Most families hope they never have to deal with addiction. Family members might try and ignore the early signs of a problem, thinking it will resolve without any confrontation or outside assistance. But when it comes to Ativan (lorazepam) addiction, the problem only gets worse. People who struggle with Ativan addiction need the help of their families and a qualified treatment program in order to heal.
Understanding Ativan side effects and withdrawal symptoms helps families recognize warning signs in their loved ones. Ativan is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders, seizures, insomnia and alcoholism.1 These conditions stem from unusual electrical activity in the brain. Ativan soothes overactive brain cells and allows brain activity to drop to more reasonable levels. Often those who need Ativan only take it for a short period of time. This typically provides adequate control in the beginning phases of treatment allowing those who use the drug to feel better and begin additional therapies.
Ativan is highly habit forming. Using the drug for longer periods of time or in larger amounts than prescribed by a doctor can quickly lead to addiction. Because Ativan produces sensations that users find pleasurable, a psychological dependence on the drug is part of the problem. Because the drug produces feelings of euphoria, it may be difficult for users to see that Ativan can cause a great deal of damage.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the following are the short-term side effects of Ativan abuse:
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- Problems with memory
- Problems with movement
- Lowered blood pressure
- Slowed breathing2
Because of its sedating effects, there is an increased risk of accidental overdose and death associated with Ativan abuse. This is particularly true when people combine the pills with other sedating substances like alcohol or prescription painkillers. In a few cases, Ativan has been known to produce a more manic experience for the user.
This response can cause other types of serious issues including:
- Delusions of danger
- Criminal activities
- Law enforcement action
Those who struggle with Ativan addiction are often incapable of expressing emotion, making healthy relationships with family members and friends almost impossible. Without help, those who are addicted to Ativan may become isolated to the point of feeling they are completely alone. These behavioral patterns can quickly lead to thoughts of suicide.3
Steps to Recovery
The changes Ativan produces inside the cells of the brain are so prominent and so severe that removing the drug abruptly can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. That’s why getting help through medically-supervised detox is so important. Medically-supervised detox gives patients the chance to rid their bodies of the toxins of the drug in a safe way. By enrolling in a formal treatment program that provides supervised withdrawal, those who struggle can slowly transition into a life that doesn’t involve drugs.
Once detox has ended, treatment can begin. Diagnosis of any underlying mental illness contributing to or causing the problem is an important part of the process. If a co-occurring disorder is present, treating the conditions simultaneously greatly increases the likelihood of recovery.
At Black Bear Lodge, we offer a supervised program that allows residents the chance to step away from everyday concerns and truly focus on recovery. Our master’s-level counselors provide the therapeutic support people need to understand their addiction. We augment that care through a number of innovative treatments, including experiential therapy and art therapy. The help and supervision we provide, as well as assistance from consulting physicians, are firm steps on the road to recovery.
If you or your loved one struggles with Ativan addiction, we are here for you. Call us at 706-914-2327 to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.
1 “Ativan Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosinga.” WebMD. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.
2 “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, 25 July 2017. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.
3 “Lorazepam (Oral route).” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Sept. 2017. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.