Table of Contents
Librium Addiction, Abuse, and Symptoms


The Basics

This guide explains the effects, trends, and dangers of Librium use, as well as an unbiased analysis of the medicinal and behavioral treatment methods for Librium addiction based on current research and publicly available statistics. In some cases, usage statistics are derived from general prescription benzodiazepine use, which includes diazepam, lorazepam, and alprazolam.

Primary Librium Dangers

  • Addictiveness: Nutt et al. set out to determine the addictive potential of 20 substances, ranking each substance according to several criteria. These criteria included the likelihood of becoming dependent on the substance, the physical harm associated with the substance, and the potential for social harm. Benzodiazepines ranked seventh overall, making them more addictive than amphetamine, LSD, cannabis, and ecstasy.
  • Risk of overdose: In 2017, benzodiazepines, such as Librium, were involved in 11,537 overdose deaths in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The risk of overdose increases significantly when benzodiazepines are combined with other substances, especially opioids. In fact, a majority of the 11,537 overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines also involved an opioid.
  • Unintended side effects: Librium slows down the nervous system, which means it can interfere with critical functions, such as breathing and heart function. For example, the nonmedical use of Librium may result in an irregular heartbeat, tremors, or difficulty breathing.
  • Legal risks: Librium is considered a Schedule IV substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Therefore, possession of this substance without a valid prescription is a criminal offense. It’s usually charged as a misdemeanor, and a conviction may result in fines, jail time, or court-ordered drug treatment.

Librium Background Information

Derived From Synthesized from quinazoline-3-oxides
Ways Used Ingested, injected
Scientific Name Chlordiazepoxide
Slang/Street Names for Librium Normies, Benzos, Tranqs, Downers, Bennies, Blue Bombs
How Long in Bodily System Half-life: 24 to 48 hours
Eliminated from the body in three to four days but may take longer in chronic users
Punitive Legal Measures: Using/Possession Since Librium is a Schedule IV controlled substance, it’s illegal to possess it without a prescription issued by a licensed medical professional. Laws vary by state, but a first-time offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor. If the individual is convicted, penalties typically include a fine and a short jail sentence. Some individuals may also be ordered to attend drug rehabilitation.
Punitive Legal Measures: Selling/Distributing Selling or distributing Librium without the required credentials is a serious offense. Even a first-time conviction can result in a prison sentence of 20 years or more. An individual convicted of this crime may also be required to pay hefty fines.
DEA Drug Rating Schedule IV

Signs of Abuse

Behavioral Symptoms of Librium Usage and Abuse

How Librium affects the brain

Librium and other benzodiazepines interact with a substance called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This substance is classified as a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical that carries messages through the nervous system. Librium can be used to treat alcohol withdrawal syndrome and anxiety because it enhances the effects of GABA, making the user feel calmer.

In some users, Librium also activates the reward center of the brain, which makes it more likely that an individual will develop a tolerance to, or dependence on, the substance. Once the brain’s reward center has been activated, the brain starts to perceive the high that comes with Librium as a reward. Thus, the user is compelled to take larger doses of Librium or take Librium more often than prescribed, to continue getting the same reward.

Behavioral signs of Librium usage and abuse

Librium abuse can alter an individual’s behavior, especially if the abuse has been going on for a long time. Some users begin isolating themselves from friends and family members in an attempt to hide their addiction. Secretive behavior is another sign that an individual may be misusing Librium. For example, Librium users may hide pills to prevent others from finding out about their addictions. Users may also refuse to tell their loved ones where they’re going or what they plan to do, especially if their plans include Librium use.

Changes in workplace behavior can also signal that an individual is misusing Librium. For example, a high-performing employee may suddenly start showing up late or taking a lot of time off from work. The individual may also miss deadlines or forget about important meetings.

Some users also start having financial problems as a result of their Librium use. They may ask friends to borrow money, have trouble paying bills, or stop participating in activities that cost money. In extreme cases, an individual may engage in criminal behavior, such as shoplifting and selling the stolen items for cash to fund a Librium habit.

In adolescents, Librium misuse may manifest in several ways. Students who typically get good grades may start failing tests or stop turning in their homework. Adolescent users may also stop spending time with their friends or quit doing activities they used to enjoy. Parents and educators should also be concerned if an adolescent suddenly starts hanging out with a completely different group of people.

Physical Symptoms of Librium Abuse

How Librium affects the body

Librium slows down the central nervous system, which relaxes the muscles and reduces the user’s breathing rate. By enhancing the effects of GABA, Librium also makes the user feel sleepy. In users with chronic respiratory conditions, these effects can make it difficult to breathe normally. The muscle relaxation that occurs with Librium use can make it difficult for an individual to maintain his or her balance, perform activities requiring fine motor skills, or perform normal activities of daily living.

Early physical effects of Librium

This table illustrates the possible short-term physical effects associated with Librium.
Short-term Physical Symptoms
Initial (direct effects of drug, 30 – 60 min.) Drowsiness
Lingering (within an hour of taking the drug) Upset stomach
Loss of appetite
Dry mouth
Post-Use (several hours to days after use) Constipation
Changes in urinary frequency
Difficulty urinating
Loss of libido
Blurred vision

Severe and long-term physical effects of Librium

Long-term use of Librium can cause serious physical effects. The risk of overdose is especially concerning, particularly in individuals who combine Librium with alcohol, opioids, or other psychoactive substances. Librium slows down several vital functions, such as heart rate and respiratory rate; therefore, if a user overdoses on Librium, these vital functions could cease, resulting in an overdose-related death.

Librium also relaxes the muscles, causing muscle weakness and making it more difficult for an individual to maintain his or her balance. Poor motor control increases the risk of injury. For example, a Librium user may trip and fall due to a lack of coordination. If the fall is severe enough, the user might sustain a concussion, broken bone, or other serious injuries.

