Close this search box.

Librium Addiction, Withdrawal, and Effects

picture of Joe Gilmore
Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

December 7, 2023

Table of Contents

Librium, a benzodiazepine and a branded formulation of chlordiazepoxide, is a sedative-hypnotic drug that is mainly indicated to treat alcohol withdrawal. Additionally, Librium medication can be prescribed to manage mental health conditions like anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

While Librium can be effective when used as intended, misuse or abuse of this benzo may lead to addiction. Read on to discover:

heart icon that is 2 hands holding

Need help getting addiction treatment?

  • How does Librium addiction develop?
  • What is the generic name for Librium?
  • What are the side effects of Librium?
  • What Librium dosage is required to treat anxiety and panic disorders?
  • Is Librium for alcohol withdrawal effective?

Librium Addiction

Like other benzodiazepines, Librium can be habit-forming. Those who are prescribed Librium for conditions like anxiety or insomnia remain at risk of misuse and addiction. Individuals grappling with underlying mental health conditions face an increased risk of Librium addiction.

Some individuals escalate their Librium usage due to diminishing effects as tolerance builds, while others deliberately abuse the medication for heightened sensations or synergistic drug effects when combining benzos with alcohol or other addictive substances. Abusing Librium can lead to the development of physical dependence, a state associated with Librium withdrawal symptoms manifesting upon discontinuation. Dependence often but not always leads to addiction, clinically described as substance use disorder.

American Psychiatric Association recently published DSM-5-TR, the most current revised edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Librium addiction is classified as sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder. These are the DSM-5 symptoms of Librium addiction:

  1. Using benzodiazepines like Librium in higher doses or for extended periods than initially planned.
  2. Trying unsuccessfully to reduce or control benzodiazepine usage.
  3. Devoting a significant amount of time to acquiring, using, or recuperating from the effects of benzodiazepines.
  4. Experiencing intense cravings or a strong urge to consume benzodiazepines.
  5. Neglecting important responsibilities due to benzodiazepine use.
  6. Continuing benzodiazepine consumption despite causing or exacerbating social or relationship issues.
  7. Forgoing or reducing participation in significant activities due to benzodiazepine use.
  8. Using benzodiazepines in situations that may lead to physical harm – while operating machinery or driving, for instance.
  9. Persisting in benzodiazepine use despite awareness of its negative impact on physical or mental health.
  10. Needing more benzos to deliver the initial effects, or experiencing diminished effects with the same dose of benzos.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when benzodiazepine use is reduced or discontinued, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.

Librium addiction is diagnosed according to the number of symptoms that present as mild (2 to 3), moderate (4 to 5), or severe (6 or more). While incurable, Librium addiction responds favorably to evidence-based treatments.

image of man representing librium side effects recovery

What is Librium?

Librium – generic name chlordiazepoxide – belongs to the class of benzodiazepine medications. As a sedative-hypnotic agent, it exerts its effects on the central nervous system by enhancing the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). This action results in a calming influence on the brain’s activity, making it useful for addressing various conditions.

Librium was the first benzodiazepine. The medication was introduced in 1960 and quickly became a pioneering force in psychiatric treatment. Classified under Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act, this regulated medication is mainly prescribed for its anxiolytic properties. Librium is utilized to manage anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Its calming effects can aid in alleviating symptoms associated with these conditions, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.

That said, Librium should be used only under the guidance of a healthcare professional due to its potential for misuse and the risk of developing dependence and addiction in the form of sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder.

Librium Side Effects

As with any medication, Librium can trigger both common and less frequent adverse reactions. Understanding these side effects empowers individuals to make informed decisions and seek timely medical assistance when needed.

Common side effects of Librium include:

  • Drowsiness: One of the hallmark effects of benzodiazepines, including Librium, is drowsiness or excessive sleepiness. This can impair coordination and alertness.
  • Dizziness: Some people may experience feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up too quickly.
  • Memory impairment: Librium’s influence on brain activity can lead to memory lapses or difficulties in retaining information.
  • Gastrointestinal distress: Nausea, vomiting, and stomach upset are among the potential gastrointestinal side effects of Librium.

