Ativan Abuse and Addiction
One of the more-frequently prescribed medications for anxiety and insomnia is also one of the most addictive in its classification of benzodiazepines. Ativan is a fast-acting drug that’s effective at relieving symptoms associated with panic disorders, but harnesses a high potential for abuse and dependency.
What is Ativan Medication and How Does it Work
Ativan can be a dangerous drug when not taken exactly as prescribed and should only be used for a short period of time. Extended use of this medication can quickly lead to Ativan abuse and addiction.
Ativan uses include the treatment of epilepsy and insomnia – but most commonly – doctors prescribe Ativan for anxiety. Ativan is the most common brand name of the generic drug lorazepam.
People who are addicted to Ativan will experience symptoms, some of which are attributed to benzodiazepine withdrawal, and include:
- Interpersonal issues with friends or family
- Engagement in dangerous situations
- Failure to function and meet the responsibilities of school, work, or home obligations
- Losing interest in activities that used to be important
- Financial struggle
- Isolation from friends or family
Understanding Ativan Effects and Mechanism of Action
Lorazepam is the generic name for Ativan, which is the brand name of this popular medication used to treat:
- Depression symptoms
- Panic attacks
- Alcohol withdrawal occasionally for the management of withdrawal symptoms
Lorazepam is classified as an “intermediate-duration drug”, which means that is should rarely, if ever, be prescribed for more than four months at a time.
Lorazepam is a drug that belongs to the class of benzodiazepines, which are often referred to as “benzos” for short. Ativan and other benzos work by blocking specific neurotransmitters in the brain in order to slow mental processes and hyperactivity.
Ativan effects are typically felt about two hours after taking the medication and it takes 10 to 20 hours for the drug to completely evacuate the body’s system. Lorazepam is available in the following forms:
- Ativan tablet
- Quick dissolve Ativan tablet
- Concentrated form
- Colorless liquid
- Intravenous liquid used in the medical setting
Ativan Abuse and Addiction Effects and Symptoms
Even when taken in accordance to the prescribed physician order, people can develop Ativan addiction and even become dependent on the medication in order to sleep or function. It’s advised not to prescribe Ativan tablets to anyone with a history of drug or alcohol abuse or personality disorders.
Following prolonged use of Ativan, a user will eventually need higher doses to elicit the same effect due to the formation of tolerance. Even with a strong desire to quit, users often struggle because the intensity of withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming. Drug addiction rehab for benzos is the most effective way to kick an addiction to Ativan tablets.
What are Ativan Effects and Signs of Drug Addiction
Slurred speech. Fatigue. Drowsiness. Common effects of Ativan abuse include general slowness and lack of energy. Because the medication is typically prescribed to the person, it makes it hard for the user to come to terms with their Ativan abuse. However – taking larger doses than prescribed, taking it more often than prescribed, taking it for longer than prescribed, or taking it without a prescription at all – are all forms of Ativan abuse.
Because Ativan is designed to reduce anxiety when taken in large amounts the user experiences a heightened state of relaxation, an intense high. Other Ativan and benzodiazepine effects include:
- Muscle relaxation
- An overall calming sense
- Intense high
Combining Ativan with other drugs or substances, especially alcohol, intensifies these relaxation effects. This can make it tempting for the user to experiment with combinations, especially if they have built up a physical tolerance to Ativan.
Because of its intensity, Ativan is often responsible for both accidental and intentional overdoses. Most cases of Ativan overdose occur when the medication is taken in combination with another substance, such as alcohol. Often these overdoses end in fatality, especially when combined with other substances. Signs of Ativan overdose include:
- Slurred speech
- Muscle weakness
- Low blood pressure
- Mental confusion
- Lack of energy
- Lack of control of bodily movements
- Slow breathing
Ativan Abuse and Common Drug Combinations
In order to enhance the sedative effects of Ativan and create a more intense high, Ativan is frequently abused alongside other drugs or substances, which is very dangerous and can easily lead to overdose.
It can be used to either compound or counteract the Ativan effects experienced by the user. Excessive sedation from combining Ativan with other “downers” can easily lead to a state of unconsciousness, coma, or even death. Common drugs used in combination with Ativan include:
- Cocaine: Ativan is often used in combination with cocaine in order to counteract the effects of the stimulant which can help users “come down” from an intense cocaine high.
- Amphetamines: Similar to cocaine in terms of being an “upper”, amphetamines also produce intense stimulant effects. Likewise, with cocaine, users often combine Ativan to help counteract the speedy effects and come down from the amphetamines.
- Methadone: Because painkillers also produce “downer” effects, Ativan is often combined with Methadone to increase the high of Methadone.
- Alcohol: In combination, Ativan and alcohol give the user a quick and highly potent effect. Over-sedation is likely as both substances greatly depress the central nervous system, making this combination especially dangerous.
Statistics About Ativan Abuse and Addiction from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) National Drug Threat Assessment, ClinCalc and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Dawn Report
- In 2015, Ativan was responsible for the highest incidence of drug deaths in the state of Florida.
- In 2015, 15,698,434 prescriptions of Ativan were written in the United States.
- Benzodiazepines combined with opioid painkillers or alcohol was associated with a 24 to 55 percent increase in a risk of a more serious outcome versus benzodiazepines alone.
Don’t Suffer Alone. Quit the Habit of Ativan Abuse for Good
You don’t have to struggle with the painful effects of Ativan addiction alone. Substance abuse treatment is available. At All About Recovery, we have a unique approach to drug abuse therapy that uses forms of expression such as art, music, dance, writing, and more to resolve the inner torment that causes many people to turn to drugs in the first place.
We are here to help. Reach out to us today for a better tomorrow for yourself, and your family.