It is estimated that about fifteen million people in the United States are addicted to prescription drugs. Abusing prescription drugs involves taking more than is advised or mixing the prescription with other classes of drugs and alcohol. Ativan is a prescription drug that falls in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It is also referred to as Lorazepam. It is specifically prescribed to people who struggle with panic attacks and anxiety.
Ativan is a sedative or tranquilizer that acts on the GABA receptors that are present in the brain. It calms down the person without seriously impairing the respiratory and cardiovascular systems of the person. It is highly addictive and is one of the commonly misused prescription drugs in the United States. This guide will give you some insight that will help you know if you or your loved one is struggling with Ativan addiction and dependency.
Signs Of Ativan Abuse
Ativan is typically prescribed as a short-term treatment option, which falls between three and four months. It is prescribed to people who struggle with sleeping issues, muscle spasms, psychosis caused by sudden alcohol withdrawal, restlessness, agitation, manic bipolar disorder, vomiting, and nausea caused by cancer drugs and chemotherapy. As the person’s body ingests the drug, it develops tolerance that keeps increasing. This causes the person to increase their dosage for the medicine to help them. This increases the risk of addiction and overdose.
If you keep ingesting it after developing a dependence, then you are more likely to experience distressing and severely painful withdrawal symptoms if you stop using it. This is what are known as the physical signs of Ativan addiction. Thus, the physical signs of Ativan addiction include:
- Lack of coordination
- Blurred vision
- Issues with making sound decisions
- Slurred speech
- Breathing issues
The signs of Ativan abuse are similar to that of alcohol abuse. The addict’s behaviour will make them susceptible to getting injuries and falling over. Some people with substance abuse problems increase the dosage and use the high dosage for more extended periods. This chronic abuse causes different, more severe, and various symptoms, including:
- Muscle weakness
- Memory loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Possible nutritional deficiency
- Weight loss
- Reduced appetite
It is worth noting that Ativan can cause serious long-term health issues, especially in older adults. Some of the symptoms stop once a person struggling with addiction stops using Ativan, like memory issues. Additionally, older adults who are prone to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia or struggle with it can expedite or trigger the brain activity decline. This means that their cognitive functions will decline faster.
Withdrawal Symptoms Of Ativan Abuse and Addiction
It is difficult to tell if a person is suffering from Ativan addiction. The withdrawal symptoms of Ativan are similar to those of a person who is suffering from anxiety or a panic attack. Therefore, it will be difficult to tell if the person is struggling with their disorder or going through withdrawal. Apart from the physical signs that a person struggling with addiction experiences, they can also show the following behavioural signs:
- Going to great lengths to purchase Ativan, including buying it from the black market
- Stealing Ativan prescription drugs from friends, family, and strangers
- Visiting many doctor hospitals to get more Ativan prescription drugs
- Acting like they have severe disorder symptoms to get more Ativan prescription drugs from the doctor
- Financial issues
- Reduce interest in performing obligations or acts that they enjoyed doing before
- Lashing out at everyone
- Losing their interest in family and friend relationships
- Lying about their dosage or how much they have taken
- Being extremely secretive
Ativan is abused chiefly with other drugs like painkillers and opioids. Some studies show that benzodiazepines increase the effects of opioids in the body. Using many medicines at the same time complicates the treatment and increases the risk of overdosing. It is worth noting that some classes of people are prone to experience severe health issues when they abuse prescription drugs such as Ativan. This class of people is avid alcohol drinkers, people with poor health and nutrition, and women.
Due to the potent nature of Ativan and the high dependency rate, a person with substance abuse problems is most likely to experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours from the last time they took the drug. If the person struggling with addiction survives, they will experience the more severe PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms) side effects after 10 to 14 days. The psychological effects of the drug can last for years and months depending on the age, length of abuse, and dosage used by the addict. The likely withdrawal symptoms include delusions, short-term memory loss, long-term memory loss, hallucinations, depression, vertigo, anxiety, depression, and sweating.
How Is Ativan Addiction Treated?
Quitting benzodiazepine abruptly is the worst mistake anyone can make. It is advised that a person with substance abuse problems goes through a medical detoxification process. This will help them cope with the severe side effects of the drug, pain, and the severe health issues caused by the Ativan addiction. It is common for a person to experience depression and anxiety during the detox stage, which increases the risk of sharing self-harm thoughts or committing suicide. Medical detox will help the person with substance abuse problems cope with this.
Detox is the most painful and challenging stage of the treatment process. It cleanses and rewires the body from Ativan dependency to carry out its normal function without the help of the drug. After detox is complete, the patient can then start a combination of treatments, including outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation, therapy, and support groups. This will help rewire the mental state of the patient. It will help them address underlying issues that triggered them to continue abusing the drugs. It will help them cope with the urge after completing the program.
Some facilities offer patient therapy treatment with their loved ones to help them mend their broken relationships caused by Ativan abuse. The patient is allowed to develop new skills that will help them address their issues without seeking the help of prescription drugs.