Ativan (the trade name for lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety. The drug works by binding to GABA receptors in the brain, slowing down chemical messages. This creates a calming effect. Because the drug typically does not affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it can also be used to treat other conditions such as bipolar disorder, muscle spasms, chronic sleep problems, restlessness and symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.
Ativan Can Be Highly Addictive
Unfortunately, Ativan is not without risk. Not only are there adverse side effects to be concerned with (drowsiness, blurred vision, muscle weakness) but also the drug is addictive. This is why doctors should always take the patient’s personal history of drug abuse, if any, into consideration. Also, the drug is only meant for short-term use, usually around 3 or 4 months.
Even though people who are prescribed Ativan can still become addicted, the risk is much lower when following a doctor’s recommendations. Abusing the medication is the more likely way to become dependent. It’s common for people to get a hold of Ativan on college campuses or in the medicine cabinets of friends and family. Taking benzodiazepines in any other way than prescribed is abuse.
Physical Tolerance and Withdrawal
Ativan can cause physical dependence, just as many other drugs can. First, there’s tolerance. Once a person gets used to this sedative, they will need more and more to create the same effects. As tolerance builds, so does the risk of overdose and other complications because the person is taking more of the drug. If a person tries to stop at this point, they will most likely suffer withdrawal effects, making it difficult to stop.
The signs of Ativan withdrawal include:
Withdrawal symptoms from lorazepam can be extremely dangerous. It’s never recommended to go through the withdrawal process on your own, as the above symptoms can lead to serious complications or even death. The only way to safely recover from an Ativan addiction is to seek detox in a medically supervised facility like The River Source. Your symptoms will be managed and severe complications avoided.
What are the Signs of an Ativan Addiction?
Recognizing the signs of a lorazepam addiction are not always easy because the drug is legally prescribed. We recommend learning about the side effects of benzodiazepines and keeping an eye out for the following signs:
Doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions
Buying Ativan illegally online or on the streets
Stealing Ativan from others with legal prescriptions
Obsessing over having enough of the drug
Prescription bottles found in drawers, cabinets or the car
The River Source treats addictions to benzodiazepines such as Ativan. We have a holistic approach that addresses your physical, mental and emotional state. If you’re ready to lead a life that is free of Ativan, call us today.