Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that slow down activity in the central nervous system. These substances are only available by prescription, primarily for the treatment of anxiety conditions, seizure disorders, and insomnia. While benzodiazepines can be effective in many different medicinal uses, they can also be addictive and habit-forming.
According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), out of the 30.6 million people who use benzodiazepines, 17.2% of them abuse the medication.
Many benzodiazepines are notorious for causing addiction, including substances like Xanax or Klonopin. Another commonly abused benzodiazepine drug is called Ativan (lorazepam).
What is Ativan (Lorazepam)?
Ativan is the brand name for a prescription benzodiazepine drug called lorazepam. It is primarily used to treat anxiety disorders and seizure conditions like epilepsy. Lorazepam may come in a tablet, an extended-release pill, or as a liquid.
Lorazepam can be used to treat the following conditions:
- Anxiety and panic disorder
- Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
- Nausea from cancer treatments
While Ativan can be used for a variety of conditions, you can develop a dependency and a tolerance for the drug. As a result, you should always follow your doctor’s directions and refrain from taking the substance long-term.
Ativan can cause a variety of side effects, including:
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Weakness or unsteadiness
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Restlessness and excitement
- Blurry vision
- Changes in sex drive
If you are prescribed Ativan, you should never take more than the intended dose. Increasing your dose of Ativan without being instructed to by a doctor can lead to an addiction. Additionally, you could accidentally take too much and suffer a life-threatening overdose.
Can You Get Addicted to Ativan?
Ativan is only intended for short-term use because it can lead to dependency and addiction when taken long-term. However, since it causes feelings of drowsiness, dizziness, and even euphoria, people tend to abuse it. Once you misuse Ativan regularly, you will begin to develop a tolerance that causes you to continuously increase your dose to feel the same effects. Over time, you may develop dependence, too, leading to the development of withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking the drug.
Many people who are addicted to Ativan choose to mix the medication with other substances like alcohol to experience a more intense high. Mixing Ativan with alcohol or other drugs can substantially increase the risk of overdose and other adverse side effects.
Mixing Ativan with other substances like alcohol can result in:
- Reduced coordination
- Severe drowsiness or sedation
- Impaired cognitive abilities
- Memory loss and blacking out
- Slurred speech
- Respiratory depression
Because Ativan addiction can lead to a wide variety of dangers and risks, it’s crucial to seek help from a professional drug rehab program.
Signs of Ativan Addiction
Ativan addiction can be difficult to spot, especially if you are concerned that a loved one is suffering from the condition. Knowing how to spot the signs of Ativan addiction can help you provide your loved one with the professional help they need promptly.
With that being said, the signs of Ativan addiction include:
- Taking larger amounts of the substance than intended
- Using Ativan longer than you are supposed to
- Running out of prescriptions too early
- Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription at a time (“doctor shopping”)
- Having the desire to quit using Ativan but being unsuccessful
- Needing to increase your dose to experience the desired effect (developing a tolerance)
- Mixing lorazepam with other substances
- Spending a great deal of time thinking about, obtaining, and using Ativan
- Continuing to use Ativan despite facing problems at work, school, or home
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you cannot use Ativan
If you or a loved one experience the above-mentioned signs of Ativan addiction, it’s time to seek help. A professional drug rehab program can provide you with the support and tools you need to achieve long-term sobriety.
Should You Seek Detox for Ativan Addiction?
When you become addicted to Ativan, your body grows accustomed to the presence of the substance. Your brain also adjusts and begins functioning in a manner to support the amount of Ativan in your system. If you suddenly stop consuming Ativan, your brain and body will go into withdrawal.
Unfortunately, benzodiazepines like Ativan can cause extremely severe withdrawal symptoms, sometimes life-threatening without proper medical assistance. As a result, you should always seek help from a medical detox program.
The symptoms of Ativan withdrawal include:
- Memory issues
- Difficulty concentrating
- Uncontrollable shaking or tremors
- Changes in mental health such as depression
- Aggressive behavior
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions
- Agitation or overexcitement
- Cravings for Ativan
Thankfully, benzodiazepine detox programs can provide you with medications and treatments that soothe your withdrawal symptoms, prevent cravings, and keep you medically stable and healthy throughout the entire process.
Find Help for Ativan Abuse
If you or a loved one require treatment for Ativan addiction, look no further. At Arise Treatment Center, we understand that each person is unique, and we approach the treatment of addiction with that in mind. Individualized levels of care are designed around each person’s specific needs. Through a combination of evidence-based and holistic treatment programs, we can help you break the cycle of addiction once and for all and guide you on your journey toward a happy and healthier life in recovery.
To learn more about our Ativan detox and addiction treatment program, contact Arise Treatment Center today.
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Adults in the United States, Retrieved August 2023 From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30554562/
- Medline Plus: Lorazepam, Retrieved August 2023 From https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682053.html