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Getting Treatment for a Chlordiazepoxide Addiction

Chlordiazepoxide addiction treatment can help a person who has been abusing the drug kick the habit and live a healthy, sober life. Even though the effects of chlordiazepoxide addiction are not as physically debilitating as the effects of other drugs in this class, many people on chlordiazepoxide will benefit from professional help to address the root causes of addictive behavior.

Studies have shown that relatively few people with a legitimate prescription for chlordiazepoxide abuse the drug in the ordinary course of treatment. An individual can develop a physical dependency on chlordiazepoxide, however, even when the drug is used in the short-term and as prescribed. The person in this situation is not addicted to the drug, but this physical dependency may result in the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms if the drug is stopped abruptly.

Supervised withdrawal through a chlordiazepoxide detox program may be necessary to safely discontinue the use of the drug. Any abuse of chlordiazepoxide for recreational purposes can also result in physical dependency, tolerance, and addiction. Chlordiazepoxide is one of the least potent drugs in its class, so adults abusing the drug do not typically take it in isolation. Many adults combine chlordiazepoxide with other drugs to amplify or prolong certain intoxicating effects or alleviate the negative side effects of more potent drugs.

The category of people who most frequently abuse chlordiazepoxide for the “high” alone are adolescents and young adults. Young people often treat chlordiazepoxide as a manageable introduction to the illicit drug scene. Unfortunately, chlordiazepoxide abuse can easily lead to addiction and overdose, particularly in the young. It can also easily lead to the abuse of other drugs when the chlordiazepoxide user develops a tolerance for the high the drug produces. Any sort of addiction is a hard habit for many people to control on their own.

Chlordiazepoxide addiction can be a particularly hard habit to kick, because there are often other addictions that the person is grappling with simultaneously.

What is Chlordiazepoxide?

Opened prescription drug on a tableChlordiazepoxide is a depressant that is primarily prescribed for the short-term treatment of severe anxiety and to ease the withdrawal symptoms of alcoholics in detox. The drug is part of the benzodiazepine class of depressants that includes diazepam and brand name drugs such as Valium. Depressants generally cause people to become sleepy, while relaxing their minds and bodies.The first and most common branded iteration of chlordiazepoxide is Librium.

Other common trade names for the drug include Libritabs,  Librax,  Angirex, and Multum. Chlordiazepoxide is only recommended for treatment of anxiety over the course of two to four weeks, so it is not a solution for long-term treatment of the disorder. Longer use of the drug results in tolerance that prevents the usefulness of the drug for its prescribed purpose.

Chlordiazepoxide is regulated in the United States as a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act. It is illegal to use, obtain, or sell the drug outside of a legitimate medical prescription. Chlordiazepoxide addiction treatment tends to focus on those people who have become addicted to the drug through illicit use.


The formulation for benzodiazepine was accidentally discovered in the mid-1950s as a result of scientific work done to create a chemical dye. The resulting compound was found to induce sleep, relax muscles,and create a hypnotic effect. Chlordiazepoxide was the first benzodiazepine to be synthesized for the pharmaceutical market.Why do people start abusing chlordiazepoxide?

“Chlordiazepoxide will quickly create a tolerance, and studies have shown that increasing the dose does not necessarily increase the drug’s effects past a certain point.”Generally, benzodiazepines will put a person to sleep in low doses, reduce feelings of anxiety in moderate doses, and act as a hypnotic in high doses. People abuse benzodiazepines, like chlordiazepoxide, in doses that will allow them to achieve one of these effects.When chlordiazepoxide is abused on its own, it is often taken in high doses to achieve a hypnotic effect. This state of intoxication is considered a “high” and allows the user to experience an altered state of reality. Chlordiazepoxide will quickly create a tolerance, and studies have shown that increasing the dose does not necessarily increase the drug’s effects past a certain point. Use of chlordiazepoxide for its hypnotic effects is limited.

Hardcore addicts often use chlordiazepoxide to increase the effects of other drugs, such as alcohol, antidepressants, antihistamines, sedatives, and pain relievers. Drug users report that chlordiazepoxide use boosts the high experienced when combined with heroin or marijuana. Chlordiazepoxide is also taken by cocaine and methamphetamine addicts to alleviate the anxiety that is sometimes experienced when a person is high on stimulants.

How Is It Used?

Chlordiazepoxide comes in 5, 10, and 25 mg capsules. It is typically taken orally, although some people who abuse the drug snort it. Taking chlordiazepoxide with alcohol or other depressants can cause life-threatening respiratory failure.


Chlordiazepoxide is the matriarch of the benzodiazepine class. As the first benzodiazepine that was synthesized for pharmaceutical use, it is the least potent of the drugs in this class.

The high that users experience when abusing chlordiazepoxide resembles alcohol intoxication. Both drugs are depressants that induce an altered mental state, cause relaxation, and reduce anxiety. Chlordiazepoxide intoxication reduces inhibitions and impairs judgment. It takes between 24 and 48 hours for a chlordiazepoxide high to reach its peak levels. Even when the drug is discontinued, it takes several days for the effects of the high to dissipate entirely. Users report that it takes 25 – 30 mg of chlordiazepoxide to achieve the same high as 10 mg of diazepam; however, chlordiazepoxide seems to produce a high that does not cloud thinking or cause negative side effects as the user comes down, unlike diazepam.

Common Side Effects of Abuse

Chlordiazepoxide is a depressant. Repeated or long-term use can cause physical and psychological side effects that can be very unpleasant, as well as tolerance and dependency. Many side effects can also manifest even when the drug is used as prescribed.
Common psychological side effects of chlordiazepoxide use:

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Hostility
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares

Common physical side effects of chlordiazepoxide use:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Lack of physical coordination
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Liver problems
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Skin rashes
  • Swelling
  • Yellowing eyes and skin

Potential Dangers Associated with Using

Chlordiazepoxide is one of the longest-acting drugs in the benzodiazepine class. Its effects can last as long as 30 hours, but the drug can remain in a person’s system for as long as 300 hours. The length of time the drug stays in the user’s system can cause unforeseen problems for certain categories of users.

