the risks of ativan addiction and abuse, lorazepam abuse and addiction, benzo addiction treatment, drug detox south florida

Ativan, also known as Lorazepam, is a common anxiety medication and benzodiazepine that can lead to dependence, addiction, overdose, and death. Individuals with Ativan addiction may experience severe withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug, leading to debilitating anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Lorazepam withdrawal often worsens someone’s addiction, leading to repeated use and higher doses, increasing overdose risks and death.

What is Ativan (Lorazepam)?

Ativan, the brand name for Lorazepam, is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety disorders. It is also prescribed to treat insomnia and seizure disorders, such as epilepsy, and is even used for sedation in hospital settings. Ativan belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (benzos), which works by slowing down activity in the brain and central nervous system (CNS). It stimulates the activity of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter, which releases calming effects on the nervous system. By slowing down the nervous system, Lorazepam helps reduce feelings of anxiety, relaxes muscle tension, and promotes relaxation and sedation.

As a benzodiazepine, Ativan is considered a Schedule IV controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has a low potential for abuse and dependence. While considered a Schedule IV substance, Lorazepam has a risk for abuse and addiction as well as overdose and death.

effects of lorazepam abuse and addiction, ativan addiction risks and overdose

Side Effects of Lorazepam

Lorazepam (Ativan) is a depressant drug used to relieve feelings of anxiety and seizures. The side effects of Ativan may vary depending on the individual’s health status, duration of use, and other substances they’re using. Some of the most common symptoms associated with Lorazepam include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in sexual desire and performance

While some of these side effects are not of high concern, if symptoms are recurring and worsening, contact your doctor immediately. More severe side effects of Ativan requiring emergency medical attention include:

  • Shuffling walk
  • Mental/mood changes
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Persistent tremor
  • Trouble talking
  • Rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, eyes, or mouth
  • Wheezing
  • Memory impairments
  • Hallucinations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Seizures

If you’re taking Lorazepam and begin experiencing any of these side effects, seek medical help immediately.

man struggling with anxiety and ativan addiction, treatment for ativan addiction and mental health disorder, co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis treatment stuart fl

The Dangers of Ativan (Lorazepam) Addiction

While Schedule IV substances have a low abuse potential, benzodiazepines like Ativan can lead to physical and psychological dependence with chronic use. Ativan is a short-acting benzodiazepine that has a higher risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms since the body metabolizes the drug quickly. It’s essential to understand Ativan’s drug interactions that can influence the sedative effects, potentially leading to dangerous health risks such as slowed breathing and overdose. Some medications and substances that can interact with Ativan (Lorazepam) include:

  • Alcohol
  • Anxiety or sleep medications (alprazolam, diazepam)
  • Antidepressants (fluoxetine, sertraline)
  • Seizure medications (carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital)
  • Muscle relaxants (carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine)
  • Opioids (codeine, hydrocodone)
  • Antihistamines (cetirizine, diphenhydramine)
  • Marijauana (cannabis)

Taking Ativan with these substances and medications can lead to heightened side effects, which can be potentially life-threatening. If you’re taking Lorazepam, consulting a medical professional about other medications and substances is critical before mixing them.

The Signs and Symptoms of Lorazepam Dependence

Like most medications, the body tolerates the drug over time. As users become accustomed to Ativan, they start requiring a higher dose to achieve the desired effect. Users with a Lorazepam dependence may feel like they cannot function without the medication, leading to severe anxiety and trouble sleeping. If Ativan use is stopped or reduced, users may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, tremors, restlessness, debilitating anxiety, and seizures.

Cognitive Impairments

Chronic use of Lorazepam can lead to severe cognitive impairments, including short-term memory loss, confusion, and disorientation. Ativan is intended for short-term treatment of anxiety due to the risk of dependence and memory impairments. Long-term Lorazepam users may experience trouble concentrating and feeling disoriented and confused.

Mental Health Issues

While Ativan is labeled an anxiety medication, it is purposed for short-term use. Extended use of Lorazepam can exacerbate depression and anxiety symptoms. Ativan addiction can lead to unpredictable mood swings and emotional instability, impacting daily functioning.

Physical Health Risks

Like most benzodiazepines, high doses of Ativan can lead to central nervous system (CNS) depression and respiratory depression or failure. Other adverse physical reactions include seizures, hypotension, ataxia, libido changes, fatigue, amnesia, and urinary retention. In rare cases, Lorazepam abuse and addiction can cause acute liver injury.

Lorazepam Addiction and Overdose Risk

Individuals with Ativan addiction are at an increased risk for overdose and death from benzodiazepine abuse. Users who partake in alcohol use while on Lorazepam are more susceptible to adverse reactions and side effects, including fatal overdose. Ativan overdose can cause CNS and respiratory depression, leading to hypotension, ataxia, confusion, severe drowsiness, coma, and death.

Combining benzodiazepines and opioids can result in severe sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Overdosing on Lorazepam can be life-threatening, especially when mixed with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants like opioids or alcohol.

woman in therapy and addiction treatment for dual diagnosis, drug detox and rehab treatment for ativan addiction and anxiety disorder

Impact on Quality of Life

Chronic abuse of benzodiazepines can lead to poor mental health and isolation, often affecting personal relationships and social connections. Users with an addiction to Ativan may begin neglecting personal responsibilities, such as missing work, self-care, and social or family gatherings. The impact of Ativan addiction and the physical, psychological, and social deterioration often result in an overall decline in quality of life. Substance abuse can give rise to legal and financial struggles, such as drug-related behaviors and polysubstance abuse.

Benzodiazepine abuse and addiction can have fatal consequences outside of the physical and mental effects of Lorazepam. Understanding the dangerous risks of Ativan addiction is critical for preventing abuse, dependence, overdose, and death.

Drug Detox and Rehab Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction in Stuart, FL

Seeking treatment for Ativan addiction requires a combination of medical drug detox, addiction treatment, psychotherapy, and long-term recovery support. Treating benzo addiction in drug detox in South Florida is done under round-the-clock medical supervision and care, ensuring patients undergo the withdrawal process safely. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in medical detox is an effective treatment for patients struggling with co-occurring substance abuse and anxiety disorders.

You don’t have to struggle with substance abuse and addiction aloneCoastal Detox is here for you. Our alcohol and drug detox programs in Stuart, FL, offer patients a safe withdrawal process with psychosocial and medical support.