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Ativan Addiction

Ativan is a trade name drug for Lorazepam. As a benzodiazepine, it causes a wide variety of effects. Some of these effects are useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, panic disorders, anxiety linked to depression, and insomnia.

Although Ativan comes with some medical uses, you may start abusing it. This would be if you took it without a valid prescription or without following the express instructions that your doctor issued when they gave you a prescription for the drug.

About Ativan

Doctors typically prescribe Ativan (or Lorazepam) for the treatment of panic and anxiety disorders. The drug is also used for patients who have trouble falling asleep due to one disorder or the other.

Even so, you need to understand that you should not take Ativan in the long term. For this reason, your doctor will typically limit your prescription for a couple of weeks at most. However, the drug can still because you to develop a substance use disorder, even if you took it exactly as your doctor instructed.

The medication can also be prescribed for other conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  • As an adjunctive treatment for manic bipolar disorder
  • Chronic sleep problems
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Psychosis linked to abrupt alcohol withdrawal
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting as a result of chemotherapy and taking cancer drugs

Since it is a long acting benzodiazepine, Ativan should not be used for longer than 4 months at any given time. This is also due to the fact that the medication is also highly potent.

The drug works by blocking GABA - or gamma-aminobutyric acid - neurotransmitters in the brain. By so doing, it slows down hyperactive psychological processes. It is also available as a tablet that dissolves quickly as well as a colorless concentrated liquid.

When a doctor prescribes it for you, you should only consume Ativan orally. However, the liquid form of the drug should be administered intravenously through an IV drip by healthcare professionals.

When you take this medication, you will only feel its full effects between - of a hour and 2 hours. It would also take anywhere between 20 and 100 hours for it to leave your system for good.

You also need to understand that Ativan is one of the most addictive benzodiazepines available on the market today. For this reason, a prescribing doctor will typically ask you about your history of substance abuse - if any - and other addiction issues that you or other members of your family might have.

The drug also comes with various medical issues. These include but are not limited to profound memory loss, accidental injury, impaired muscular coordination, and mild skin irritation.

Other Names for Ativan

On the streets, people refer to Ativan by various names to avoid detection by authorities including law enforcement officials. Examples of these street names include:

  • Benzos
  • Downers
  • Goofballs
  • Roofies
  • Stupefy
  • Tranks

Signs and Symptoms of Ativan Addiction

If you have been abusing Ativan, you may develop tolerance and dependence - both psychological and physical. Once you become addicted to this drug, you will start displaying the following behavioral, biological, psychological, and physical symptoms of a substance use disorder:

  • A fatal overdose when you combine it with other drugs like alcohol
  • Anorexic symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Asking others for their Ativan tablets
  • Becoming preoccupied with using or acquiring the drug
  • Blurred vision
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Consuming Ativan longer than you had planned or anticipated
  • Continued Ativan use in spite of the fact that it has been worsening your health problems
  • Difficulty speaking clearly
  • Dizziness
  • Doctor shopping to get more prescriptions for the medication
  • Drowsiness
  • Engaging in physically hazardous actions while under the influence of this drug
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Failing to follow through with your obligations at work, home, or school
  • Financial issues
  • Getting into risky or dangerous situations in the course of your drug taking
  • Growing tolerance for the drug
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Inability to stop using this drug without medical assistance
  • Inhibited decision-making
  • Insomnia
  • Isolation
  • Issues with friends and family due to ongoing Ativan abuse
  • Labored breathing
  • Legal problems linked to Ativan use
  • Losing interest in things that used to matter to you in the past
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lying about your drug use
  • Memory problems
  • Mental confusion
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Nausea
  • No longer participating in the activities that once used to interest you
  • Over-sleeping
  • Passing out
  • Persistent interpersonal problems due to your growing addiction
  • Physical weakness
  • Poor coordination
  • Powerful cravings for the drug
  • Reduced interest in essential recreational, social, and occupational activities
  • Respiratory troubles
  • Searching for Ativan over the internet
  • Seizures
  • Social isolation
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Using the drug as your primary coping mechanism
  • Vomiting

Short and Long-Term Effects of Ativan Abuse

You will not develop Ativan addiction overnight. Instead, it will come about as a result of taking this medication over a long time period. Even if you have been using it exactly as your doctor recommended, there is a high risk that you could become addicted to it.

