Ativan Addiction and Treatment

What is Ativan?

Ativan (lorazepam) is a sedative medication that is most generally used to treat anxiety. Other accepted uses include treating insomnia, symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal, relieving serial seizures in children (sublingual form), as a muscle relaxant, and reducing the suffering of chemotherapy patients who experience vomiting during treatment. Ativan is not generally recommended for long-term use, over 4 month’s duration, as this may increase the likelihood of physical withdrawal symptoms.

Ativan works by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which inhibits the nervous system, reducing states of mental and physical over-excitement. Ativan is a member of the benzodiazepine group of drugs, a class of antidepressants, anti-panic agents, sleep medications, and muscle relaxants.

How does Ativan Work?

Ativan works by depressing brain activity. It is considered a sedative and targets the central nervous system to reduce anxiety and depression. Ativan also works by targeting the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid that is found in the brain. This creates a relaxing effect that helps stress and anxiety sufferers reduce overactive thoughts. It also relays an overall calming effect on the body.

Ativan Tolerance

After four to six months of regular use Ativan will no longer be as effective. A user will develop a tolerance and adapt to the effects of Ativan. Ativan tolerance typically results in an increase of the dosage in order to achieve the drug’s initial effects. Increasing the dosage of Ativan ultimately leads to dependence or the physical and psychological need for the drug. When an individual reaches the point of dependency, it becomes difficult to quit using because of the severe withdrawal symptoms that occur when the drug is no longer present. For these individuals the only option appears to be continuing to increase Ativan use and abuse.

What is Ativan Abuse?

When a person develops an Ativan addiction, there are going to be concurrent behaviors that are uncharacteristic for this person. In short, as abuse takes hold over a person, they are going to have resultantly less time and energy, and fewer resources, for even the most important spheres of life, such as family, work, and school.

Since Ativan is a prescription drug, doctor shopping may be a main behavioral symptom. A person who knows doctor shops will go to one or more doctor (even driving or traveling great distances as needed) to get more than one prescription within the same timeframe. The person will then have to fill the resulting prescriptions at different pharmacies.

Is Ativan Dangerous?

Ativan can be addictive even when used as prescribed and it is always dangerous when it is used for nonmedical reasons. Recreational users are more likely to lose track of how much Ativan they’ve taken, especially if they are also abusing alcohol or illicit drugs. Misuse or overuse of psychoactive drugs like Ativan can put you at risk for addiction, overdose, and accidental death.

Should I Stop Taking Ativan?

Generally, doctors recommend tapering off of Ativan rather than quitting “cold turkey,” as this can be dangerous. Those who stop taking Ativan without weaning themselves off the drug first may experience severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations and psychotic reactions.

Who Abuses Ativan?

Ativan addiction and abuse is more common among those with anxiety disorders, as this is what the drug is prescribed for. Although it is often doctor recommended, its effects become weaker with time, and those with severe anxiety may turn to Ativan abuse to keep symptoms at bay. Those in certain groups or situations may be more likely to abuse Ativan. Veterans, for instance, or anyone who has experience trauma, may attempt to self-medicate to keep symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder under control. Professionals may handle workplace stress by abusing Ativan as well. Teens and college students might also attempt to use Ativan, either in combination with other drugs, or to handle the stresses of college life.

Quitting Ativan

Quitting Ativan is not an easy task. There are a number of ways a person can attempt to quit or detox from the drug, but most of these options are neither safe nor successful and a person reverts back to drug use. The best way to detox from Ativan is to enter a holistic rehab or detox center. Advantages of finding detox from a professional rehab center include the following:

• The aid of a highly skilled and trained staff to monitor a patient at all times
• The ability to detox from lorazepam without the risk of developing an addiction to another drug
• The availability of holistic treatment, counseling, therapy and other programs designed to resolve any underlying issue or cause of addiction
• A structured environment for healing with fewer temptations and limited stress
• The proper physical care needed for detox and withdrawal