Less frequent but serious side effects of Librium include:

  • Allergic reactions: In rare instances, Librium may trigger allergic reactions characterized by rashes, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if these symptoms occur.
  • Mood changes: Some individuals may experience paradoxical reactions, which can lead to increased anxiety, irritability, agitation, or aggressive behavior.
  • Respiratory depression: Although less common, Librium can cause respiratory depression, particularly when Librium and alcohol or opioids are combined. This manifests as slow or shallow breathing and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Prolonged or abrupt cessation of Librium can trigger the presentation of withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and more severe effects like seizures.

Communicate openly with a healthcare provider when using Librium. Prior medical history, existing conditions, and potential interactions with other medications are factors to consider when formulating a treatment plan that includes benzodiazepines like Librium. Monitoring and discussing any side effects with a healthcare professional ensures that the benefits of Librium alcohol withdrawal treatment or anxiety treatment outweigh potential risks.


What is Librium commonly combined with?

Librium is often combined with alcohol, opioids, and cocaine, but such combinations can be dangerous and increase the risk of adverse effects and overdose.

Does Librium lower blood pressure?

Yes, Librium can lower blood pressure as one of its potential side effects.

How long does Librium stay in your system?

The Librium half-life is 5 to 30 hours, and it takes roughly 5 half-lives for the drug to be fully eliminated from the system. Librium is detectable in blood test for up to 48 hours, in saliva tests for up to 10 days, in urine tests for up to 6 weeks, and in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days.

What is Librium used for?

Librium is primarily used to treat anxiety disorders, alleviate symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal, and relax patients before surgery. It is also prescribed for insomnia, muscle tension, seizures, and irritable bowel syndrome.

What is Librium’s half-life?

Librium’s half-life is between 5 to 30 hours, meaning that it is classified as a long-acting benzodiazepine.

Treatment for Librium Addiction

Dealing with addiction to Librium requires a comprehensive and tailored approach to recovery that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of dependence.

A successful treatment journey begins with a thorough assessment by qualified professionals. This evaluation helps determine the severity of the substance use disorder, any underlying mental health conditions, and the most appropriate treatment approach. Based on this assessment, a personalized treatment plan is created, integrating various therapies and interventions.

A supervised medical detoxification is often the first step for those grappling with Librium addiction. This process allows the body to gradually adjust to reduced Librium levels, minimizing withdrawal symptoms and potential health risks. Medical professionals closely monitor progress during detox to ensure safety and comfort. Detox addresses the issues of physical dependence and serves as a bridge to ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Behavioral therapies play a central role in addressing the psychological aspects of Librium addiction. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), and MI (motivational interviewing) are commonly utilized to help individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, and build healthier behaviors.

Holistic therapies complement traditional treatments by focusing on overall well-being. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, art therapy, and acupuncture are examples of holistic interventions that aid in reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and enhancing emotional resilience during the recovery journey.

Participating in support groups, such as 12-step programs or group therapy sessions, provides a sense of community and shared understanding among individuals recovering from Librium addiction. These groups offer a space to discuss challenges, share experiences, and celebrate milestones, fostering a supportive environment.

Addressing underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to addiction is crucial. Dual diagnosis treatment ensures that both the addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders are simultaneously treated, leading to more comprehensive and effective recovery outcomes.

Recovery doesn’t end after formal treatment concludes, though. Aftercare planning is essential to provide individuals with the tools and resources they need to maintain sobriety in the long term. Continued therapy, support group participation, and regular check-ins with healthcare providers contribute to sustained recovery.

Librium addiction doesn’t only affect the individual abusing substances but can impact their loved ones as well. Family therapy and education empower families to understand addiction, improve communication, and foster a healthier and supportive environment for the person in recovery.

Renaissance Recovery rehab in Huntington Beach, California logo.

Get Treatment for Librium Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

At Renaissance Recovery Center in Southern California, we specialize in the outpatient treatment of benzodiazepine (benzo) addictions and co-occurring mental health conditions.

Discover the tailored guidance and framework you need to move beyond benzo addiction from one of the following treatment programs:

All Renaissance treatment programs are designed to provide access to personalized benzo addiction treatment, utilizing a blend of holistic and evidence-based strategies that offers access to the following therapies:

Begin your transformative journey by contacting admissions at 866.330.9449. Take the essential first step towards recovery.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

Close this search box.

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

Text a Recovery Expert

Text our team to get the help you need ASAP.

Close this search box.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.