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Ativan: This Common Anxiety Drug Comes with Risks

ativan pills

About Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan is the generic name for the anxiety medication, Lorazepam. It is designed for the short-term relief of anxiety and is classified as a fast-acting benzodiazepine drug. It may also be used to treat seizures, alcohol withdrawal, or chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan works by increasing the effects of GABA, a chemical that is naturally found in the body. This affects the brain and central nervous system in a way that creates feelings of calmness and relaxation in the user.

Ativan is typically prescribed for a short period of time (less than four months) because it is highly addictive. It comes in a quick-dissolvable tablet that is taken orally or it can also be a clear, concentrated liquid. and it is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines in the United States, alongside Xanax (Alprazolam).

Ativan Street Names

  • Benzos
  • Heavenly blues
  • Stupefy
  • Downers
  • Tranks
  • Candy
  • Sleeping pills

Ativan Addiction Facts and Statistics

  • Ativan addiction is common in the United States and the drug continues to be one of the most popular sedatives used by Americans.
  • According to SAMHSA’s 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 18.7 million Americans (or 6.9 percent of the population) abused prescription drugs like Ativan.
  • An estimated 497,000 people aged 12 or older and 23,000 adolescents were current abusers of sedatives in 2016.
  • The number of prescriptions written for benzodiazepines increased 67 percent to 13.5 million per year in 2013 (from 8.1 million in 1999).
  • One in six American adults takes at least one psychiatric drug like Ativan over the course of a year.
  • More than 80 percent of people taking psychiatric drugs like Ativan use them on a long-term basis, despite the fact they are designed for short-term use.

Overcoming Ativan addiction is possible.
Medical detox and rehab can provide tools and resources to get sober.
Start your recovery today by calling (512) 605-2955.

 

Am I Addicted to Ativan? Signs and Symptoms of Ativan Addiction

People who have a history of substance use disorder with other drugs or alcohol may have a higher risk of developing Ativan addiction. Although taking Ativan exactly as prescribed can lower your risk of addiction, it’s still possible to develop tolerance, physical dependence, or addiction while taking it.

Common signs of Ativan addiction include:

  • Making attempts to stop taking Ativan but being unable
  • Feeling guilty about Ativan use or hiding it from loved ones
  • Being unable to function normally without Ativan
  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • Experiencing legal or financial problems because of Ativan abuse
  • Spending a great deal of time getting Ativan, using it, or recovering from use

Side Effects of Ativan Addiction and Abuse

A person abusing Ativan may take it without a prescription, use higher or more frequent doses than prescribed, take it with other drugs or alcohol, or use it in other ways like crushing the pills and snorting the powder or dissolving the powder in water and injecting it.

Short-term effects of Ativan abuse may include:

  • Intense euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Decreased motivation
  • Paranoia

Long-term effects of Ativan abuse may include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Increased risk of accidents and overdose
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Physical dependence
  • Addiction

Signs of Ativan Overdose

People who abuse Ativan may combine it with alcohol, methadone, cocaine, and other amphetamines to enhance the drug’s effects. Doing this is very dangerous and increases a person’s risk of overdose.

Signs of Ativan overdose include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty controlling body movement
  • Slurred speech
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depressed breathing
  • Weakness/lack of energy
  • Coma

How Long Does Ativan Stay in My System?

The effects of Ativan can be felt within two hours of taking the drug. However, it usually takes about 10-20 hours to leave your system. This timeframe is just an estimate and will vary based on several factors, including your metabolism, the amount of water in your body, your body mass and weight, your age, and how much Ativan you took.

Struggling with Ativan addiction? We can help.
Call Nova Recovery Center at (512) 605-2955
for more information about our 90-day rehab programs for men and women.

 

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox

If you’re addicted to Ativan and then suddenly stop taking it, you’ll experience uncomfortable physical symptoms called withdrawal. Common Ativan withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies

Ativan detox can be dangerous and unpredictable if attempted on your own. If you’re addicted to Ativan and want to get sober, the best way to detox is with a medical detox program.

An Ativan detox center will provide round-the-clock care and medication-assisted treatment for a gradual taper down into sobriety. This ensures the most comfortable and safe detox experience possible. Medical detox for Ativan addiction also reduces the likelihood of relapse because clients are treated in a supportive sober environment and counseling is provided.

