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Librium Alternatives

Librium Alternatives

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Last Updated on March 22, 2021 by Carol Gillette

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Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Written by Diane Ridaeus Published Nov 6, 2019
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Fifteen years of researching and utilizing Librium alternatives has given Alternative to Meds Center a rock-solid, reliable approach to resolving symptoms that medications could not. A blend of medical and holistic treatments facilitates the transition to drug-free and symptom-free.

Focusing on investigating and then addressing root causes to alleviate symptoms is a workable template for those struggling with coming off benzodiazepines such as Librium. Our staff is compassionate, effective, and inspired to help those who have been left in such a predicament.

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It’s not too late to find relief from the horrendous place that your benzodiazepines may have brought you to.

We can help.

We invite you to watch the videos you see here and give us a call for more details on what Librium alternatives might mean for your or your loved one’s quality of life.


Why Consider Alternatives to Librium?

alt to meds center treatmentsWhile generic versions of Librium — chlordiazepoxide –may still be available around the world, the brand name Librium has been discontinued in the US according to “Drug Patent Watch.” 1 Whether used for a prolonged time or as little as a few weeks, Librium use can develop a morass of side-effects that overshadow any perceived benefits. Another huge liability of relying on benzodiazepines for any length of time is the wide range of Librium withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. Some of these withdrawals can be debilitating and even life-threatening in their most severe cases. A third major risk is a link between benzodiazepines and birth defects. The use of alternatives addresses unwanted symptoms, such as anxiety or insomnia, etc. without the aforementioned liabilities going into play.

Librium alternatives, on the other hand, can be used to boost and help rehabilitate neurochemistry naturally, as opposed to the manipulation or numbing of natural systems in the body. Librium alternatives help to stabilize the CNS and brain using drug-free, scientifically proven techniques. At Alternative to Meds Center, each client’s treatment is designed uniquely for them by our team of medical professionals. The goal is not just to discover the underlying problems that led to Librium use but to actually resolve them without the risks connected with benzodiazepine use. More details can be found below on some examples of methods used as Librium alternatives.

What is Librium Used For?

Librium was the first benzodiazepine ever marketed — way back in 1955.2 Librium’s anxiolytic or sedating effects tend to make the drug habit-forming. The drug’s profound calming effect got the drug skyrocketing to “pharma fame” well before the hellish characteristics of tolerance, dependence, addiction, and withdrawal were revealed in the following decades. Librium received FDA approval to treat anxiety and has frequently been prescribed off-label for many other conditions, for example, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, as a muscle relaxant, and to prevent seizures during alcohol withdrawal.3 Drug tolerance can develop after short or long-term use. Chlordiazepoxide should never be stopped abruptly as to do so can cause seizures and other harsh adverse reactions. It is highly recommended to get professional help for Librium tapering such as the programs delivered at Alternative to Meds.

SPECIAL NOTE: Never attempt abrupt cessation of Librium. If a person suddenly stops taking the drug, this can worsen the condition for which the drug was first prescribed.

Librium Protracted Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines are renowned for their difficult and often protracted withdrawal symptoms, which can last weeks, months, or years after discontinuing the drug, especially with abrupt withdrawal or unsupported tapering. Great care must be taken to gradually taper and to initiate protocols that can help rehabilitate compromised neurochemistry after benzodiazepine use. Librium alternatives such as GABA, for example, can help soften and even prevent harsh benzo protracted withdrawals. Many other holistic methods of preventing or resolving protracted withdrawal can be found below.4

Natural Alternatives to Librium

Alternatives to Librium can markedly ease the tapering process, as well as rehabilitate neurochemistry after benzo use.

Benzodiazepines are often prescribed for anxiety and insomnia.5 Many Librium alternatives have comparable efficacy in treating these symptoms naturally and are useful during and after tapering.

Natural Alternatives to Librium include:

  • natural alternatives to libriumSwitch to organic food. 16,17
  • Transition to a ketogenic diet 13
  • Add probiotics, prebiotics, and supplements/foods to promote a healthy gut 6-8,22-24
  • Test for food & chemical allergies that may be contributing to symptoms 50
  • Eliminate neurotoxic personal care products, cleaning products, etc. 9
  • Avoid foods enhanced with MSG, avoid foods high in glutamates 10, 11, 32, 53
  • Avoid neurotoxic Aspartame® 12
  • Cleanse the body of accumulations of toxins, heavy metals, etc. 14,15,17,18
  • Relaxation therapies, massage 19
  • Therapeutic acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine 20, 21
  • Natural herbs, supplements, i.e., Passionflower 28, Kava 25,27
  • Cannabidiol, CBD, medical marijuana 37
  • GABA 30-32, 52
  • Taurine 29, 35
  • Glycine 26
  • Niacinamide 34
  • L-lysine and L-arginine 35
  • Magnesium 36
  • Melatonin 38,39
  • Tryptophan, 5-HTP 40,41
  • Valerian root extract 42
  • Eliminate toxic mold in the home or workplace 43-45
  • Design your sleep area well, practice good sleep habits 46,47
  • CBT and other forms of talk therapy 48

