Ativan (lorazepam) addiction
Imagine being on a roller coaster that you can’t seem to get off. Ativan addiction is like that – a wild, unpredictable ride filled with ups and downs, twists and turns. But you don’t have to stay strapped in forever. With Linwood House by your side, you can navigate the complex process of Ativan addiction and recovery and find your way to solid ground.
What Is Ativan?
Ativan is the brand name for the prescription medication lorazepam. It belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs, a type of central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down activity in the brain. Doctors usually prescribe Ativan to treat anxiety disorders and sleeping problems.
Ativan is a short-acting benzodiazepine, meaning it has a shorter duration of effects than some other benzos, with an average half-life (the time it takes for the body to process half of the substance) of around 10-20 hours.
While Ativan can be beneficial for people with genuine medical conditions, it also has a high potential for abuse and addiction which is why it is only available in the UK on prescription.
What is Ativan addiction?
Ativan addiction is when you continue to use Ativan, despite negative consequences caused to your health, social life, relationships or career. Anybody who uses Ativan can potentially become addicted but it is particularly common in those who use Ativan in greater doses or for longer than prescribed and those who abuse Ativan recreationally for its pleasant sedative effects.
What are the signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction?
If you’re worried that you or your loved one may have an Ativan addiction, the chances are that you need support. Any benzo misuse can quickly become very dangerous, and the sooner you can move away from substance abuse, the easier recovery will be.
Some of the signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction include:
- Prioritising acquiring and using Ativan above most other things
- Thinking a lot about Ativan
- Neglecting home or work responsibilities to take Ativan
- Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or reduce your Ativan use
- Continuing to take Ativan despite negative consequences
Remember, this list is far from exhaustive and the symptoms of Ativan addiction can vary from person to person. Loved ones may also go to some lengths to hide their Ativan addiction from others so if you have any concerns, it’s best to speak with a professional as soon as possible.
How does Ativan addiction develop?
Research shows that repeatedly taking substances like Ativan causes long-term changes to the reward pathway in our brains. Taking Ativan hijacks this system, leading to dramatic changes along the reward pathway that cause powerful cravings to seek and use Ativan.
Eventually this can lead to physical dependence which can develop in as little as three weeks. This is why scientists recommend that prescriptions are limited to one to two weeks in length but current prescribing practices mean that prescriptions are often much longer. Once you are physically dependent on Ativan, you will feel like you need to take it just to function normally and to avoid the onset of withdrawal symptoms. At this point, if you also have a psychological addiction to Ativan, it can be incredibly difficult to stop taking the drug without professional help.
Some factors that increase the risk of becoming addicted to Ativan include:
- Underlying mental health disorders
- A history of trauma
- A history of substance abuse and dependency
- Parents with addiction histories
- Easy access to Ativan
- Using Ativan other than as prescribed
What are the dangers of Ativan abuse?
As well as leading to Ativan addiction, Ativan abuse can result in numerous short-term and long-term health problems.
Some of the dangers of misusing Ativan include:
- Muscle weakness
- Memory problems
- Low blood pressure
- Sight problems
If you take a higher dose of Ativan than your body can process, you may experience an Ativan overdose. During an Ativan overdose, your respiratory system can depress to dangerously low levels, risking coma or even death.
Some symptoms of an Ativan overdose include:
- Slurred speech
- Loss of muscle control
- Altered mental state
While fatal overdose is rare if you have taken Ativan on its own, it is far more common if you have mixed Ativan with another substance like alcohol. If you think you or someone else may have experienced a drug overdose, seek emergency medical attention.
What help is available for Ativan addiction?
While Ativan addiction can feel scary, there is help available. At Linwood House we provide effective treatment for Ativan addiction. Ativan detox is the process of withdrawing from Ativan safely under medical supervision. This will break your physical dependence and allow you to begin Ativan rehab. This is a combination of different therapies and treatment approaches designed to address the psychological and emotional causes of Ativan addiction. Like with all forms of benzodiazepine addiction it teaches you how to manage these causes without needing to take Ativan.
How to get help for Ativan addiction
If you or a loved one is living with Ativan addiction, contact Linwood House today. We offer professional Ativan addiction help at our inpatient recovery centre, empowering individuals across the county to achieve lasting sobriety. We can support you in learning the skills you need to overcome Ativan addiction and begin a new life in recovery.