What is Lorazepam?

Lorazepam (name brand Ativan) is a benzodiazepine medication used to treat panic attacks, anxiety disorder, sleeping problems, and seizures. In certain cases, it can be used to treat manic episodes of bipolar disorder. It has a calming effect on the central nervous system to reduce anxiety disorder and panic attack symptoms. Any benzodiazepine has a high risk for abuse and addiction, even when used as prescribed, and is meant to be for short-term use.

Lorazepam Effects

Effects of lorazepam include calming the nervous system and sedating effects to help with insomnia. It can ease extreme fear and nervousness. Like other medications, it comes with adverse symptoms. Effects of Ativan include:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Feelings of weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Reduced sexual drive or ability to perform
  • Urination problems
  • Blackouts
  • Coma

Signs of Lorazepam Abuse and Addiction

The US DEA classifies Ativan lorazepam as a schedule IV substance because it comes with abuse potential. Ativan abuse can lead to tolerance, meaning you need more of the medication to get the same effects, which can then lead to Ativan addiction. Symptoms of Ativan addiction may not be very apparent at the beginning, but addiction is a progressive disease with worsening symptoms. Signs of Ativan abuse and addiction include:

  • Unable to fulfill personal and professional obligations because of drug use
  • Continued use despite negative impacts on health, personal life, and work
  • Tolerance to lorazepam
  • Cravings for Ativan lorazepam
  • Relationship or interpersonal problems because of use
  • Withdrawals when not using
  • Drop in performance at school or work
  • Failed attempts at stopping lorazepam use

Lorazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Abruptly stopping lorazepam can cause severe and dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Ativan abuse does not need to be present in order to develop withdrawal symptoms when stopping use, however, the longer or more severe Ativan addiction increases the risk of developing dangerous symptoms that may require emergency medical intervention. Symptoms of Ativan withdrawals include:

  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Seizures

Because of withdrawal symptoms like seizures, which can be life-threatening, you should never stop taking lorazepam without professional medical advice or through a medical detox program.

Long-Term Side Effects of Lorazepam Abuse

Over time, Ativan abuse can cause several negative physical and psychological health effects on a person. Some long-term effects of Ativan include:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Headaches
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Kidney problems
  • Seizures

Lorazepam Addiction Treatment

Medical detox where professional medical staff can monitor your vitals and east withdrawal symptoms through medication management may be necessary when coming off lorazepam Ativan. There are several levels of care available for lorazepam addiction after completing drug and alcohol detox. Prescription drug rehab tailors treatment programs for each person to help overcome Ativan addiction. If you are dealing with severe substance abuse or drug addiction, inpatient rehab may be the best place to start. Inpatient treatment offers the most intensive form of substance abuse treatment where you can truly focus on your recovery without outside distractions. Addiction treatment centers also offer outpatient rehab as a step down from inpatient rehab which allows you to continue going to work or school and lower rehab costs. Partial hospitalization programming (PHP) is the most intense form of outpatient rehab followed by intensive outpatient program (IOP).

Many individuals who have a lorazepam Ativan addiction have been prescribed medication for mental health disorders. Underlying mental illness may still be there and requires dual diagnosis programming during drug addiction treatment for long-term recovery. Co-occurring disorders such as depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders can all be triggers for relapse. Co-occurring disorders treatment can address underlying issues before leaving the treatment center. Types of treatment available at drug rehab centers include:

  • Drug detox
  • Individual therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Medication Assisted treatment
  • Group therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Family therapy
  • 12-Step programming
  • Holistic therapies
  • Alumni Program

If you or a loved one are struggling with Ativan abuse or prescription drug addiction, treatment for Ativan addiction is available. DayBreak Treatment Solutions is always available to provide you with addiction resources.

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