Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue in the U.S., and rates of abuse have increased dramatically.
Over the last few years, there have been more emergency room visits and overdose deaths associated with the abuse of prescription drugs. There’s also been an influx in the number of people admitted to treatment programs for the same reason.
Of all the prescription drugs that people abuse and misuse, one of the most common is Lorazepam.
Do you have a friend or family member who takes Lorazepam? Do you suspect that they might be dealing with a Lorazepam addiction? If so, read on to learn about some of the most common signs they may exhibit.
What is Lorazepam?
Lorazepam is a prescription drug usually prescribed to help those struggling with anxiety disorders. Some physicians also prescribe it for those who suffer from insomnia.
The brand name of Lorazepam is Ativan.
Lorazepam is a type of drug known as a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines work by depressing the central nervous system and bringing about a calming effect. They do this by heightening the effects of a neurotransmitter known as GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid).
Lorazepam is not a narcotic drug. It does produce many of the same effects as narcotic drugs, though, and it is known to be habit-forming.
Long-Term Risks of Lorazepam Abuse
There are also a lot of serious health risks associated with long-term Lorazepam abuse. The following are some of the most common health problems people experience when they suffer from Lorazepam addiction:
- Chronic fatigue
- Feelings of confusion and disorientation
- Memory loss and learning difficulties
- Sores in the mouth
- Abdominal bleeding
- Poor kidney function
- Chronic headaches
- A loss of appetite
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
In addition to these physical health issues, addiction to Lorazepam (or any drug, prescription or otherwise, for that matter) is associated with a variety of other psychological and social problems.
For example, prescription drug addiction often contributes to financial issues or relationship difficulties. Individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs may be more likely to turn to crime in order to continue feeding their addiction, too.
Signs of Lorazepam Addiction
Prescription drug addiction (especially Lorazepam addiction) is not always easy to spot. If someone has an addiction to this drug, though, they may begin to exhibit the following symptoms:
1. Changes in Lorazepam Usage
One of the first things you may spot is a change in the way your loved one uses Lorazepam.
They might have once only taken it on occasion. Now, though, they may be using it on a regular basis and taking it at a higher dosage than what their doctor recommends.
They may also exhibit other problematic behaviors, such as crushing the pills up or dissolving them in liquid. You might notice them combining Lorazepam with other substances, such as alcohol, too.
2. Physical Changes
Often, when someone is abusing benzodiazepines like Lorazepam, you’ll notice changes in the way they present themselves physically.
For example, you might notice the following physical symptoms:
- Deep mental and physical relaxation
- Slower response times
- Poor coordination and/or motor skills
- A slowed breathing rate
- A decrease in their ability to concentrate
- Lowered inhibitions
The more your loved one is abusing Lorazepam, the more pronounced these physical changes are likely to be.
3. Physical Side Effects
You may also notice some unpleasant physical side effects.
For example, individuals who abuse or are addicted to Lorazepam may have a depressed breathing rate or difficulty speaking. They may develop a skin rash or skin irritation over time, too.
4. Behavioral Changes
Changes in behavior are common with those who are addicted to Lorazepam as well.
Often, Lorazepam addicts will begin to avoid or forget about their commitments. They might start showing up late to work or skipping their shifts altogether. They might forget about promises they made to their partner or ignore them altogether.
Isolation is common, too, as their sole focus becomes consuming the Lorazepam, and usually doing so in private to avoid questioning or what they perceive as judgment.
In some cases, Lorazepam addicts begin to resort to illegal activities. They may begin stealing money or stealing pills. They may even end up forging prescriptions to keep up with their addiction.
5. Withdrawal Symptoms
You might also notice your loved one presenting withdrawal symptoms when they’ve gone too long without consuming Lorazepam. Common withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Panic attacks
Most people start to experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of their last dose of Lorazepam.
What to Do About Lorazepam Addiction
If you notice a loved one presenting any of these signs, they need to get help for their addiction as soon as possible. The longer they go on abusing Lorazepam, the more likely they are to experience serious side effects and health problems.
When you notice these symptoms, take the following steps to try and encourage your loved one to get the help they need:
Talk to Them One on One
Sometimes, taking your loved one aside and expressing your concern can be enough to get them to consider treatment. Avoid using blaming language or speaking in a way that could cause them to feel defensive, though.
Stage an Intervention
In other cases, staging an intervention with a group of friends and family members can be more effective. In these situations, everyone goes around and expresses concern for the addict and explains how their addiction has affected them.
Whether you take a group approach or talk to them one on one (or both), encourage them to seek treatment. It might be helpful to have information about treatment programs in your area ready to go so they understand what their options are.
Get Help Today
It’s not always clear if someone you love is dealing with a Lorazepam addiction.
If you keep these warning signs in mind, though, you’ll have an easier time figuring out if addiction is at the root of their problems.
Do you know or suspect that your loved one is addicted to Lorazepam? If so, it’s important to encourage them to seek help right away.
Contact us today at Coastal Detox to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and determine whether they’re a good fit for your loved one.
We’ll get back to you right away with all the information you need to help them make the best choice for themselves and their recovery.