All About Ativan Addiction and Abuse

By Addiction Helpline America
March 19, 2021

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Ativan is one of the most commonly used drugs in psychiatric and neurological medical practice. This drug is better known as Lorazepam and is prescribed to relieve anxiety, fears, and sometimes before surgery if the patient can’t overcome the fear of it on their own.

The use of the medicine according to the therapeutic standards will not harm the patient and will not cause the development of addiction. However, if taken incorrectly, this medication turns into a strong pharmaceutical addiction-trigger. In this article, you will find out some insights into the specifics of this drug, its use-cases, safety precautions, addiction risks, and the ways to deal with them. 

The Ativan Use in Medicine

Lorazepam (Ativan) is a benzodiazepine derivative that belongs to the group of tranquilizers. The drug can have sedative and anti-anxiety effects. Also, the drug can stop pain syndromes, spasms, and convulsions. Usually, the drug is used to combat the following disorders:

  • Muscle spasm.
  • Convulsions.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Increased anxiety and panic.
  • Neurosis.
  • Depressive Disorders.
  • Alcohol abstention.
  • Nausea after chemotherapy.

With the correct intake of the drug, the likelihood of benzodiazepine addiction development is very low and in most cases, the therapeutic effect for the patient outweighs this risk. A safe period of treatment is considered to be no more than a month, provided that a safe dosage is observed.

Sometimes this drug is used to relieve withdrawal symptoms, not only in alcoholism but also in drug addiction. But in this case, the supervision of the healthcare professional becomes even more essential.

What Else Should You Know About Ativan?

Since this medicine is a prescription drug, it creates a false impression of safety. That is, the patient may not understand that he/she is starting to abuse the drug. Below are the basic Ativan safety rules. 

  • The drug should be prescribed only on the recommendation of the attending physician. There are some contraindications for taking Ativan.
  • Alcohol should not be taken during treatment. Most cases of overdose occur due to the use of the drug and alcohol. Please note that overdose can be fatal.
  • It is recommended to avoid driving and performing work with equipment that has a high injury rate if you are treated with Ativan. 
  • The drug is not allowed to be used during pregnancy.

Even though this drug has a wide range of positive effects on the human body, its improper use can lead to overdose and the development of addiction. For example, in a mix with alcohol, strong intoxication begins and this combination can lead to coma or even death. On the other side, Ativan helps to suppress the effects of methadone and cocaine. For this reason, this medicine may be prescribed to treat drug addiction.

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The Beginning of Ativan Addiction Symptoms

Often, addiction begins when the therapeutic regimen is disrupted. This is not only about increasing the dosage but also the duration of use. When a person each time violates the dosage norms, then there are all the risks of addiction development.

The safe period for taking the drug is no more than 4 weeks. People who have alcohol or drug addiction should use the drug with caution, as there is a risk of developing addiction faster. Such patients should be treated with drugs in special clinics under the supervision of doctors.

But how can you recognize the onset of Ativan addiction? The following signs may point to its development:

  • A person can be in a stupor for a long time.
  • The person staggers while standing still.
  • The person experiences sharp mood changes.
  • There is the onset of aggressive behavior.
  • The patient complaints about the increased sleepiness and development of apathy.
  • The person may show a sudden onset of euphoria.
  • There are violations of speech, loss of logical connectivity, dialogue with a person becomes difficult.

The above symptoms are not a side effect, but a wake-up call that the process of addiction development has started. If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately get in touch with your doctor and talk about the changes you feel. You should not abruptly stop the intake of the drug or change the treatment scheme until the doctor tells you about it.

What is the Danger of Long-term Use of the Lorazepam (Ativan)?

Negative consequences on the body occur when the intake dosage and duration are exceeded. It is a starting point when addiction begins to develop. If the treatment is carried out strictly according to the doctor's recommendations, then the body can function normally without significant disturbances. The following complications may arise as a result of Ativan abuse:

  • Liver dysfunction and renal failure.
  • Thrombosis and phlebitis.
  • Amnesia, dizziness, muscle weakness.
  • Loss of appetite and nausea.

Side effects after taking the drug can vary depending on the characteristics of each organism and the presence of other health problems.

What Are the Ativan Overdose Symptoms?

With the development of drug addiction, the risk of overdose increases. During the development of addiction, a person ceases to control the dose of the drug and an overdose is more likely to occur. It is not so easy to identify an overdose, since the symptoms are similar to those that occur against the background of the development of addiction. Here are the main symptoms:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Weakness.
  • Confusion of consciousness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • The slowdown of the heart.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • The opposite effect of the drug. That is, the person becomes even more anxious than before getting started with Ativan.
  • Sudden surges of aggression.

The first aid for an overdose of the drug is gastric lavage and the use of adsorbents. In case of an overdose, it is necessary to urgently consult a doctor, as complications may arise. Immediate therapy for other organs may be required.

Is It Possible to Get Rid of Addiction On Your Own?

Even if a person made an independent decision to stop taking the drug, it is almost impossible to do it on their own. It's all about the abstention that occurs after the cancellation of the intake. To combat this addiction, there is a need to find a rehab. Usually, addiction treatment occurs using the following manipulations:

  • Immediate hospitalization.
  • Cancellation of taking the drug.
  • Detox therapy.
  • Treating symptoms.
  • The beginning of rehabilitation treatment.

But besides the rehabilitation treatment of the body, it is vital to remember about mental health. Unfortunately, Ativan can have a destructive effect on the human psyche too. The rehab provides all the necessary help for stabilizing physical and mental states as well.

The Bottom Line

The emergence of addiction after taking Ativan requires immediate treatment. Do not rely on your strength, but immediately contact the specialists from a quality rehab center for additional treatment. Timely treatment of addiction guarantees less harm to the body and a quick recovery.

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