Chronic headaches are debilitating, and without a satisfactory treatment option, some people may seek to manage the pain on their own.
Stress and Tension Headaches
The daily hassles of life cause headaches in some people. As a rule stress is the most common source of headaches according to the Mayo Clinic. People who react to stress by tensing their muscles, grinding teeth, or stiffening shoulders are more likely to develop a headache.
Most of the 4% of Americans who have frequent headaches experience them daily according to the Baylor Health Care System. Some headache sufferers begin to have daily headaches after taking too many medications including over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription pain relievers, and triptans (migraine medications).
When chronic anxiety leads to daily headaches, it may seem like a good idea to turn to anti-anxiety medications. Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam (Ativan), do provide anxiety relief, but their use must be closely monitored by a physician. These drugs can produce dangerous side effects when stopped abruptly, and some people are in danger of developing a dependence on the drug.
Facts About Lorazepam
Lorazepam is an anti-anxiety drug that can be highly addictive if used for more than a few months. In a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, lorazepam is marketed under the brand name Ativan. Its primary use is to treat anxiety since it slows activity in the brain according to MedlinePlus.
Lorazepam is effective at treating panic disorders and is known for its sedative-hypnotic uses according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). A minority of people may develop an immediate psychological dependence or addiction to it due to predisposing factors like heredity.
People who use drugs like lorazepam for nonmedically intended uses are in greater danger of developing an addiction.
Prescription Drug Abuse and Chronic Headaches
A person who uses lorazepam or another benzodiazepine to treat chronic headaches is in danger of experiencing serious side effects. Drugs like lorazepam can even cause headaches for long periods.
- Shuffling walk
- Persistent tremor or inability to sit still
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Severe skin rash
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Irregular heartbeat
Mixing benzodiazepines with other medications can be dangerous. It is especially dangerous to mix benzodiazepines with opioid pain relievers. When the two drugs are mixed, the effects of both drugs are increased and the chance of overdose is much higher.
Medication-Free Headache Remedies
Sometimes there are no foolproof ways to end chronic headaches, but there are several lifestyle changes that can lower overall attacks. The Mayo Clinic recommends a variety of stress reducing activities and strategies to help a person cope including the following:
Simplify routines and schedules. Prioritize the most important tasks in a day, and be ready to say no to projects that can wait.
Talk to supportive people. When life becomes overwhelming, find supportive people to talk to about problems such as family, friends, or a therapist.
Stay organized. Have a plan in place for each day’s tasks, and be ready to make changes if a headache hits.
Let go of worries and laugh. Realize that many things are outside of any person’s control. Learn to find humor in everyday situations as a way to release endorphins that help people feel better.
Practice positive thinking. Turn negative thoughts into positive encouragement. A therapist can help guide this process through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Exercise regularly. Use exercise as a way to let go of the day’s worries and promote well-being.
Eat a balanced diet. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains offer energy and help reduce feelings of anxiety.
Get enough sleep. Make time in every day for sleep. Adequate sleep prevents stress and helps the body avoid the trigger release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Break Bad Habits+
Stop smoking, consume less caffeine, and limit alcohol consumption.
While the search for headache relief may seem overwhelming, it’s important to find treatments that will offer long-term effectiveness. Using lorazepam for headache treatment is unlikely to provide a positive outcome. In addition to negative side effects from high doses and long-term use, lorazepam may actually cause more headaches.
Need Help Finding Treatment for a Lorazepam Addiction?
A person addicted to lorazepam may need medical help for withdrawal symptoms along with psychological services to help overcome the pull of the drug. When an individual has a dual diagnosis, it’s important they receive high-quality, integrated treatment to improve their success in recovery.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a lorazepam addiction, please call us today. Our admissions team helps those dealing with addiction and co-occurring conditions. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Do not hesitate to reach out for more information. Call us today at 706-914-2327.