Information on Ativan Addiction and Abuse
Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam,
a potent and fast-acting benzodiazepine that is often
prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication.
Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam, a potent and fast-acting benzodiazepine that is often prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication. It can also help treat other ailments such as insomnia and epilepsy.
However, like most benzodiazepines, Ativan has a high potential for abuse and addiction. After a certain length of time, further consumption of this drug becomes dangerous. Eventually, a person taking this as their prescription may develop dependence and drug tolerance.
In 2011, more than 27 million prescriptions for Ativan were written. That same year, around 50,000 people ended up in the emergency room due to lorazepam complications. 95 percent of the patients admitted to the hospital for benzodiazepine abuse were also abusing another substance.
In fact, Ativan even has street names such as goofballs, heavenly blues, stupefy, or simply benzos. Abusing this benzodiazepine is common among recreational drug users because of the high it can produce. Unfortunately, even those who are taking Ativan as a prescription medication can become addicted to it after some time.
Some people are more vulnerable to its effects than others. Factors such as genetics and medical history come into play. People with a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse or untreated mental health disorders are at a greater risk for developing an Ativan addiction, for example. A person’s environment also influences their reaction to these drugs.
Ativan Addiction and Its Effects
Those who are addicted to Ativan may experience intense cravings. One of the primary traits of addiction is the inability to cease taking drugs even when they are already experiencing its adverse effects. They will compulsively seek out the drug, neglecting their responsibilities in favor of drug use.
As a depressant, Ativan slows down brain activity, making the user feel more relaxed and putting them in a state of euphoria—which is what causes them to get hooked. But large doses of this drug can slow down heart rate and breathing to the point where it stops completely. Benzodiazepine overdose can therefore be fatal.
Signs of an Ativan overdose include mental confusion, slurred speech, lethargy, loss of control of body movements, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, slow breathing, passing out, and coma. If the person exhibits any of these symptoms after taking Ativan, seek medical help immediately.
Most overdoses occur when Ativan is taken in combination with another drug, including alcohol. Because it seems harmless as a prescription drug, it is a prime candidate for accidental and intentional abuse. Misusing a doctor’s prescription or doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions of the same drug is also considered abuse.
Beyond addiction’s many adverse physical and mental health effects, there are also social, legal, and financial consequences that affect the addicted individual. They may isolate themselves from their loved ones, ruining relationships and losing friends. Their career may also suffer as they struggle with work and their usual obligations.
Addiction also makes the person more likely to engage in risky behavior, making bad decisions that can get them into dangerous situations or in trouble with the law.
An addicted person will eventually need more Ativan to produce the same effects. Their body will develop tolerance, meaning they will need to take more of the drug just to get the same high. Long term abuse may lead to dependence, which means that the body has adjusted to the constant presence of Ativan. At this point, if the person attempts to quit, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Even if they desire to quit, withdrawal will make it much more difficult for them. They need medical assistance in order to properly detox from the benzodiazepine.
Although Ativan is used to treat panic attacks and other short term anxiety or depression symptoms, its long term effectiveness has not been confirmed.
Common Ativan Drug Combinations
Ativan is often abused alongside other drugs to enhance its sedative effects, which as we mentioned above, can lead to fatal results. Recreational users sometimes take it with cocaine and amphetamines.
Methadone is a particularly dangerous combination for Ativan because they boost each other’s effects. Both depressants combined can lead to a potentially fatal overdose caused by respiratory failure. Alcohol combined with Ativan can produce a quick and potent high that can lead to over-sedation, respiratory failure, coma, and even death.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.