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Librium Addiction and Abuse

Librium is a prescription benzodiazepine that’s often abused for its calming effects. An addiction to Librium can develop quickly, especially when the drug is abused for an extended period of time.

Librium Addiction

10 mg Librium pillsLike other benzodiazepines, Librium is a habit-forming, psychotropic drug. Users who are prescribed Librium for a legitimate medical purpose, like to treat insomnia or anxiety, can still develop a dependence on the drug.

Some people start abusing Librium by ramping up their dosage to better feel the drug’s effects. Others start using Librium to get high or to enhance the effects of other drugs.

Any abuse of Librium—especially prolonged abuse—increases the user’s chance of developing an addiction.

Those with underlying mental conditions are also at a greater risk of becoming addicted to Librium.

When a Librium addiction is forming, a user may exhibit the following behavioral signs:

  • Doctor shopping to get more Librium prescriptions
  • Misusing the drug by taking higher dosages than recommended
  • Lying to family members about Librium use
  • Resorting to illegal methods to obtain the drug, such as forging prescriptions
  • Making Librium use the focus of their day
  • Neglecting normal responsibilities or relationships
  • Wanting to quit taking Librium, but being unable to do so
  • Struggling financially due to cost of getting Librium

Physical signs of a Librium addiction include:

  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • A need for higher doses to feel the effects of Librium (tolerance)
  • Sweating, rapid heart rate, tremors when trying to stop the drug (withdrawal)

Quitting Librium can be difficult without professional help. When people abuse Librium over a long period of time, their neural pathways change as their brain adjusts to the constant presence of the drug. The user becomes physically dependent on Librium to feel normal and function properly.

After a dependence has developed, abruptly ending use of Librium will cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Even taking the prescribed dosage of Librium for just six to eight weeks can result in withdrawal. The withdrawal process can be very uncomfortable and is best managed by a medical professional.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to Librium, get help now.

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Understanding Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)

Librium is the brand name of chlordiazepoxide. It was the first benzodiazepine to be synthesized, hitting the market in the 1950s. Librium is a schedule IV regulated drug as classified by the Controlled Substances Act.

The drug directly affects the central nervous system, producing a sense of calm in the user.

Librium is primarily prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. It is also used to aid in the withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism.

Librium is a white, crystalline substance that comes in multi-colored capsules. The drug comes in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 25 mg strengths. It is typically swallowed in capsule form. The contents of the capsule can also be snorted or mixed with water and injected.

The half-life of Librium is 10 to 30 hours, making it a moderate to long acting benzodiazepine. It can take several hours to feel the full effects of Librium.

How Long Do Benzos Stay in the Body?
BrandsHalcionXanaxLibrium
Length of ActionShort-actingIntermediateLong-acting
Time2-4 hours12-15 hours10-30 hours

Street names for Librium include:

  • Downers
  • Tranqs
  • Bennies
  • Benzos
  • L
  • Blue bombs
  • Blues
  • Ruffies
  • Normies
  • Nerve pills

Librium Effects and Abuse

Librium causes the user to feel very relaxed, which is the primary reason people abuse the drug. Those who suffer from anxiety disorders or insomnia often abuse Librium for its calming effects.

If taken in large doses, Librium can produce a “high” similar to alcohol intoxication.

Taking higher and more frequent doses than what’s prescribed—often multiple times the prescribed dosage—is considered abuse of Librium. Using the drug without a prescription is also substance abuse.

Recreational users take Librium to achieve a high. They often procure the drug from the street, online or by doctor shopping. Recreational Librium users tend to take much higher doses than what’s commonly prescribed by doctors.

Because Librium is one of the least potent benzos, people often take it in combination with other drugs to boost its effects. The drug is also used to curb the effects of harder drugs, like cocaine.

Combining Librium with other drugs is dangerous, as it increases the risk of overdose. Symptoms of Librium overdose include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Coma

Overdosing on Librium can be fatal. If you are worried that an overdose is occurring in others or yourself, seek medical attention immediately.

Common Librium Drug Combinations

Using multiple drugs at the same time is called polydrug use. It is estimated that 80 percent of benzodiazepine abuse is part of a greater polydrug abuse cycle. Librium is commonly combined with alcohol, opioids and cocaine.

Users often start taking Librium with alcohol once a tolerance has developed and the drug’s effects are no longer as potent. When alcohol and Librium are mixed, the depressive effects of both drugs are intensified, producing deep sedation and stupor.

Benzodiazepines are commonly taken with opioids, such as heroin, because they enhance the euphoric effects of opioids.

Individuals who use Librium with cocaine sometimes use the drug to temper some of the effects of the stimulant. They may take Librium to help them come down from their cocaine high.

People who combine Librium with other drugs are more likely to experience adverse side effects, such as respiratory depression, blackouts and extreme sedation. Mixing Librium with other drugs also increases the chance of overdose, which can be fatal.

Librium Abuse Statistics

50million

Every year in the U.S., doctors write more than 50 million prescriptions for benzos, including Librium.

11-15percent

Approximately 11-15% of Americans have a bottle of benzos in their medicine cabinet, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

31percent

In 2011, benzodiazepines were involved in 31% of opioid-analgesic overdose deaths. In 1999, benzos only accounted for 13% of these deaths.

Librium addiction can be difficult to beat, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Addiction professionals are available to help all across the country. Please call us now for help finding a treatment center.

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Sources & Author Last Edited: April 12, 2016

  1. RxList. (2015). "Librium". Retrieved on October 12, 2015 from: http://www.rxlist.com/librium-drug.htm
  2. American Family Physician. (2000). "Addiction: Part 1. Benzodiazepines—Side Effects, Abuse Risk and Alternatives". Retrieved on October 12, 2015 from: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0401/p2121.html
  3. MedicineNet. (2014). "chloradiazepoxide (Librium)". Retrieved on October 12, 2015 from: http://www.medicinenet.com/chlordiazepoxide-oral/page2.htm
About the Writer, Kayla Smith

Kayla Smith is the editorial director for Addiction Center. After working for years as a journalist, she joined the Addiction Center team in hopes of spreading awareness about addiction and mental health issues and helping people get treatment.

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