are several signs and symptoms that someone is abusing Librium, ranging from physical symptoms to behavioral signs of addiction.

If you or someone you know consistently exhibits these signs of Librium abuse, help is available. Call for free at to speak to a treatment support specialist about recovery options.

Effects of Librium Abuse

Woman on couch suffering from anxiety
Although Librium can be safely used when it is administered by a doctor or taken as prescribed, abusing Librium can lead to a number of harmful developments, including:
  • Physical dependence: The body adapts to the presence of the drug and the user may experience Librium withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, or seizures, when they stop taking it.5
  • Addiction: The user may develop compulsive and maladaptive patterns of Librium use despite negative consequences on his or her life.
  • Polydrug abuse: Drug users commonly abuse multiple substances. Those seeking treatment for benzodiazepine use are often addicted to one or more other drugs as well, including alcohol. Polydrug use can increase the risk of adverse effects and overdose.

Someone who’s abusing Librium is also subject to a host of potentially dangerous psychological side effects, such as:5,6

  • Impaired memory.
  • Cognitive deterioration in the elderly.
  • Poor judgment.
  • Diminished emotional reactions.
  • Depression.
  • Suicidal ideation.

In some cases, a Librium user may experience a reaction called paradoxical disinhibition.5 Paradoxical disinhibition is characterized by contradictory symptoms, including:

  • Irritability.
  • Increased excitement.
  • Hostility.
  • Aggression.

In rare instances, this type of disinhibition may lead to antisocial or violent behaviors.5

The cumulative, negative influence of Librium abuse can severely impact all facets of a user’s life, causing difficulties at work, school, or home. Users may have excessive work or school absences, leading to poor performance. Familial or social problems, such as child neglect, divorce, or the loss of close friends, may occur as well. A Librium-intoxicated individual is also at increased risk of involvement in accidents. Impaired judgment and cognition—paired with slowed reaction time—can drastically increase the risk of injury or fatality due to a vehicle collision.6

Finally, abusing this drug can be fatal, especially for those who continually increase their doses to combat the effects of tolerance or abuse Librium with other substances.

In the case of an overdose, seek the help of emergency services. If the individual appears to be unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately. This action can save the person’s life.

Librium Statistics

Statistics specifically regarding Librium abuse aren’t readily available, but benzodiazepine misuse and abuse—both alone and in combination with other substances—is a growing problem nationwide. Some statistics related to general benzodiazepine use include:

  • In 2011, an estimated 425,000 emergency department visits were associated with benzodiazepine abuse.8
  • About 0.7% of the American population (1.9 million people) aged 12 or older reported using benzodiazepines in the past month.9
  • A survey of Americans aged 12 to 49 who abuse benzodiazepines shows that the average age of initial use is approximately 23 years old.9
  • Polydrug abuse is present in approximately 95% of those seeking treatment for benzodiazepine addiction.10

Teen Librium Abuse

Teenagers often have access to prescription medications in their home medicine cabinets. Many families have prescriptions for Librium or other benzodiazepines, and teenagers can obtain these medications quite easily in their own homes or the homes of friends. Misuse of Librium in teenagers can involve taking more of the drug than suggested, or even opening the capsules and snorting the contents to provide a more immediate and intense Librium high.

Prevention of benzodiazepine abuse in teenagers starts with education. It is important to teach teenagers about the dangers of prescription medications like Librium and help them understand the harmful effects that the drugs can have on the body and brain. Educating parents and family members about the importance of securely storing medications can help to limit the access teenagers have to habit-forming substances.

Individuals should be taught proper techniques to dispose of unused pills, such as mixing them with undesirable items like cleaning products, kitty litter, or coffee grinds,11 or bringing them to sites authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), such as pharmacies, law enforcement locations, or take-back programs.11

A few signs that your teenager may be misusing Librium or struggling with some other inappropriate drug use or consumption include:

  • Changes in attitude, mood, or behavior.
  • Hanging out with new friends.
  • Poor academic performance.
  • Excessive absences.
  • Getting in trouble at school.
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Lethargy.

As a parent, it’s important that you’re aware of the signs and symptoms of substance abuse so that you can help your adolescent get the help he or she needs to prevent or recover from an addiction. Contact your family doctor or a mental health care specialist—such as a therapist or addictions counselor—to discuss addiction treatment options for your teen.

If you or someone you know is abusing Librium or other substances, call our helpline free at to discuss recovery options with a treatment placement advisor.

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