What Is Ativan Addiction?
Ativan is the brand name of the generic drug lorazepam, a strong sedative used primarily for the treatment of anxiety disorders and also used to manage acute seizures and insomnia. Ativan works by slowing down neural reception of chemical reception, which produces a calming effect without affecting the respiratory or cardiovascular systems. With more than 27 million prescriptions written for it every year, it’s the fifth most popular benzodiazepine, or tranquilizer, in the country, and more than 60,000 people fight Ativan addiction each year.
Although useful for treating anxiety, Ativan is extremely addictive. Patients may begin showing signs of addiction after a very short time using the medication, and they can develop tolerance and dependence on it very quickly. Because of this, it’s not intended for long-term use, and most physicians will only prescribe it for a few weeks at the most. Ativan should never be taken without a prescription and should be used only as prescribed.
Causes of Ativan Addiction
Users of Ativan often abuse it because it makes them feel so good, creating a sense of profound relaxation and even euphoria that’s hard to give up. Users also sleep better, feel more satisfied with their lives, and experience a reduction in their inhibitions.
As each dose of Ativan wears off, however, the patient becomes irritable and sometimes depressed. These negative feelings encourage the user to take more Ativan, ultimately leading to physical and psychological dependence. As the user’s body develops a tolerance to Ativan, it requires increase dosages, which become increasingly dangerous.
Those with family members who have addiction issues are twice as likely to become addicted to Ativan than the rest of the population. Some researchers theorize that Ativan and other drugs from the benzodiazepine group are especially addictive to people who lack the normal amount of brain chemicals needed to produce feelings of pleasure. In addition, people with co-occurring and improperly managed mental illness may be more prone to Ativan addiction.
Symptoms of Ativan Addiction
Many of the signs of Ativan addiction show up in behavior rather than in physical symptoms. Your loved one may be addicted to Ativan if the prescribed dose stops working and they decide to increase the dose without physician’s approval to get the same effect. In the same way, if your loved one needs Ativan to function normally, rather than just to deal with severe anxiety or panic attacks, addiction may be present.
If your loved one tries illegal methods to get more Ativan, or if they neglect to pay bills to make sure they can get Ativan, you’re seeing further signs of abuse and addiction.
In addition, other behavioral or mood symptoms can indicate possible Ativan addiction. Ativan addicts may manifest violent behavior, hyperactivity, inability to handle school or work responsibilities, confusion, and agitation. They may find themselves in the middle of interpersonal, legal, or financial problems. They may also show mood symptoms including anxiety, thoughts of suicide, mood changes, depression, and hostility.
Physical symptoms that are often associated with Ativan addiction include drowsiness, dizziness, heartburn, changes in appetite, and skin rashes, in addition to slurred speech, fever, difficulty breathing, nausea, and trouble walking. Addicts may also show psychological symptoms that include delusions, amnesia, psychosis, and hallucinations.
Withdrawal from Ativan
Because withdrawal from Ativan is difficult and can be dangerous, those addicted to this drug should only attempt withdrawal and detoxification under medical supervision. Attempts to quit using Ativan cold turkey are typically fruitless and difficult, and those who try it can end up in the emergency room with seizures or worse.
In medically supervised Ativan withdrawal, use of the drug is tapered off rather than stopping it abruptly. Side effects that often occur during withdrawal include muscle cramps, insomnia, tremors, episodes of intense rage, and severe anxiety.
Treatment for Ativan Addiction
Treatment for Ativan addiction typically focuses on psycho-behavior therapy of various sorts. Patients staying in a treatment facility for inpatient treatment typically undergo both individual and group therapy.
No medications are available to assist in treatment for Ativan addiction. However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Ativan abuse often co-occurs with opioid abuse. The combined addictions create a 20 percent higher risk of serious hospitalization; if your loved one is fighting a dual addiction, that means it’s especially important to get them into treatment. Fortunately, medications are available to help with the opioid addiction.
In cognitive behavior therapy, Ativan addicts come to understand the reasons for their drug abuse and learn new strategies to cope with stress and triggers as preparation for going back into normal life. Rehab in a residential setting is a preferred setting for treatment, often followed by a stay in a sober living facility.
Call Lumiere Detox Today
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism in Florida, give Lumiere Detox Center a call now at 855-535-8501. The specialists at our detox and treatment program in Florida are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the admissions process. Break free from addiction now and live the life you are destined for.