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Ativan Addiction and Abuse

What is Ativan?

Drugs for treatment of anxiety and insomnia are very common and Ativan is one of those drugs. The most commonly prescribed form of Ativan is lorazepam, which is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines act on the central nervous system and produce a soothing effect, which helps people with anxiety, seizures and sleep problems. The drug increases the activity of certain natural chemicals in the body to produce a soothing effect. Ativan use is becoming increasingly commonly, but Ativan could have severe side-effects if the user becomes dependent.

The typical dose of Ativan for the treatment of anxiety is 2-3 mg/day given in two or three separate doses. Sleeplessness is treated with 2-4 mg given before sleeping. Ativan may be reactive with alcohol, cold or allergy medicines, narcotics, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, medicine for seizures, anti-anxiety medications, barbiturates, MAO inhibitors, and medicines to treat psychiatric disorders or antidepressants. Ativan and other benzodiazepines have been linked with fetal damage, including congenital abnormalities, when taken by pregnant women in their first three months.

What are the effects of Ativan? 

Ativan could have mild and severe side-effects, which include drowsiness, weakness, increased tiredness, hallucinations, skin rashes, constipation, nausea and vomiting. The severe side-effects of Ativan could include severe allergic reactions that can cause death and liver damage. If used for long-term, lorazepam can cause severe brain damage and loss of regular activity and can cause problems with eye-sight as well.

What are the warning signs? 

Increased Depression

Pre-existing depression may develop or get worse during use of benzodiazepines and/or lorazepam. Lorazepam is not suggested for use in patients with a prime depressive disorder or psychosis. Ativan, either used separately or in combination with other CNS drugs, may cause a potentially fatal lung depression.

Physical and Psychological Dependence

The use of benzodiazepines and lorazepam may lead to corporal and mental dependence. The risk of dependence increases with advanced doses and longer term use and is increased in patients with a history of drinking or any other drug abuse or in patients with personality disorders. The disability potential is reduced when lorazepam is used in suitable dosage and in short-term treatment. People with previous addictions should be under strict surveillance when using lorazepam or other psychotropic agents.

Other warning signs could include patients going to different doctors to renew prescriptions and purchasing alternative drugs that could induce the same effects.

What are withdrawal symptoms? 

Those who use Ativan habitually will experience withdrawal when they start quitting the drug. Even those who follow doctor’s prescription and only take the suggested dosage can experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur because your body becomes dependent on Ativan to work normally. When you start titrating, your brain, nervous system and organs go through a period of change as they readapt to function properly without Ativan.

  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Hand tremors
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Palpitations
  • Weight loss
  • Panic attacks

Treatment

After overusing Ativan, the patient can be admitted to the hospital contingent upon the severity of indicators and response to the action in the Emergency Department. Signs can last from 12-36 hours subsequent to Ativan overdose. If the patient responds well in the Emergency Department to caring therapy, then he/she should consider seeking drug addiction treatment once it is approved by a healthcare professional.