Prescription Drug Abuse: Ativan

If a loved one has been suffering from the social and physical effects of anxiety, there is a chance they have been prescribed Ativan (a brand name version of lorazepam). This is a very helpful drug that, if used correctly, can mitigate the crippling symptoms of anxiety and help the sufferer reclaim a normal life. But it can also lead to addiction, with serious side effects, including increased dependence on other substances, such as alcohol. This addiction, combined with the continued anxiety, can be an extremely dangerous combination.

If a loved one is suffering from addiction or problems caused by Ativan, please connect with us today.

Symptoms and Warning Signs of Ativan Addiction

One of the strongest benzodiazepine drugs that can be prescribed, Ativan works very quickly to calm nerves and suppress the symptoms of anxiety. This power, though, makes addiction and abuse more likely, since it has a deeper chemical impact on the brain.

Dosages are carefully designed to try to avoid addiction, but some people take the medication for longer than prescribed or take more. This increases the chance of addiction, but there are still cases where people become addicted after following their doctor’s orders precisely. This is because they become dependent on it to get through the day-to-day, and that can develop into a physical need.

Using too much Ativan often makes the person seem impaired by alcohol: slurred speech, lack of coordination, and even ataxia (loss of bodily control). Other symptoms of excessive use include:

  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting

The Dangers of Addiction

There are two main dangers of addiction to Ativan. The first is that it increases the chances of becoming addicted to other substances, particularly alcohol. These two substances are then self-reinforcing. When combined, they produce a powerful high, which is dangerous enough on its own, capable of creating an “instant blackout,” which can lead to bad and dangerous decisions. The presence of alcohol keeps Ativan in the system longer, which leads to a tightening of addiction’s vise.

Even without alcohol, there are many dangers of reliance on and abuse of alcohol, including:

  • Excessive sedation
  • Respiratory complications
  • Memory impairment
  • Seizures
  • Repeated and unexpected loss of consciousness

Getting the Right Treatment

These are all important reasons to get help for Ativan abuse. The complications of long-term alcohol abuse, such as increased chance of stroke, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s, various kinds of cancer, and more are added to the dangers listed above.

Comprehensive therapy that compassionately and professionally provides a medically-supervised detox process is what your loved one suffering from Ativan addiction needs. But treating that alone isn’t enough. They also need treatment that recognizes anxiety, the underlying cause of the addiction, and treats it simultaneously as a co-occurring disorder. Managing anxiety decreases the need for Ativan or other benzodiazepines, and lessens the chance of a return to the addictive cycle. Your loved one can take back their life by getting free of both anxiety and addiction.

Help your loved one regain control of their life with the committed and comprehensive care of a residential treatment center. Connect with us today to learn more.