Ativan Addiction

Ativan (lorazepam) is a sedative that is liberally prescribed by medical clinicians throughout the United States, for the treatment of anxiety; other accepted uses for the drug include prescribing it for insomnia or to relieve seizures in younger aged children. Ativan has been classified with a group of medications that are sedatives, which are commonly referred to as benzodiazepines; these types of drugs have been reported to affect chemicals in the brain in a way that reduces anxiety. Although continuous long term use of Ativan is not recommended, it is not uncommon for doctors throughout the U.S. to prescribe this sedative to patients for many years.

Ativan Side Effects

Ativan side effects include: amnesia, muscle weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, drowsiness, sleep disturbances, lack of coordination, difficulty in concentrating, noticeable changes in appetite, skin rash, and a feeling of light-headedness. More severe side effects (but less common) can include: hallucinations, fainting, hyperactivity, agitation, hostility, depression, confusion, suicidal tendencies, violent behavior, or irrational thoughts.

Ativan is among one of the three most commonly abused benzodiazepines in the United States; additionally, Ativan and other similar types of sedatives have been directly linked to over half of the drug-related suicide attempts involving pharmaceutical drugs. The potential for an addiction to Ativan is much higher than with many other pharmaceutical drugs, because the medications peak effects have been reported to last significantly longer, which can induce a strong craving for the next dose in the user. Because Ativan has been reported to be both highly addictive and habit-forming, this sedative should only be used by the person for whom it has legitimately been prescribed. A person who takes Ativan should not mix this sedative with other medications that could possibly cause drowsiness, such as antihistamines; additionally, the drug should not ever be combined with alcohol, as this would intensify the medication's side effects, which can increase the potential for a potentially fatal overdose.

Ativan use can greatly reduce an individual's level of consciousness, which can interfere with their ability to be fully aware of their present surroundings or to be in control of their actions; this particular side effect also increases the risk of an accidental overdose, because the user may forget that they have taken their dose of Ativan, and proceed to take another dose of the sedative.

Ativan Abuse

Although Ativan has the potential to relieve many legitimate ailments, it has commonly been reported to be a drug that has also a high potential for abuse. What constitutes abuse of Ativan is taking more of the medication than has been prescribed, which could also put the user at risk for a potentially deadly overdose.

Ativan and others type of drugs that are classified as benzodiazepines, work through activating the brain's reward systems. Because the promise of a reward is extremely intense, it will cause the Ativan user to crave more of the drug, as the addiction to the potent sedative progresses; thus individuals who become addicted to Ativan will often attempt to get multiple prescriptions from many physicians in order to support their addiction to the sedative. Ativan and other types of benzodiazepines can easily be ordered over the internet, from vendors outside of the United States. It is important to note, that many medications that are distributed through internet sales are not regulated, and consequently, have often been reported to contain various types of dangerous ingredients.

Ativan Addiction

Ativan addiction has currently skyrocketed in the United States because the drug is easy to access as it is liberally prescribed throughout the United States. Most people, who take Ativan as prescribed by a physician, will take it responsibly; however, the nonmedical use or abuse of Ativan and other types of similar benzodiazepines remains a serious public health concern. Long-term users of the medication will eventually develop a tolerance to the sedative, requiring larger doses of the drug in order to achieve the desired effects. A person can develop both a psychological and a physical dependence on Ativan, making it difficult for them to discontinue the drug without seeking the professional assistance of a quality drug rehab program. Some individuals who abuse prescription sedatives such as Ativan will use the drug to bring them down after using stimulants such as methamphetamine or cocaine, and others may take it to enhance the effects of alcohol.

Ativan is a prescription medication that has a high potential for addiction, because the drug causes the user to experience a calming trance-like state, which is often accompanied by feelings of well-being. Once an individual has moved from taking Ativan as it has been prescribed and developed an addiction to the drug, they will often start "doctor shopping" in order to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors to support their addiction. Ativan activates the brain's reward systems; because the promise of the sedative's reward is very intense, it causes the individual to crave more of the benzodiazepine and to begin to focus his or her activities around taking the drug.

