Finding Help for Ativan Addiction

Finding Help for Ativan Addiction

Tackling an Ativan addiction alone is a daunting but courageous step. If this is your first time thinking about quitting Ativan, you might be at a loss for where to start.

Addiction to Ativan, a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and insomnia, is a growing concern in the United States. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about Ativan addiction, including its causes, signs, and treatment options. If you or someone you know is struggling with Ativan addiction, it's important to seek help and support.

Understanding Ativan Addiction

What is Ativan?

Ativan, also known by its generic name lorazepam, is a medication that belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. It is commonly prescribed to manage anxiety and insomnia. Ativan works by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. While Ativan can be beneficial when used as prescribed, it also carries the risk of misuse and addiction.

Is Ativan Addictive?

Yes, despite its therapeutic potential, Ativan does possess addictive properties. The drug's potential for addiction doesn't manifest immediately but develops over time, especially when it's used consistently over an extended period. Even those who follow their doctor's prescription can develop a tolerance, causing them to consume increasingly larger doses to attain the desired effects, thereby increasing the risk of addiction.

How does Ativan addiction start?

Ativan addiction typically begins with nonmedical use, such as taking the drug in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed. Some individuals may misuse Ativan to experience its pleasurable effects or to self-medicate for other issues. Factors that can increase the risk of developing an Ativan addiction include a family history of substance abuse, personal history of alcoholism or substance use disorder, and concurrent mental health issues.

Recognizing Ativan Addiction: Signs and Symptoms

Ativan addiction varies from person to person. A qualified medical professional will typically diagnose addiction, known as a sedative use disorder in clinical terms, based on certain specific criteria. These criteria, outlined in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), include:

  • Taking Ativan in larger quantities or for a longer duration than intended.
  • Inability to decrease Ativan use despite the desire to do so.
  • Spending significant time trying to acquire, use, or recover from Ativan.
  • Experiencing cravings or a strong urge to use Ativan.
  • Failure to meet work, school, or household obligations due to Ativan use.
  • Continuous use despite interpersonal or social issues caused by the drug.
  • Foregoing important social, work, or recreational activities due to Ativan use.
  • Recurrent use in situations where it's unsafe (e.g., driving or operating machinery).
  • Ongoing use despite awareness of a physical or psychological problem likely caused or exacerbated by Ativan.
  • Increased tolerance, meaning higher or more frequent doses are required for the same effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuance or reduction in Ativan use.

Risks and effects of Ativan addiction

Ativan addiction can have severe consequences on an individual's physical and mental health. Prolonged and excessive use of Ativan can lead to:

  1. Physical dependence: The body becomes reliant on Ativan to function normally, and withdrawal symptoms may occur when attempting to quit.
  2. Tolerance: Higher doses of Ativan are needed to achieve the desired effects, increasing the risk of overdose.
  3. Withdrawal symptoms: When someone stops using Ativan abruptly or significantly reduces their dose, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and seizures.
  4. Impaired cognitive function: Chronic Ativan use can impair memory, attention, and cognitive abilities.
  5. Mental health issues: Ativan addiction can worsen or trigger mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or panic disorder.

Ativan Withdrawal: What to Expect

Withdrawal from Ativan can be severe, especially for those who've been abusing it in substantial doses or over an extended period. Symptoms may include:

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Agitation.
  • Restlessness.
  • Seizures.

These withdrawal symptoms can be severe and potentially dangerous, requiring supervised medical detox for safety.

Seeking help for Ativan addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with Ativan addiction, it's crucial to seek professional help. Treatment options for Ativan addiction include:

  1. Medical detoxification: The first step in treating Ativan addiction is often a medically supervised detoxification process to safely manage withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Inpatient rehab: Inpatient treatment programs provide intensive therapy, counseling, and support in a residential setting.
  3. Outpatient programs: Outpatient programs offer flexibility, allowing individuals to receive treatment while residing at home and attending therapy sessions regularly.
  4. Behavioral therapies: Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are effective in addressing the underlying causes of addiction and developing coping skills.
  5. Support groups: Participating in support groups can provide valuable peer support and encouragement during the recovery journey. If you’re nervous about attending a group in person, consider an online recovery program like Relay. With the Relay app, you can connect with a support group while remaining as anonymous as you’d like. It consolidates your recovery experience in one place, so not only can you chat with others going through similar experiences there, but you can also track your habits and customize your recovery plan in the same place!

Overcoming Ativan addiction: Tips for recovery

Recovering from Ativan addiction requires commitment, support, and a comprehensive treatment approach. Here are some tips for successful recovery:

  1. Build a strong support system: Surround yourself with positive, supportive individuals who understand your journey and can provide encouragement and guidance.
  2. Follow a treatment plan: Work closely with healthcare professionals and adhere to the recommended treatment plan, including therapy sessions, support group meetings, and medication management if necessary.
  3. Develop healthy coping mechanisms: Find alternative ways to manage stress and anxiety, such as engaging in physical activities, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing hobbies and interests.
  4. Avoid triggers: Identify and avoid situations, people, or environments that may trigger cravings or temptations to use Ativan.
  5. Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote overall well-being, such as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

Finding Help for Ativan Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with Ativan addiction, it's essential to reach out for professional help. Treatment providers, helplines, and support groups are available to guide you through the recovery process. Remember, recovery is possible, and you don't have to face addiction alone.


Cleveland Clinic - Benzodiazepines: What They Are, Uses, Side Effects & Risks

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Drug Misuse and Addiction

Mayo Clinic - Lorazepam (Oral Route) Side Effects

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