Is Ativan Addictive?
Ativan is the name for the generic drug lorazepam, is part of the drug class benzodiazepines. It is best known for treating anxiety, as it works by attaching to GABA receptors in the brain like other benzodiazepines. After it attaches to the GABA receptors, it slows down the chemical messages the nerve receptors receive. This causes an overall calming effect, and this euphoric feeling can quickly turn into an Ativan addiction for some users.
Since Ativan is a benzodiazepine, it is considered to be highly addictive. It is very important that someone who has been prescribed Ativan is honest with their doctor about any tolerance that might be building, since this can lead to an addiction. The more Ativan you take, the more it takes for the user to reach their desired “high”. This also leads to a higher risk of dependency and addiction, so Ativan use should be closely monitored.
Aside from anxiety, Ativan can treat a wide range of other conditions. These conditions can include:
- Muscle spasms
- Manic bipolar disorder
- Symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal
When someone is intoxicated with Ativan, symptoms are very similar to someone who is intoxicated on alcohol. Since Ativan is a sedative with extreme calming effects, one of the major signals of Ativan abuse is frequent over-sleeping, loss of consciousness or constant overall drowsiness. Ativan has many other side effects, such as:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed or difficulty breathing
- Lack of balance or coordination
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Muscle weakness
Do I Have an Ativan Addiction?
Buy and large, people who use Ativan are doing so for a legitimate reason and do not intend to become addicted to it. This is because it is a prescribed medication used to treat an ailment, and due to its highly addictive properties, someone can easily slip into an Ativan addiction.
If you think you might have an Ativan addiction, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I take more Ativan than I am prescribed?
- Do I source Ativan from other people with prescriptions, or from the black market?
- Am I seeing more than one doctor, or “doctor shopping”, to get multiple prescriptions?
- Am I going to multiple pharmacies to fill these different prescriptions?
- Do I feel withdrawal symptoms, or feel “dopesick” when I do not take Ativan?
- Have I become isolated from friends and family in order to hide my Ativan addiction, or lied to them about how much I take?
- Have I stopped participating in activities I used to enjoy, experienced legal troubles or other negative consequences linked to my family or career due to my Ativan addiction?
If you are worried that someone you love might have an Ativan addiction, look for these signs of physical and psychological dependence:
- Frequent nausea
- Heightened anxiety
- Shady or secretive behavior
- No longer participating in family activities or important events
- Shift in priorities
- Taking Ativan at inappropriate times of the day
- Complaining about needing Ativan or other verbal signs of cravings
- Change in sleeping, grooming or eating habits
Treatment for Ativan Addiction
When someone has decided that their Ativan addiction has spiraled out of control and they need help, it is important to do so immediately. Trying to stop Ativan use alone or cold turkey can be dangerous, since withdrawal symptoms are very uncomfortable and cravings are at an all time high. This can lead to a large binge, which could lead to death.
Instead, it is important for someone suffering from Ativan addiction to be safely and comfortably detoxed from Ativan under the supervision of medical professionals. Medications can be administered to help with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms so that the person suffering from addiction can focus on their recovery.
A major concern for people suffering from Ativan addiction is what will happen once they stop taking Ativan. They are likely taking Ativan for a legitimate medical condition, such as anxiety or bipolar disorder. The fear that this underlying medical issue may return is a major deterrent to getting help for Ativan addiction, however, help for both is available. This is called a co-occuring disorder, and treating both disorders at the same time is called Dual Diagnosis treatment.
With dual diagnosis treatment, the person suffering from addiction and its’ co-occuring disorder will be able to work on treating both so that one does not eventually exacerbate the other. If the addiction is the only thing that is treated but the anxiety is not, the anxiety will eventually lead to the spiral of addiction. The only way to stop this cycle is to treat both disorders at the same time.
About Cliffside Malibu
If you or someone you love is suffering from Ativan addiction, there is help available. Being able to comfortably detox from Ativan, work on controlling addiction’s triggers and the addiction’s co-occuring disorder is the best path toward long-term recovery.
Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.
It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.
For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com