Organic Diet — Effective Librium Alternatives

Choosing organic food is not always 100% possible. But where it is available, chemical and pesticide-free produce, whole foods, clean poultry, meat, and fish, raised without hormones or other undesirable additives, will help reduce potential neurotoxic reactions. One can look at the suicide rates of those occupationally exposed to pesticides to see a troubling potential link.16,17

We do understand the direct correlation between clean, quality food and health at Alternative to Meds. Below you will find other Librium alternatives that can be used to prevent and relieve symptoms naturally.

Microbiome Support

Digestion maladies are closely linked with depression and anxiety, according to a massive study in 2016 by Zhang et al, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.6The study reports that up to 90% of gastroenterology patients also present symptoms of depression and anxiety. But a disconnect in treatment occurs because most clinicians do not understand the correlation between these psychiatric symptoms and the patients’ digestive symptoms. Dr. Laura LaChance and Dr. Drew Ramsay authored a fascinating article in the 2015 Journal of the Missouri State Medical Assn that outlines evidence that strongly suggests dietary pattern leads to brain-based psychiatric illness. The authors also cover strategies to prevent and treat mental illness with dietary interventions.

LaChance et al suggest adding fermented foods to the diet for a healthy microbiome. Foods that provide beneficial microorganisms, as well as non-digestible fiber to “feed” these beneficial organisms, are strategic food choices that can positively affect both mental and physical health.7

Hills et al reported in their 2019 Nutrients Journal article, “Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease” that probiotics can have profound health benefits. Probiotics, as found in yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, as well as in supplement form, can limit the development of leaky gut ( gut permeability ) for example after the damage of excessive alcohol use. They also suggest leaky gut may be a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of autism due to missing neuroprotection if the microbiome is impaired.22

Nutritional psychiatry takes a great interest in such research, as it has been shown that a healthy microbiome reduces undesirable inflammation and oxidation that can contribute to many conditions of compromised mental and physical health, including psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and depression.8,23,24

Personal Care Products

Labels on soaps, toothpaste, lotions, deodorants, etc. don’t normally state “this product contains endocrine disruptors” or “this product contains neurotoxins.” It is wise to do your own research so you can feel confident in the products you purchase. We like an online resource called Skin Deep to quickly search out the information.9

Glutamate Containing Foods

According to the research of Zhou et al in the Journal of Neural Transmission,53 glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the human body and may play a contributory role concerning depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. Amino acids work together in an intricate balance, continually self-adjusting in the quest to keep the body functioning as it should. While glutamate is an important neurotransmitter, excess glutamate appears to throw a wrench into the works. A hypothesis of glutamate dysregulation is described in Biomolecules Journal In 2015 which discusses how excess glutamate becomes neurotoxic. For instance, high concentrations of glutamate were found in the cerebral spinal fluid of persons with OCD. The blood-brain barrier keeps glutamate from entering the brain directly. The body has built-in controls, such as GABA, which can help balance excess glutamates. A proactive way to avoid excess glutamate is to be aware of foods containing MSG, as glutamate is the main component.10,11,32

Aspartame

Neurophysiologic symptoms connected to the artificial sweetener Aspartame are discussed in Choudhary et al’s research in Nutritional Neuroscience. These reactions include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and unstable mood. Choudhary discusses how aspartame inhibits the synthesis and release of neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The result is potentially a dysregulation of neurophysiologic activity, making eliminating Aspartame from the diet an effective Librium alternative. 12

Ketogenic Diet

Research authors Maalouf et al discuss the neuroprotective properties of ketones in their Brain Research Reviews.13 Ketones are elevated on a ketogenic diet. Although the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, this type of diet has been successfully used for decades to treat epilepsy, schizophrenia, and other neurological disorders and symptoms.

Toxins, Heavy Metals, and Anxiety

stabilize brain chemistry

Alternative to Meds’ drug treatment program discovers in most cases of anxiety that the person has an accumulation of toxins including heavy toxic metals that are causing overstimulation to their nervous system. Benzodiazepines are the medications that we most commonly address as an unsupported withdrawal may be virtually impossible. The British Medical Journal reported on a case where chemical exposure to a degreaser while in the Navy caused debilitating anxiety, leaving 20 years’ worth of doctors and psychiatrists puzzled until the true cause was discovered.18 We use a wide variety of cleansing methods and strategies to help clients return to natural mental health without drugs. Cleansing these toxins has proven highly efficacious in the treatment of anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms that were not resolved with benzos, making cleansing a preferred alternative to Librium.

