Librium, or chlordiazepoxide, can create risks of overdose, dependence and addiction when used recreationally.

Librium is the former brand name of chlordiazepoxide, a generic benzodiazepine drug. Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” have sedative and hypnotic properties that make them popular medications for treating mental health conditions like anxiety.

Librium was the very first benzodiazepine drug ever created. However, after its market release in the early 1960s, it became widely misused for recreational purposes and was eventually discontinued. Before its discontinuation, Librium was used to treat seizures, acute anxiety, skeletal muscle tension and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.  However, if you come across any drug labeled Librium today, it is likely long-expired or counterfeit.

Librium as a Recreational Drug

Some people abuse Librium recreationally by itself or in combination with other drugs. The high from Librium alone is similar to alcohol intoxication. Sedation, reduced cognitive ability and impaired motor function are all common effects experienced during a Librium high. When abused, Librium is either taken directly in pill form or crushed up and snorted.

The effects of Librium are mild compared to many other drugs, and for some people, the Librium high alone is not enough. As a result, Librium is often mixed with other drugs. When combined with alcohol, marijuana or opioids, Librium can amplify the effects of the other drugs or enhance the high. People who use cocaine and amphetamine will sometimes use Librium or other benzodiazepines to help them reduce some of the stimulating effects from the other drugs.

Risk of Dependence on Librium

Librium is a Schedule IV controlled substance, and it is dangerous due to its high risk of dependence. The human body also builds up a tolerance to the drug very quickly. Over time, people who use Librium regularly will need to take more and more of the drug to get the same effects.

The cycle of taking higher and higher doses can lead people down a dangerous road, putting them at risk of overdose, dependence and addiction. People addicted to Librium may require intensive detoxification and treatment to recover from their addiction and dependence on the drug.

Librium Overdose

Fatal overdoses associated with Librium typically involve other drugs. However, it’s still possible for someone to overdose on Librium alone.

During a Librium overdose, breathing may slow down to the point of stopping completely (hypoventilation). Blood pressure may also drop to dangerous levels. Further, the overdose victim may completely lose control over their motor functions and find it nearly impossible to stay awake, leading to coma or even death.

Librium Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms related to Librium dependence can be severe. In most cases, they closely resemble the symptoms that Librium and other benzodiazepine drugs are designed to treat. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Muscle tension and aches
  • Seizures

Getting Treatment

Benzodiazepine addiction is a serious condition that usually requires professional medical treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with benzos like Librium, getting an assessment at a drug rehab facility and starting a treatment plan is vital.

In many cases, a detoxification program will be used to help ease patients through the withdrawal process. After detox, treatment involves one or more types of therapy to help patients through any issues that may have led to their drug misuse. With a supportive, evidence-based treatment approach, benzodiazepine addiction can be successfully treated and managed.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward a healthier, drug-free future, help is available at The Recovery Village. Contact us today to learn more about benzodiazepine addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs.

a man wearing a blue and white striped shirt.
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
a woman wearing glasses and a white robe.
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Manag[…]e in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed November 11, 2021.

Kang, Michael; Galuska, Michael A.; Ghassemzadeh, Sassan. “Benzodiazepine Toxicity.” StatPearls, July 26, 2021. Accessed November 11, 2021.

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Drugs of Abuse.” April 2020. Accessed November 11, 2021. “Librium.” October 22, 2021. Accessed November 11, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.