Ativan is a prescribed medication that belongs to the group of drugs called Benzodiazepines. Though this medication is prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, it is often dangerously abused causing addiction and other life-threatening effects.
Understanding Ativan (Lorazepam)
Ativan, more commonly known by the generic name Lorazepam, is a Benzodiazepine drug used to help treat different anxiety disorders. Like most other Benzo medications, Ativan works by binding to the neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Once the drug has successfully attached to the GABA receptors, the sedative and anxiety-reducing effects are produced.
Ativan has also been prescribed to treat other mental and medical conditions such as chronic insomnia, muscle spasms, and symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal syndrome. While Ativan is a beneficial medication for helping ease symptoms of anxiety, this drug carries the risk of being abused and addictive causing potentially harmful effects.
Ativan Effects and Abuse
As with most prescription drugs, there are several side effects that may occur while taking this medication. Side effects are typically mild but you should inform your doctor if the effects worsen and become concerning.
Side effects of Ativan include:
- Loss of coordination
- Blurred vision
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sexual desire
When Ativan is abused, the chances of experiencing these side effects are greatly increased. Any type of use that is not as prescribed by a doctor is considered abuse. This could include using Ativan without a prescription, using more than the prescribed amount, or mixing it with other drugs to enhance the effects.
Respiratory depression, severe memory impairment, excessive sedation, tremors, seizures, and loss of consciousness are all severe side effects caused by heavy Ativan use. In some cases, overdose and death may be the result of chronic Ativan abuse. These dangerous and life-threatening side effects may occur if Ativan is combined with other drugs such as alcohol or opiates. In some cases, chronic long-term Ativan use has been known to cause life-long cognitive functioning issues.
Ativan abuse is highly dangerous and can quickly develop into a dependency or addiction. Ativan dependence occurs when the user requires the drug to feel normal. This can happen even when following the prescription but dependency is far more likely to develop by abusing the drug.
When someone has developed a dependency or addiction to Ativan, they should expect to experience withdrawal symptoms if they significantly lower their dosage amount, or abruptly stop using the drug. Withdrawal effects include:
- Increased anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive sweating
- Short-term memory loss
Ativan can also cause severe withdrawal effects that may require medical attention including hallucinations, delirium, depersonalization, and seizures. Contact 911 immediately if any signs of dangerous withdrawal effects are present.
It can be difficult to recognize an Ativan addiction because of how likely it is to become dependent on this prescribed medication. However, when someone has become addicted to this drug, they are likely to show mental and behavioral signs of addiction.
Signs of Ativan addiction may include:
- Obsessing over the drug and how to obtain more
- Continued drug use despite negative outcomes
- Inability to stop using the drug
- Financial problems due to the drug use
- Issues with family life, relationships, and work due to drug use
- Sudden changes in physical appearance and hygiene
- Severe withdrawal effects after stopping the drug use
Ativan addiction can quickly turn into a drug overdose if too much of the drug is consumed at one time. Ativan overdose is highly dangerous and can result in death if medical support is not sought out. Signs of an Ativan overdose include extreme drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, slurred speech, blurred vision, difficulty breathing, and coma.
Ativan Addiction and Abuse Treatment
Ativan can greatly impact the lives of those suffering from different anxiety disorders. However, once abused, this Benzodiazepine drug has the risk of becoming dangerously addictive. If you are fighting an addiction to Ativan, seek help today. Contact Quit Addiction Now at (888-974-2973) to learn more about treatment options.