Elderly users of chlordiazepoxide are at high risk of addiction and overdose. Older people do not metabolize the drug as quickly as younger users. More of the drug remains in an older person’s system for longer periods of time, so it is easier for an elderly person over 60 years of age to accumulate a deadly amount of the drug in his or her system.

Chlordiazepoxide is also the preferred drug for alcohol detox, because the drug produces effects that are similar to alcohol intoxication. Unfortunately, alcoholics and other addicts, as well as people with a history of mental health problems, are at a high risk of developing a chlordiazepoxide treatment after short-term use. Even under medical supervision as part of a detox program, it is possible for an alcoholic to end up substituting one addiction for another.

Typical Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Chlordiazepoxide can create a tolerance in users after a few weeks of regular use. Further, even short-term use can result in physical dependency on the drug. While those who are physical dependent are not necessarily addicted to the drug, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms unless they are taken off the drug gradually.People who take the drug in high doses or over prolonged periods of time are at a high risk of becoming addicted.

Chlordiazepoxide addicts are unable to function normally without a regular dose of the drug. A depressant slows down mental activity. When an addict stops taking the drug, his or her thoughts seem to start racing out of control.You will likely be able to identify a person with a chlordiazepoxide addiction by closely monitoring his or her behavior. The drug is not available without a prescription, so an addict must engage in various types of illegal drug-seeking behavior to get high. This behavior will often include forging prescriptions, lying to medical professional to obtain the drug, buying chlordiazepoxide by the capsule on the “black market,” and stealing the drug from friends and family who have legitimate prescriptions. A chlordiazepoxide addict may even go as far as to rob a medical facility or nursing home to obtain the drug.

What Does an Overdose Look Like?

People who abuse chlordiazepoxide are at high risk of experiencing an overdose. Even those people who use the drug as prescribed can end up with a lethal amount of the drug in their systems, because the drug can stay in a person’s system for such a long amount of time. Death rarely results from a chlordiazepoxide overdose when the drug is taken alone. When an overdose results from  chlordiazepoxide taken in conjunction with some other central nervous system depressant, the likelihood of death from respiratory failure increases.Signs of a chlordiazepoxide overdose:

  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Confusion
  • Depressed respiratory activity
  • Impaired motor functions
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coma

The Risk of Experiencing Withdrawal

Chlordiazepoxide use can result in a what is commonly known as benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. The drug can cause withdrawal symptoms that resemble alcohol withdrawal. Medical professionals do not recommend that users stop taking chlordiazepoxide abruptly.

Tapering down the dosage over time can alleviate the risk of experiencing withdrawal. People who abuse chlordiazepoxide in high doses or over long periods of time are at high risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. If an addict attempts to stop using chlordiazepoxide abruptly the symptoms experienced can be quite severe and may cause the person to start using again in an attempt to feel better. Professional chlordiazepoxide addiction treatment can help break the cycle of abuse, withdrawal, cravings, and relapse.Potential chlordiazepoxide withdrawal symptoms:

  • Convulsions
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Suicide ideation
  • Psychosis
  • Confusion
  • Delirium tremens.
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confused senses
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting

The Detoxification Process

A person who is only physical dependent on chlordiazepoxide will not likely experience any sort of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may be uncomfortable, but many people can tolerate them. It is possible for people who are not addicted to the drug to slowly wean themselves off of chlordiazepoxide without needing medical supervision.Addicts are more likely to need chlordiazepoxide detox under medical supervision, followed by a period of chlordiazepoxide rehab, to fully kick the habit. The psychological dependency that is characteristic of an addiction makes it more likely that an addict will kick the habit if he or she starts the journey to sobriety under the care of medical professionals as part of an inpatient detox program.

Available Treatment Options


Addicted women talking to an addiction counselor about the drug abuseIf your loved one has refused help, professional counseling may also be needed to learn how to stay firm regarding the consequences that you had agreed had to happen. For example, if your loved one shows up at your door in a week begging for money, you have to be strong enough to offer a ride to the treatment center but refuse to hand over any money. Read More

Detoxification is only the first step in beating a chlordiazepoxide addiction. It is just as important for the person involved to undergo a period of chlordiazepoxide rehab to deal with the underlying causes of addictive behavior. Professional chlordiazepoxide addiction treatment can help ensure that a chlordiazepoxide abuser breaks the abuse cycle and develops the internal willpower to resist the temptation to relapse.

It is possible for a person to self-direct a program of chlordiazepoxide rehab by using individual drug counselors and participating in group therapy, such as a 12-step program. While some people may have the willpower to handle the transition from addiction on their own, the large majority of addicts need a helping hand.

Professional chlordiazepoxide addiction treatment is available on an inpatient and outpatient basis at residential treatment facilities. These facilities provide the structured program that many addicts need to get their habits under control. Inpatient residential treatment is a particularly useful option for the chlordiazepoxide abuser with multiple addictions.

The treatment involves individual therapy with a licensed psychologist and a slate of related activities that build on the individual drug counseling. Most residential treatment facilities have developed their own recovery methodology that distinguishes their services from other facilities. It is important to match the treatment philosophy of the residential facility to the needs of the person seeking help. Common types of treatments offered at chlordiazepoxide residential facilities:

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy, and other alternative treatments
  • Integrated psychiatric care
  • Group therapy
  • Health and nutritional counseling

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.


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