In some users, long-term use of Librium may lead to several problems with the nervous system. One such problem is a shuffling walk, which may make it difficult for an individual to maintain steady employment or perform normal activities of daily living. A long-term user may also have trouble sitting still, which could interfere with work or school activities.

Librium can also cause headaches and blurred vision, making it difficult for users to concentrate on their jobs or school assignments. In some cases, Librium use can be downright dangerous, as headaches and blurred vision can interfere with tasks, such as driving or operating heavy machinery.

This table illustrates the possible long-term physical effects associated with Librium.
Long-term Physical Symptoms
Casual Dizziness
Slower breathing
Low blood pressure
Including all of the above effects for casual use
Gastrointestinal distress
Uncontrolled eye movements
Slurred speech
Problems with motor coordination
Withdrawal Sweating
Worsening anxiety
Repetitive movements
Increased blood pressure
Changes in heart rate

Further Resources

Both the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offer in-depth information on both the symptoms and treatment of prescription stimulant addiction.

Librium Usage

Use of benzodiazepines, including Librium, has increased worldwide

Due to an increase in the global supply, benzodiazepine use has increased throughout the world. In Asia, benzodiazepines, such as Librium, are sometimes diverted from pharmacies and hospitals so that they can be sold to nonmedical users. This puts millions of pills in the hands of drug traffickers. In 2017, authorities confiscated 2.5 million benzodiazepine pills at Port Kang in Malaysia; the pills came from the Taiwan Province of China, and traffickers planned to sell them in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Benzodiazepine usage is also a serious problem in Western and Eastern Europe. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, authorities seized 19,000 euros’ worth of benzodiazepines from Kildare and Limerick City, Ireland in 2017. The UNODC also reports that benzodiazepines are the most common prescription medications involved in cases of acute intoxication in Europe.

According to the 2019 World Drug Report, 19 tons of chlordiazepoxide were manufactured in 2017. Although the manufacturing was done at legitimate facilities, some of the chlordiazepoxide was diverted for illicit use. In some cases, the diversion occurs when the drug is in the possession of a wholesale distributor. Chlordiazepoxide can also be diverted from a doctor’s office or pharmaceutical company. In many cases, illicit users obtain chlordiazepoxide from friends and family members who have valid prescriptions.

Prescription Benzodiazepine Use Throughout the World
Highest Second Third
Most Common Sources of Illicit Benzodiazepines (2017) China Hong Kong Republic of Korea

Librium Usage Demographics in the US

The use of Librium and other tranquilizers has increased significantly in the United States

In the United States, approximately 5.2% of adults between the ages of 18 and 80 used Librium and other benzodiazepines in 2008, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. By 2016, approximately 12.5% of American adults were using benzodiazepines, a significant increase. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, individuals use benzodiazepines for several reasons, including stress relief, getting high, and making it easier to fall asleep.

The use of Librium and other tranquilizers has also increased among some groups of young adults (ages 12-18). The Monitoring the Future Study collected data on drug use from three groups of adolescents: 8th graders, 10th graders, and 12th graders. Researchers asked the adolescents to provide information on lifetime drug use, past-year drug use, and past-month drug use. In 2019, 6.1% of 12th graders surveyed reported that they had used a tranquilizer at least once in their lives, a decrease from 6.6% the previous year.

Past-year use and past-month use decreased among 10th graders and 12th graders, but they increased among the youngest study participants. In 2019, 2.4% of 8th graders surveyed reported that they had used a tranquilizer within the past year, an increase from 2% the previous year. Approximately 1.2% of 8th graders reported using a tranquilizer within the past month, an increase from 0.9% in 2018.

Demographics of Prescription Usage

Demographics of Prescription Usage
Past Year (2019) Lifetime
8th grade (14-15 yo) 2.40% 4.0%
10th grade (15-16 yo) 3.40% 5.70%
12th grade (17-18 yo) 3.40% 6.10%

How to Find Help

Long-term use of Librium increases the risk for tolerance or dependence, making it difficult to stop using. Additionally, Librium enhances the effects of GABA, activating the brain’s reward center and making it more likely that an individual will become addicted to this substance. Once an individual develops an addiction to Librium, it’s difficult to stop using due to the serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur.

Due to these factors, many individuals find that a multistep approach to rehabilitation is the most effective. This process starts with an initial detoxification period, which is when users eliminate Librium from their bodies. Choosing a medically supervised rehabilitation program can make this process more comfortable. Once Librium has been completely eliminated from the body, the user participates in one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and other services to learn how to cope with stressful circumstances without relapsing. For more information on this multistep process, read our comprehensive Librium rehabilitation guide.

Staging an Intervention

If you have a loved one who’s struggling with addiction, staging an intervention is often the first necessary step towards sobriety, but it’s important to be strategic and loving in your approach. Even the most well-meaning of interventions can have a negative effect if they aren’t handled correctly.

5 Tips for Staging an Intervention

1. Don’t Do It Alone. A professional interventionist is always the most qualified to guide a successful intervention. Also, rely on non-addict family and friends — especially those who have a close relationship with you or the addict.
2. Research Ahead of Time. It’s best to do plenty of research ahead of time to gather insight on the addiction and how it affects the addict. Also, be prepared with local resources for getting help.
3. Write Out Your Statement. During the actual intervention, emotions will likely be running high, so it’s best to have a statement of how the person’s addiction has impacted you and your relationship with him or her. These statements should be honest yet written from a place of love — no personal attacks.
4. Offer Help. It’s important for everyone attending the intervention to offer tangible help and support as the person works through detox and rehabilitation.
5. Set Boundaries. If the person refuses to seek help and take the next steps outlined, it’s important that they understand that everyone present will end codependent and enabling behaviors.