Ativan, whose generic name is lorazepam, is a medication used to treat anxiety. It is a benzodiazepine drug. Like other medications that lie within this class, it has high abuse potential. Benzodiazepines can affect the brain in the process of minimizing anxiety, so they can do more harm than good if the person develops an addiction.
Ativan is a potent drug whose impact is felt in the body quickly. Continuous intake of Ativan leads to misuse, and one may eventually become dependent on it. Dependency on the drug for a long time leads to Ativan addiction. Therefore, your body will keep on craving more and more of it even when its effects are causing issues.
What Is Ativan & Ativan Addiction?
Ativan is a short-term drug whose primary purpose is to treat people struggling with anxiety. The drug can also treat seizures, insomnia, and other mental health disorders.
Being a potent benzodiazepine, the risk of abusing it is high. Using this drug for an extended period may result in addiction.
The drug works by inflating the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body. GABA is a neurotransmitter; hence when acted upon by Ativan, it will limit your body’s ability to perceive anxiety and stress. Typically, Ativan will boost GABA performance by reducing the communication between neurons. The result is a calming effect.
What Are the Effects of Ativan?
Ativan is a legal drug that people often take with a prescription. It can be hard to determine whether you are using this medication as advised or abusing the drug, especially when you take it contrary to the doctor’s prescription.
Using greater amounts than the prescribed dosage and using it for a longer period is considered abuse and can lead to problems with addiction. The effect of Ativan is that it will balance the chemicals in the brain that are known to induce anxiety. Taking it in high doses will give the user a “high” feeling, followed by a state of calmness.
Like any other drug, Ativan also has side effects, even when taken as per the prescription. Some of the side effects one may experience include:
- Inability to coordinate
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty in concentration
- Changes in appetite
Is Ativan Addictive?
Yes, it is easy to become addicted to this drug. However, if you are using the drug as prescribed under the care of a medical professional, you are less likely to experience addiction issues. Ativan is mainly prescribed for short durations after a highly stressful event. Usually, the maximum period that most doctors recommend for taking it is a few weeks to four months. Taking this medication longer than this will increase the chances of you being addicted to it.
What Are the Signs of Ativan Overdose?
Taking Ativan in excess amounts or taking it without prescription is overdosing. Identifying if a person is overdosing on Ativan is challenging, particularly when their bodies are used to it. Usually, such people will function well even when they are under the drug’s influence. However, when they try to withdraw from the drug, the side effects will kick in harder.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse report shows that lorazepam is among the 30 percent of opioid-related overdoses.
When Ativan is used in large doses, it slows down the central nervous system’s functioning and may lead to death. Some of the signs of an overdose include:
- Slurred speech
- Muscle weakness
- Passing out
- Low blood pressure
When Ativan is combined with alcohol, overdoses are likely to occur. The combination may result in more severe effects. Usually, when alcohol is used alongside other depressant drugs, it boosts the sedative effects. These sedative effects may result in respiratory failure, coma, and in extreme cases, may cause death.
What Are the Signs of Ativan Addiction?
Addiction happens when you form a physical dependence on the drug, and it may become hard for your body to function without it. If you try to stop taking the drug, your body will exhibit symptoms that make you take more.
The symptoms of Ativan abuse and addiction are similar to those of other drugs. They include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Mental confusion
- Loss of appetite
- Centering your thoughts on using Ativan
- Inability to stop using the drug
Behavioral Signs of Ativan Addiction
Any form of addiction is likely to have a psychological impact on you and change your way of life. The same is true for Ativan addiction. Continuous intake of Ativan may alter your character.
One noticeable change is a change in your interaction with people. For example, social people may want to spend more time in isolation. Such people may find it hard to open up about anything they are going through with the fear that others might misjudge them. You may become quickly irritable if you begin craving the drug.
Doctor shopping is also common among Ativan addicts. Here, the person will go out looking for different doctors who will prescribe the drug to them. They will go out of their way to travel long distances to get more than one prescription or a new prescription when their time limit expires.
Addicts struggle in mental, physical, and emotional health but are still hooked to using the drug. Drug use disorder can take a toll on your health. People who are addicted to certain drugs will keep using them even when they experience health problems.
How Ativan Addiction Affects Priorities
The person may face financial challenges, forcing them to steal or go to great lengths to buy the drug. Ativan is expensive, and the fact that it is offered through prescription makes it hard to get. Because insurance will limit the amount of the drug you can take, you’ll pay more out of pocket for the drug as well.