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan should never be discontinued abruptly if it has been taken regularly for any length of time because, severe, and in some cases, deadly withdrawal symptoms have been reported to occur. When regular long term users of Ativan have attempted to withdraw from this drug, a large body of medical literature has confirmed that severe psychosis could potentially develop; thus, it is extremely important that a long term user of this potent benzodiazepine does not attempt to stop taking the drug without the benefit of professional guidance and support. In the United States, a number of deaths each year have been reported to occur from withdrawal-related seizures after user's have attempted to gradually reduce their dosage of Ativan without professional assistance. An Ativan user should not abruptly stop taking this medication, if they have been taking it regularly for any significant amount of time, as severe and potentially deadly side effects could possibly occur.

Individuals who have taken Ativan regularly, over a long period of time ,have reported developing both a psychological and physical dependence to the sedative, making it difficult to discontinue the use of this drug, without the assistance of a quality drug treatment program.

Ativan Overdose

Ativan overdose symptoms can include, but may not be limited to: muscle weakness, shakiness, confusion, trouble breathing, comas, slow pulse rate, slurred speech, convulsions, seizures, and in some cases, death from withdrawal. It is vital that a person seeks immediate medical assistance, at the first hint of a potential Ativan overdose; the importance of this life-saving action cannot be overstated.

The medical treatment that is related to an Ativan overdose will vary and can include the administration of various different types of medications, such as a popular antidote that is known as Flumazenil, or by emptying the content of the person's stomach; additional supportive emergency care may be necessary, based on specific medical complications that could potentially occur.

Ativan Drug Facts

  • Before an individual begins taking Ativan, they should be sure to tell the prescribing physician if they have any respiratory ailments, glaucoma, kidney or liver disease or if they have a history of substance abuse problems.
  • Ativan is considered to be a mild tranquilizer as well as a sedative; thus, the drug slows down the system, while also producing a calming trance like state in some individuals.
  • Ativan us could cause a woman to experience complications during pregnancy, and has the potential to cause a number of birth defects in an unborn baby.
  • Pharmacists and health care providers should note rapid increases in the amount of Ativan that a patient needs, as requesting an increase in dosage could possibly indicate that the person is developing a tolerance to the medication.
  • Individuals who become addicted to Ativan may engage in a practice called "doctor shopping," where they will began seeing several physician's at the same time in order to obtain multiple prescriptions for the sedative.
  • Ativan that has been prescribed to an individual should never be shared with someone else; this is particularly important if the other person has a history of substance abuse problems; additionally, for safety purposes, be sure to keep this sedative out of reach of small children.
  • When an individual has been prescribed Ativan, they should avoid other medicines that could make them drowsy, as these other medications can add to the sleepiness that is caused by the benzodiazepine.
  • Whether Ativan could cause damage a baby that is nursing has not currently been determined; an individual should not use this medication without disclosing to their doctor that they are breast-feeding an infant.
  • Medical literature has reported many cases of severe psychosis, in individuals who were regular long term users of Ativan, and who have abruptly discontinued the drug.
  • The widespread availability of drugs that are classified as benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, has increasingly made them common drugs of abuse and addiction throughout the United States.
  • The ease of Ativan to stimulate brain reward mechanisms is primarily what causes an addiction to the sedative.
  • The sedative effects of Ativan have commonly been reported to last significantly longer in patients that are over the age of 59. According to government statistics, geriatric patients who have been prescribed Ativan have a much higher rate of overdose occurrences, as compared to any other age group.
  • Drug Facts
  • There may be an increased risk of drowsiness and sedation if Ativan is taken with any of the following (which can also cause drowsiness): alcohol, tricyclic antidepressants, eg amitriptyline, MAOI antidepressants, eg phenelzine, opioid painkillers, eg morphine, codeine, dihydrocodeine, sedating antihistamines, eg chlorpheniramine, antipsychotics, eg chlorpromazine, clozapine, barbiturates, eg phenobarbitone, other benzodiazepines, eg diazepam, sleeping tablets.
  • Each Ativan tablet intended for oral use contains .5mg, 1mg, or 2mg of Lorazepam.
  • Ativan withdrawal symptoms, similar in character to those noted with barbiturates and alcohol have occurred following abrupt discontinuance of this drug.
  • Memory impairment is highly relevant to students who use Ativan. The risk of acute amnesia is more pronounced with short-acting drugs. Ativan (Lorazepam), Halcion (triazolam), Xanax (alprazolam) and Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) are especially likely to induce such memory impairment.
  • Of the more than 30 million people who take drugs such as Ativan, more than four million are addicted.