- PrintArticle Summary
- Signs, Symptoms, and Effects
- Withdrawal Timeline
- Medical Complications
- Find a Detox Center
Chlordiazepoxide (Librium) is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed to relieve anxiety and manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The drug is usually taken as a tablet, and it is not recommended for use for longer than 4 months.1
Continued use of the drug can be habit-forming and lead to addiction, especially if it is taken longer than prescribed, more frequently than prescribed, or in higher amounts than prescribed. Chronic abuse of chlordiazepoxide typically results in the development of physical tolerance and, eventually, dependence.
People who have become dependent on chlordiazepoxide may experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping their use of the drug because their body cannot function properly without the drug in their system. Symptoms include sweating, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and seizures. Depending on the individual, the signs of chlordiazepoxide withdrawal can last for weeks or months.
Medical intervention may be needed to help a user transition out of physical dependency.
Signs, Symptoms, and Effects
Withdrawal from chlordiazepoxide can be severely unpleasant and, in some cases, dangerous.
Chlordiazepoxide withdrawal signs and symptoms may include: 3, 4
- Excessive sweating.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Heart palpitations.
- Panic attacks.
With its long half-life, chlordiazepoxide is one of the longer-acting benzodiazepine drugs available. In general, the longer the duration of action, the longer the time between stopping the drug and feeling the onset of symptoms, and the longer the entire withdrawal lasts. 2
Signs of withdrawal for longer-acting benzodiazepines may not develop for more than 1 week, peak during the second week, and decrease during the third or fourth week.2
Below is a typical timeline of what you can expect during withdrawal: 2,8,9Days 15 and beyond:Symptoms improve, but some people may experience a protracted or post-acute withdrawal phase (see next section).
|Chlordiazepoxide Withdrawal Timeline|
|Days 4-7:||Withdrawal symptoms may peak during this time frame.|
|Days 7-14:||Withdrawal symptoms begin to fade.|
The timeline for these symptoms will vary from person to person. The length and severity of the withdrawal period will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Timing of last dose.
- Length of abuse or use.
- Co-occurring mental health or physical conditions.
- Abuse of other drugs.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
People who are withdrawing from chlordiazepoxide may suffer from a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Common symptoms of PAWS can include:
- Depressed mood.
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Heightened sensitivity to stress.5
These effects are thought to be caused by changes that take place in the brain from substance abuse, and people who abuse benzodiazepines have a high risk of experiencing PAWS.5
When a person experiences PAWS, their symptoms may last for weeks or months after the acute withdrawal period. PAWS can lead to relapse, and the best way to manage long-lasting symptoms is with the support of inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Medical detox involves supervision by trained professionals.
If your addiction to chlordiazepoxide is severe, you may be putting yourself at risk for medical complications during the withdrawal period, including death.2 The safest way to stop using this drug is by undergoing medical detox.
Medical detox involves supervision by trained professionals who are skilled at supporting individuals as they withdraw. Doctors, nurses, and therapists can help you manage the uncomfortable side effects of withdrawal. Many people choose to detox from benzodiazepines with the assistance of inpatient rehab in order to prevent harm and reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Skilled professionals can help support and address more severe chlordiazepoxide withdrawal effects, such as: 6
Find a Detox Center
By entering a supervised detox facility, you can stay safe and healthy while you address your addiction.
. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Chlordiazepoxide.
. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing.
. Salzman, C. (1997). The benzodiazepine controversy: therapeutic effects versus dependence, withdrawal and toxicity. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 4. 279–282.
. Petursson, H. (1994). The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Addiction, 89. 1455–1459.
. UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program. Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).
. Busto, U., Sellers, E. M., Naranjo, C. A., Cappell, H., Sanchez-Craig, M., & Sykora, K. (1986). Withdrawal reaction after long-term therapeutic use of benzodiazepines. New England Journal of Medicine, 315(14), 854-859.
. Ries, R. K., Fiellin, D. A., Miller, S. C., & Saitz, R. (2014). The ASAM principles of addiction medicine. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
. Miller, N. S., and Gold, M. S. (1998). Management of withdrawal syndromes and relapse prevention in drug and alcohol dependence. American Family Physician, 58, 139-152.
. Federal Bureau of Prisons. (2014). Detoxification of Chemically Dependent Inmates.