Lead and Cadmium Involved in Anxiety Pathogenesis

toxic metals testingTesting for heavy metal exposure may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering alternatives to Librium or other drugs. But it could be one of the most important. The general public is probably most aware of mercury as a potential neurotoxin. But other heavy metals such as lead and cadmium are also implicated in mental health according to over 400 articles reviewed in the 2014 North American Journal of Medical Sciences. High concentrations of lead and cadmium were found linked to symptoms of depression and phobic anxiety in adult women, for example. In another study authored by Kim et al in 2013, lead exposure was shown linked to clinical ADHD.14,56

Testing for and removal of accumulations of toxic lead, cadmium, and others is a recommended action for health improvement.

Mercury Exposure and Anxiety, Memory Loss, and Depression

Could some psychiatric disorders and symptoms actually be reactions to toxic exposure to mercury? Heyer et al published research in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences in 2004 that discussed the liabilities of long-term low-level mercury exposure in human populations. In particular, dentists and dental hygienists were surveyed and compared to a non-occupationally exposed population. The results showed an increased presentation of psychiatric symptoms such as memory loss, depression, and anxiety.15, 17 An alternative to Librium might be testing for such accumulations before opting for a prescription drug. If discovered, there are methods to cleanse these toxins from the body, and this is an important step in Alternative to Meds Center programs.

Physical Treatments for Anxiety and Insomnia

Massage

Sherman et al published a randomized, controlled, 68-person, 12-week trial in 2010 that demonstrated significant decreases in anxiety and depression. All participants receiving the massage sessions had a prior diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. Remarkably, even at 26-week follow-ups, all of their gains had been maintained with no relapse.19

Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture — Alternatives to Librium

The Journal of Medical Acupuncture reported on actual cases where TCM and acupuncture provided relief to persons with GAD, PTSD, and insomnia.

In an extensive review of the medical literature on acupuncture, researchers have reported there is good scientific evidence for the efficacy of acupuncture in treating anxiety, without the side effects of conventional (drug) treatment.20, 21

Food & Chemical Allergies and Mental Health

Testing for food & chemical allergies is another good Librium alternative strategy. While researchers are somewhat divided on whether foods can cause psychiatric symptoms, ( the “it’s all in your head” school of thought51 ) there is enough evidence to support taking a cautious approach at the very least to protect against adverse reactions such as anxiety or a feeling of impending doom, as reported by Food Allergy Canada.50

Supplements Used as Librium Alternatives

Food choices can be bolstered with the use of targeted supplementation. Research can help determine the best selection of supplements that will work best for your body. A sampling is given below.

Passiflora

Akhondzadeh et al found that Passiflora extract was as effective as oxazepam in managing symptoms of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). The researchers cited a great advantage of Passiflora extract over benzodiazepines because Passiflora extract did not have a negative impact on job performance and oxazepam did have a negative impact.28

Kava
According to Lakhan et al, evidence shows the herbal supplement kava is effective as an anxiolytic agent that is non-addictive and without the undesirable side effects of prescription drugs.25,27

GABA

GABA is a natural amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter. Foods that are high in GABA include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, etc.) shiitake mushrooms, regular and sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and many other foods. Much research has been done showing the benefits of GABA and especially supplementation when a deficiency may exist, for reducing symptoms like anxiety and stress.30-32, 52

Taurine

Taurine is a natural amino acid created in the liver, that has significant nutritional value for heart health, regulation of gene expression, regulating weight, protection against muscular dystrophy, and many other functions throughout the body. Taurine is found in high concentrations almost everywhere in the body ( unless a deficiency exists ) and has a protective, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory effect on cells. It also has a CNS calming effect similar to GABA, another inhibitory neurotransmitter, making it an ideal alternative to Librium-type drugs. Taurine has been found helpful in treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntingdon’s, and Parkinson’s. Mother’s milk contains high concentrations of taurine. Supplementation and ample consumption of certain proteins such as shellfish and dark turkey meat can be helpful in remedying a taurine deficiency.29

Glycine

The amino acids in the body act in a coordinated “dance” with other types of molecules. For example, one of the characteristics of glycine is that it can shut down excess norepinephrine, an excitatory neurotransmitter, hence its profound calming effects.33,34

Niacinamide

Research such as Jonathan Prousky’s case study published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine has confirmed the potent anti-anxiety effects of niacinamide. Niacinamide’s anti-anxiety characteristics are as potent as benzodiazepines but act along completely pathways in the CNS. Hospital News in 2005 also concluded that B3, or niacinamide (a niacin variant), appears to express this calming property by modulating neurotransmitters commonly unbalanced in anxiety.34, 54

L-lysine L-arginine

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in Japan demonstrated that a combination of L-lysine and L-arginine reduced mental stress and anxiety and reduced the “stress hormone”, cortisol.35

