Ativan Addiction Symptoms: Recognizing Ativan Abuse

Ativan, known by its generic name Lorazepam, is a prescription medication primarily prescribed to treat anxiety disorders and manage symptoms of anxiety-related conditions. While it’s a valuable tool for treating anxiety when used under a doctor’s supervision, the misuse and abuse of Ativan can lead to a substance use disorder with severe consequences.

As one of the most widely prescribed benzodiazepines, the rate of misuse and addiction becomes high.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into Ativan addiction symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and the path to recovery.

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Ativan, or Lorazepam, belongs to a class of medications known as benzodiazepines. These drugs work by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which helps calm excessive brain activity, leading to feelings of relaxation. When taken as prescribed, Ativan helps reduce anxiety, alleviate muscle tension, and induce a sense of calm. However, its sedative effects can lead to dependence when misused.

Misuse and Abuse of Ativan

Misuse of Ativan typically involves taking it in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed. Abuse may involve taking it recreationally, often to achieve a “high” or euphoric feeling. The misuse and abuse of Ativan can lead to physical and psychological dependence, eventually resulting in addiction.

How is Ativan Addiction Diagnosed?

Ativan addiction is diagnosed as a sedative use disorder by a qualified mental health or medical professional using the criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

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Diagnosing Ativan addiction begins with a thorough assessment by a healthcare professional. This assessment may include questions about drug use patterns, withdrawal symptoms, and their impact on daily life.

evaluating the patient to determine the fentanyl withdrawal program

A medical evaluation is often necessary to rule out any underlying physical or mental health conditions contributing to addiction (dual diagnosis).

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Diagnosing Ativan addiction typically follows the criteria outlined in the DSM-5, which includes criteria such as tolerance, withdrawal, and impaired control over drug use.

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Short-term misuse of Ativan can lead to a range of health effects. Like many prescription drugs, Ativan can have short-term side effects, which may vary in intensity from person to person. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and some individuals may experience different or more severe symptoms.

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Blurred Vision

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Memory Problems

Mood Change Are A Common Symptom Of Addiction

Mood Swings

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Impaired Coordination

How does Ativan make you feel?

Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication that is used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It works by slowing down the activity of the central nervous system. This can cause relaxation and calmness.

Some people also report feeling a sense of euphoria or high when they take Ativan. However, this effect is typically short-lived and goes away after a few days of use.

Physical Health Complications

Long-term substance abuse can have serious physical health implications. Prolonged use may lead to respiratory issues, gastrointestinal problems, and muscle weakness. Additionally, chronic users may be at a higher risk of accidents due to impaired coordination.

Mental Health Deterioration

The impact on mental health is a significant concern for long-term Ativan users. Over time, the drug can exacerbate underlying anxiety and depression. In contrast, people taking Ativan to manage these conditions may find their symptoms worsen.

Cognitive Decline

Long-term Ativan abuse has been associated with cognitive decline. Users may experience difficulties with concentration, problem-solving, and decision-making.

Relationship Strain

Addiction often leads to isolation and withdrawal from loved ones. Long-term Ativan use can strain relationships, as individuals prioritize their drug dependence over their connections with family and friends.

How long does Ativan last?

The effects of Ativan typically last for 4-6 hours. However, the exact duration of effects can vary depending on a number of factors like dosage, metabolism, overall health, and other drugs taken. For example, older adults and people with liver or kidney disease may experience longer-lasting effects of Ativan. Additionally, people who take Ativan with other drugs that slow down the central nervous system, such as alcohol or opioids, may also experience longer-lasting effects.

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Can You Overdose On Ativan?

Benzodiazepines like Ativan can cause an overdose when taken in excessive amounts. An overdose occurs when the concentration of the drug in the body becomes dangerously high, leading to severe physiological and psychological effects.

Ativan Overdose Symptoms

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Extreme Drowsiness

The individual may become extremely drowsy, to the point of being unable to stay awake or respond coherently.

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Difficulty Breathing

Ativan overdose can lead to respiratory depression, characterized by shallow or slowed breathing. This is a potentially life-threatening symptom.

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The person may appear highly confused, disoriented, or have difficulty understanding their surroundings.

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Loss of Muscle Control

Muscle weakness and loss of coordination may become apparent, making it challenging for the individual to move.

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Ativan overdose can cause the person to become unresponsive, unconscious, or in a stupor-like state.

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Bluish Skin or Lips

Due to inadequate oxygen intake, the skin, particularly around the lips and fingertips, may turn bluish or pale.

Immediate Actions for Suspected Overdose

If you suspect someone is experiencing an Ativan overdose, it is important to take immediate action. Call 911 or emergency services for medical assistance immediately. Never leave a person who may have overdosed unattended, as their condition can deteriorate rapidly. Remember, do not attempt any home remedies or alternative treatments.

Preventing Ativan Overdose

Prevention is always the best approach when it comes to overdose. To reduce the risk of Ativan overdose:

  • Always take Ativan as prescribed by a healthcare provider.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose.
  • Avoid mixing Ativan with alcohol or other drugs, as this can increase the risk of overdose.
  • Store Ativan in a safe and secure place to prevent unauthorized access.

How long does Ativan stay in your system?

Ativan has a half-life of about 12 hours. This means that it takes the body about 12 hours to eliminate half of a single dose of the drug.

After five half-lives, the drug is considered to be eliminated from the body. It can take up to 60 hours for Ativan to be completely eliminated from the body. Different drug tests can detect Ativan in different timeframes, however.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Ativan addiction symptoms, seeking professional help is crucial. Treatment options include:

Joining support groups for encouragement and shared experiences.

Finding Treatment Centers

Locating a reputable addiction treatment program is vital for successful recovery. Research treatment centers that offer evidence-based therapies and have a proven track record of success. You can use SAMHSA’s Free Treatment Locator to find rehab centers near you.

If you’re residing in Arizona, our The Hope House can help. Our residential treatment center situated in a serene environment in Scottsdale has a team of expert addiction specialists that can help you on your recovery journey. We employ evidence-based treatment programs that are tailored for each individual as we recognize that not everyone is the same,

If you or someone you know struggles with Ativan addiction, do not hesitate to call for help. Remember, addiction is treatable, and support from friends and family plays a vital role in the journey to a healthier life.

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