Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine, a member of a family of psychoactive depressant drugs. So while there are physical signs of lorazepam use and addiction, it’s the drug’s effects on the brain that are most long lasting.
How Does Lorazepam Work?
Doctors most often prescribe lorazepam to treat anxiety. Anxiety and some other mental health issues are caused by an excessive amount of nerve activity in the brain. Lorazepam works by stimulating neurotransmitters that reduce the number of “anxiety messages” traveling across synapses in the brain. When used correctly over a short period of time, lorazepam can be helpful in combating panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms. However the drug also comes with the risk of developing a dependency and addiction. Individuals need to carefully follow prescriptions, include therapy as part of their comprehensive mental health treatment plan, and be aware of how lorazepam and addiction affect the brain.
Dangers of Lorazepam on the Brain
Your brain is constantly changing. Every bit of information you learn, memory you make and experience you have opens new pathways and expands your cognitive capacity. These changes are natural. Addiction to lorazepam is dangerous because it chemically changes the makeup of the brain. It reroutes natural changes and begins to force new, stronger ones. This leads to a host of undesired consequences such as the following:
- Development of cravings
- Long-lasting changes in behavior, mood and personality
- Destruction of neurons
- Further drug abuse and/or health complications
While addiction can do a lot of damage to your brain, body and happiness, these effects can be avoided or reversed with the right help and support.
Reversing the Effects of Addiction on the Brain
Because addiction carries many unearned, uninformed stigmas, some lorazepam users try to kick their habit alone. This method is discouraged because it comes with many dangers and frequently leads to relapse. However some individuals believe this is their only choice. Addiction explains, “The detrimental effects of stigma on people with substance use disorders are acute and far-reaching. …Stigma contributes to a host of adverse outcomes for people with substance use disorders, including poor mental and physical health, non-completion of substance use treatment, delayed recovery and reintegration processes and increased involvement in risky behavior.”1 This stigma tells individuals they are alone when it comes to reversing the effects of lorazepam addiction. However nothing is further from the truth. There are so many kind and understanding peers, professionals and resources available.
Addiction is a complex disease. As with any disease, the best way to recover is by speaking up and seeking professional help. A rehab center can provide the physical, psychological, mental and emotional support needed for recovery. A patient can find the quality care and programs necessary to effectively treat lorazepam addiction.
Programs such as group counseling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy help the patient recognize, avoid and cope with drug abuse. And these resources do more than just address addiction — they address any underlying mental health issues as well. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America shares, “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, has been shown in studies to provide just as much benefit as medication for the various anxiety disorders.”2 Other resources like motivational incentives, post-rehab communication and supportive peer groups continue the healing process and prevent relapse after rehab. An integrated treatment program looks at how lorazepam addiction affects the brain and works to heal these changes.
The Next Step toward Lorazepam Addiction Recovery
If you or someone you love is struggling with lorazepam addiction, let Black Bear Rehab help. Our free and confidential recovery helpline is available 24 hours a day. We are here any time to provide you with information and access to the personal treatment options you need.
By Melissa Riddle Chalos
1Livingston, James, et al. “The Effectiveness of Interventions for Reducing Stigma Related to Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review.” Addiction. 2012.
2Salcedo, Beth. “Psychotropic Medications: What You Should Ask Your Doctor.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Accessed 9 Dec. 2018.