Ativan Withdrawal Timeline

Ativan withdrawal will vary for everyone, but this timeline is a general idea of what you can expect.

24 hours after the last dose: A rush of anxiety, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and insomnia are common during the early stages of withdrawal.

2-3 days after the last dose: The bulk of the withdrawal symptoms usually occur during this time, including headaches, tremors, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, dizziness, and irritability.

2 weeks after the last dose: Some symptoms may linger for two weeks or more, including depression, anxiety, and mood swings.

Ativan Addiction Treatment Options

Recovery from Ativan addiction is a long-term process that typically consists of several different treatment programs, including detox, rehab, sober living, and aftercare.

After Ativan detox, it’s often recommended that people in recovery continue their addiction treatment with inpatient or outpatient rehab. The primary benefits of going to rehab after detox are to:

  • Learn more about the disease of addiction
  • Implement relapse prevention strategies
  • Address the root issues of the addiction
  • Identify and change harmful behaviors that contribute to the addiction
  • Participate in individual, group, and family therapy
  • Establish a firm foundation in sobriety with 12-step work

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research shows long-term addiction treatment of 90 days or longer provides the best results, therefore long-term addiction treatment may be the best way to overcome Ativan addiction and maintain your sobriety.

Clients who enroll in a residential program at an Ativan addiction treatment center can expect the following things in rehab:

  • A safe, sober and supportive group living environment
  • Individual, group, and family counseling sessions
  • Focus on relapse prevention skills/life skills
  • Educational lectures
  • Behavioral therapy and other types of specialized therapies (music therapy, pet therapy, art therapy, etc.)
  • Intensive 12-step work
  • Structured daily schedule
  • Gender-specific treatment and living arrangements

Clients who enroll in an outpatient rehab program for Ativan addiction can expect the following things in rehab:

  • A series of group meetings facilitated in a safe, clinical environment
  • Flexibility to live at home while enrolled in treatment
  • Educational lectures
  • Focus on relapse prevention skills/life skills
  • Intensive 12-step work
  • Individual, group, and family counseling sessions

The cost of a residential or outpatient program will vary depending on several factors like the location, services offered, and the program’s duration. Clients may choose from several different payment options to cover the cost of treatment like medical insurance, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), financed loans, or reduced out-of-pocket payments.

Ativan addiction does not have to define you.
Call Nova Recovery Center today (512) 605-2955 to learn more about medical detox, 90-day rehab, and sober living programs for sustained sobriety.

Continued Care for Ativan Addiction Treatment

Although detox and rehab are essential aspects of addiction treatment, people in recovery should also consider continuing their treatment with a sober living program and/or aftercare. These types of programs provide continued care and support for people who have recently completed a rehab program or who have recently relapsed.

Sober Living Programs

Sober living homes, ¾ homes, transitional homes, and halfway houses are all terms that are used interchangeably to describe the same thing: a recovery residence for people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Sober living programs help residents transition from a lifestyle of addiction to a lifestyle of sobriety by providing a safe, sober group living environment, structured schedules, tiered recovery programs, and personal monitoring programs. Transitional housing programs also provide employment assistance and educational planning for residents who want to continue their education.

The cost of sober living will vary depending on the home’s location, its amenities, the type of recovery services offered, and any additional services provided like counseling or personal monitoring.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are specifically designed for rehab alumni and can serve as weekly “check-ins” for chronic relapsers. Aftercare offers a supportive, group environment where people in recovery can come to share their struggles, provide advice, and discuss the challenges and positive things about life in recovery.

Although recovery from Ativan addiction may require hard work, it is possible with the right type of treatment and support. Contact Nova Recovery Center for more information.

 

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6685/ativan-oral/details
  2. https://www.rxlist.com/ativan-drug.htm#indications_dosage
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/lorazepam-vs-xanax
  4. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/benzo.pdf
  5. https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/rx_drugs_placemat_508c_10052011.pdf
  6. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/topics/data_outcomes_quality/nsduh-ppt-09-2017.pdf
  7. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm#illicit7
  8. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/26/602213172/benzodiazepines-america-s-other-prescription-drug-problem
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4816010/
  10. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/psychiatric-drugs-study-reveals-widespread-use-women-men/

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