Prescription Drug Abuse: Lorazepam Addiction
There’s a certain cruelty to lorazepam addiction. The benzodiazepine, which is most often used to treat anxiety and fear, too often becomes a crutch, which can increase the fear of the world, and make worse the life of someone who was trying to make their life more livable. For people suffering from lorazepam addiction, the highs always bring with them dangerous lows. Getting help is the only way to really be on the road to a full and independent life.
Spotting a Lorazepam Addiction
As nearly 18% of Americans suffer from one form of anxiety or another, lorazepam is one of the most widely prescribed (and abused) prescription drugs in America. As with other prescription drug addictions, there are ways to tell if someone you love is finding themselves more and more dependent on the product, far past the point where it is helping them. The key is understanding what is normal behavior, normal attachment to a substance that helps the anxious cope with the world, and what is deep dependency on it.
The signs of a lorazepam addiction can be found in the emotional state of the person, especially if they seem unable to function without lorazepam. It can also be seen in their actions regarding the drug. If their prescription runs out early because they have, on their own accord, increased the dosage, that is a dangerous sign. Trying to obtain more of the drug through legal or illegal means is not a sign that it is working, but a sign that it has taken control.
Symptoms of Lorazepam Addiction
One of the difficulties of lorazepam addiction is that some of the symptoms are positive. When it is working there is decreased stress and anxiety, and increased optimism and eagerness to engage with the world. That’s why it can be so addictive. But as that high colonizes the brain, and the dosage needs to be upped in order to replicate it, the negative side effects often also increase.
Some of the negative symptoms to be aware of include rapid mood swings, speaking problems or memory issues, intense drowsiness, and at its worst, depression, thoughts of self-harm, and suicidal ideation when not using the drug.
The Importance of Treatment
Lorazepam is generally considered a short-term drug that is only supposed to be taken for a few weeks, and is rarely prescribed for longer. When a person is addicted, however, the long-term effects can be devastating. The cycle of highs and lows can cause a spiral of depression, and in extreme cases, many people resort to criminality to obtain more. Most cruelly of all, the cycle of abuse can increase the very anxiety the drug was prescribed to help. If someone you love feels that they are dependent on it, and can’t go without lorazepam after this period, it is time to get help.
A residential treatment program, especially one that works with co-occurring disorders, can be vital in overcoming the dangers of addiction. If you’re only addressing the prescription drug abuse, the anxiety or related conditions which led to the need for lorazepam will still be there, and the cycle can easily continue. It’s important to find a program that doesn’t ignore the underlying issues, and helps to separate the drug from the feelings of self-worth and confidence. That’s the only way to break the cycle, and reduce the dependence on the short-term solution of lorazepam.