Magnesium

Keeping the internal world of the body properly supplied with minerals is a profitable health strategy. For example, low serum levels of magnesium can result in elevated stress, headache, “fight or flight” response, elevated blood pressure, and other undesirable symptoms. These are like the alarm bells going off. Keeping magnesium intake adequate is a very good alternative to Librium or other drugs that are only capable of deafening us to the sound of those alarm bells. 39, 55

CBD

Cannabidiol or CBD is shining in a bright spotlight for its health benefits. Cannabidiol contains no THC, hence its broad potential for medical use. Neurotherapeutics in 2015 published “strong evidence” supporting CBD as effective for generalized anxiety, panic disorders, social anxiety disorder, OCD, and PTSD. A large case study published in The Permanente Journal in 2019 showed efficacy in treating insomnia as well as pain, and a variety of neurological disorders without presenting toxic side effects. Does any other medication cover such a wide range of approval, with such a non-toxic bill of health? 37, 56

Melatonin

Melatonin is a popular, over-the-counter supplement for sleep. It is also found naturally occurring in tart cherries, eggs, and fish. Serotonin is a precursor for melatonin. Dairy products, salmon, turkey, nuts, and seeds added to the diet can help boost serotonin production. Studies show improved sleep as well as other benefits such as helping to make withdrawal from neuroleptic drugs easier.38, 39

Tryptophan, 5-HTP

5-HTP contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter. You can find tryptophan in supplements (like 5-HTP), and also in fruits, meats, dairy products, seeds, etc. As a precursor to serotonin, tryptophan helps regulate sleep, reduces anxiety, among other functions in the healthy body.40, 41

Valerian

The extract of valerian root has calming properties similar to benzodiazepines but does not use the same receptor sites that benzodiazepines bind to, and is considered an effective, safe alternative to Librium. 42

Toxic Mold Syndrome

A person exposed to toxic mold such as from living in a damp house, may be subjecting themselves to symptoms that are related to this type of exposure. Symptoms to watch for range from headache and memory loss to asthma and depression.44,45

Find out more on this often overlooked subject by reading Mold Warriors: Fighting America’s Hidden Health Threat by Ritchie C. Shoemaker.43

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a particularly nasty form of torture. A chronic sleep deficit can make life feel torturous. You can use sleep supplements such as melatonin, improve the diet to include precursors to sleep hormones as mentioned above, and you can design your sleep environment to be more conducive to rest. Removing electronics, blue-light, EMF and Wi-Fi devices, using black-out curtains are some suggestions that may help.46,47

Talk Therapy – A Proven Alternative to Librium

There are studies such as DeRubeis et al’s work published in Natural Rev Neurosci illustrating CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy has at least the same if not better therapeutic outcomes compared to conventional drug therapy. Other evidence is also presented showing that positive results from CBT last much longer than drug therapy, and relapse happens less frequently.48

Thought Field Therapies (TFT)

As adjunctive therapy to any anxiety treatment or used alone during bouts of anxiety, breath-work, relaxation training, meditation, and yoga can be incredibly helpful. Thought Field Therapies (TFT) and other types of Energy Psychology have also been found to be immensely useful for therapeutic management of anxiety or other conditions. Clinical trials show that TFT produces significant decreases in anxiety and also that these improvements continue for long after the treatment is received. Clients receive treatment that is entirely customized to meet their needs.49, 58

Holistic Librium Alternatives at Alternative to Meds Center

natural ways of getting off libriumMany individuals seek Librium alternatives treatment for a more effective way to relieve their symptoms. Some are looking for natural alternatives to drug-based therapy. Mild anxiety can often respond exceptionally well to talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. In order to relieve symptoms, numerous natural Librium alternatives may be used in conjunction for a more effective overall result. As an example, symptoms of anxiety are addressed with various health disciplines such as acupuncture, massage, vitamins, and nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, dietary considerations, careful tapering programs with holistic neurochemical support, and other Librium alternatives such as those found on our services page.

Contact the Alternative to Meds Center

At Alternative to Meds Center, our individualized approach to discontinuing medication and addressing underlying problems has helped thousands of our clients. Coming off benzodiazepines which includes dealing with original symptoms, has been observed in many clinical environments to be extremely difficult to endure, causing persons to give up in despair.5 Rapid discontinuation of medication is usually risky, and not effective in alleviating the real problem. For example, anxiousness stays present even if the drug is absent. This is our specialty and our goal is to help you get your health back, safely and comfortably.

Our overall goal is to produce lasting success. We teach clients how to live the rest of their lives healthier and happier without drugs. An admissions counselor is available now to answer your questions about treatments, costs, insurance coverage, our facilities, and more. We invite you to call us for more information about how Librium alternatives can be made available for you or your loved one without delay.


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This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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