One may be spending so much of their time using the drug. If you find you or your loved one consuming much of their time using the drug, it is a sign that they are addicted.
A person addicted to Ativan will compromise their responsibilities over the drug. They will forget their essential duties such as family, work, or school jobs because they overly consume the drug. This may result in broken families and may even cause users to lose their jobs.
Ativan Abuse Statistics
Ativan (lorazepam) misuse is on the rise in the United States. Cases of overdose and death brought about by drugs from the benzodiazepines class, including Ativan, increase each day.
Since 1996, the prescription rate of this drug has increased by 30 percent. Also, benzodiazepines are the second-highest prescription drugs that lead to death by overdose in the United States after opioids.
Between 1999 and 2021, deaths that resulted from an overdose of benzodiazepines increased fourfold. Between 1996 to 2013, the number of prescriptions from these drugs (including Ativan) doubled. This report indicates that there has been a substantive increase in the number of people using the drug.
Treatment for Ativan Addiction
Ativan addiction is different from other types of addiction. Therefore, its treatment program may be different. It can be difficult to stop the drug cold turkey and even harder to stop without support.
Seeking help from a good rehab center will help you fight the addiction. At Granite Recovery Centers, you can get the help you need.
A successful treatment program for Ativan addiction will always begin with a detox program. This program aims to eliminate any traces of Ativan in your body. A medical professional will guide you through this withdrawal phase. Medical detox will mark the first step to your recovery. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
At Granite Recovery Centers, our medical professional will monitor your health through the withdrawal phase until the last traces of Ativan are out of your body. Withdrawing drugs from your body is challenging, and the side effects may get worse. The severe withdrawal symptoms may trigger your relapsing. Getting help from a qualified medical professional will help you fight the situation safely.
Residential Treatment Program
On successful completion of the detox program, the person may now move to the residential treatment program. Whether or not a user needs to go to this program depends on the severity of their addiction. This program will be ideal for patients whose addiction is high. In this program, you will have 24-hour support. At Granite Recovery Centers, you will have assistance from the doctors and therapists who will work with you on a tailored recovery plan.
The journey to fighting addiction can be lonely. In a residential treatment program, you can interact with people struggling with addiction just like you. Granite Recovery Centers seeks to give you comprehensive care that will ensure that you fight through the journey.
Being in a residential treatment center will help you forget your other struggles. Be it a broken relationship or your financial crisis. Here, you only have one thing to worry about, your recovery.
However, if your addiction is not severe, you can opt for the outpatient treatment program. Granite Recovery Centers offer the same treatment sessions as that of the residential treatment program. However, you may not get 24-hour support as the person who stays in the rehab center. The program is best if you can still manage your everyday life, such as a family or career.
Therapy is an essential step to healing. You can access therapy sessions even if you are in the outpatient program. Some therapy sessions you may get include group therapy sessions and individual therapy sessions.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment therapy that helps the client get better by analyzing their thoughts and feelings regarding Ativan. Through this session, the therapist will understand your struggle and why you are using Ativan. The experts there will show you different coping mechanisms that will help you live without the drug.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we incorporate the therapy session with the 12-step program. The program will help you know what triggers your Ativan use, the behaviors that result from use, and the drug’s impact on you and your loved ones. As such, you will develop a structure and design that you will adopt for your sober living. Granite Recovery Centers extensively follows the 12-step program as part of your treatment program, which works well for most addictions.
Addiction hits people differently, so the care that each person requires needs to be different. The choice of having a special individual counseling session is one thing you need to check before selecting a rehab center. Having a person listen to you alone plays a huge role in your recovery. At Granite Recovery Centers, you are guaranteed an individual counseling session that will help you stay on the right track.
Granite Recovery Centers want you to recover completely. We will be proud to see you stable and being able to lead a normal life. The recovery journey does not stop when you finish the treatment program. Even after this, there are chances that you may relapse.
It can be challenging and stressful trying to transition back to the real world. Our aftercare program will help you during this transition and offer you continuous support to achieve lifetime sobriety. The aftercare program acts as a bridge between recovery and normal, independent living. It will ensure that your transition back to normal is safe and helps you put new stress responses in place as you rediscover the difficulties of living without drugs.
Ativan addiction is something that many people struggle with, and trying to fight it alone can be challenging. Seeking help from a qualified rehab center will ensure that you successfully get the drug out of your body. Then, you will learn the coping mechanisms that will help you avoid triggers to relapsing. At Granite Recovery Centers, we will even help you transition into the normal world. We root for your success as much as you do.