Addiction will first start once you develop tolerance to Ativan. This means that you will need to use the medication in higher doses or for longer than you used to before you can experience its pleasurable effects.

Over time, tolerance will be replaced by physical and psychological dependence. Once this happens, you could be said to be struggling with a substance use disorder, or Ativan addiction.

The following are some of the short and long term side effects that you stand to suffer as a result of abusing this drug:

  • A sense of intense calm
  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Blurred vision
  • Cessation of breathing that could lead to death
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Death
  • Decreased worry
  • Depressed respiratory rate
  • Depression
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Excessive sedation
  • Fatigue (both mental and physical)
  • Feelings of calm
  • Forgetfulness
  • General confusion
  • Improved satisfaction with your life
  • Increased ability to fall sleep
  • Increased anxiety levels
  • Increased depression
  • Issues with cognition
  • Issues with your kidneys
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Lowered ability to focus and concentrate
  • Memory impairment
  • Mental relaxation
  • Mouth sores
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Paranoia
  • Personality changes
  • Physical relaxation
  • Poor ability to make good decisions
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor motor skills
  • Problems with learning
  • Rash
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory failure
  • Sedation
  • Seizures
  • Skin irritation
  • Slowed response time
  • Slurred speech
  • Speaking problems.
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Worsening anxiety

Ativan Overdose

At some point in the course of your Ativan abuse, you make consume a dose that is heavy or high enough to lead to a drug overdose. When this happens, you could start displaying the following symptoms of overdose:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of proper motor coordination
  • Loss of control over your body movements
  • Low blood pressure
  • Memory problems
  • Mental confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Passing out
  • Slow breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors
  • Weakness

If you suffer any of these effects, it is recommended that you call 911 or your local poisons control center as soon as possible. This is because a severe case of Ativan overdose could prove to be fatal, particularly if you combined it with other drugs like alcohol.

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

If you abruptly stop using Ativan or significantly reduce the dose that you have become used to after developing addiction, there is a high risk that you could suffer the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in perception
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Delirium
  • Depersonalization
  • Depression
  • Derealization
  • Dizziness
  • Drug cravings
  • Dry retching
  • Flulike symptoms
  • Hallucinations
  • Hand tremors
  • Headaches
  • Higher levels of anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Moderate weight loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle pains
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Problems concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Sweating
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Tingling of the toes, hands, fingers, or feet
  • Tremors
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vertigo
  • Vomiting
  • Worried thoughts

Most of these symptoms are similar to the same symptoms that you would have displayed if you were struggling with an anxiety disorder. As a result, you may misinterpret them as a return of your anxiety.

If you have been taking this drug for depression or an anxiety related issue, you may start believing that this condition has returned because you have stopped taking Ativan. However, the truth is that you will be suffering from the drug's withdrawal symptoms.

Often, these withdrawal symptoms will come up anywhere between 1 and 4 days after you have stopped abusing the benzodiazepine medications. In some cases, however, you may suffer prolonged withdrawal that could last 10 to 14 days.

The important thing is that you seek medically managed detox services to ensure that you do not suffer too much from your Ativan withdrawal syndrome. This is particularly true because this syndrome could turn out to be dangerous.

The Best Options for Ativan Addiction Treatment

Ativan addiction treatment is provided on both an inpatient and an outpatient basis. You should go for thorough evaluation and assessment at the start of your drug rehab so that you can receive advice on the best form of addiction treatment that could help you overcome your Ativan abuse and dependence.


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