Ativan is a brand name for a prescription medication called lorazepam. The drug is classified as a benzodiazepine that’s used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. It can also be used to treat seizures and epilepsy. Benzos are useful medications, and they can be effective when taken as directed, but abusing Ativan can cause dependence, addiction, and overdose. Benzos are usually prescribed for short-term therapeutic use. When it’s taken for too long or in high doses, it can lead to chemical dependency.
A substance use disorder can grow into an addiction that’s difficult to overcome on your own. High doses can cause potentially dangerous side effects like respiratory depression. Recognizing the signs of addiction can help you avoid some of the worst consequences of the disease. Learn more about Ativan addiction and how it can be treated.
What Are The Signs Of Ativan Addiction?
Ativan addiction can occur after repeated or frequent use of the drug, especially in high doses. Addiction is a chronic disease that can affect the reward center of the brain. Your brain will treat drug use as an important, rewarding activity like eating or sleeping. Someone who’s addicted may prioritize drug use over other basic needs. Addiction is characterized by compulsive use despite consequences.
Other Signs And Symptoms Of Addiction Can Include
- Lying about drug use
- Hiding drugs
- Doctor shopping to get more Ativan
- Using more than you intended
- Needing higher and higher doses
- Using to feel normal
- Trying and failing to cut back
- Loss of control
- Mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
- Loss of interest in everyday tasks
- Struggling at work or school
What Is Involved In Ativan Addiction Treatment?
Addiction comes with a variety of causes and consequences, including mental health issues, past traumas, and medical needs. For that reason, it should be treated with a multidisciplinary approach. Treatment needs to address medical, psychological, and social needs related to addiction. Because Ativan can cause potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, treatment often starts with medical detox. Detox involves 24-hour treatment from medical professionals that lasts for about five to ten days. After detox, you may go through the lower levels of care in addiction treatment, including inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment.
How Dangerous Is Ativan?
Ativan can cause potentially deadly overdoses when it’s taken in high doses. It’s a central nervous system depressant, which means it works by suppressing excitability in the nervous system. This causes sedation, relaxation, and anti-anxiety, but it can also suppress some critical functions in high doses. Ativan, like other depressants, can slow your heart rate and your breathing during an overdose. Respiratory depression can lead to coma and death without medical intervention. An overdose is more likely if you mix Ativan with other prescription depressants, alcohol, or opioids.
Depressants like Ativan can also cause potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it abruptly. If you’ve developed a chemical dependence and then quit cold turkey, you may experience symptoms like seizures, delirium tremens, extreme confusion, heart palpitations, and chest pains. Without medical help, depressant withdrawal can be fatal.