Ativan Problem: A Treatable Condition
Ativan – lorazepam – is a fact-acting benzodiazepine medication with a high addictive potential. As a sedative, Ativan can cause euphoric effects which may be compelling to many. Can you get addicted to Ativan?
Your chances of becoming addicted increase if you are using it in ways other than prescribed, misusing it to get high, or if you have a history of substance use problems.
But, what’s most important is that Ativan addiction can be treated. Addiction is a medical condition that affects millions of people world wide, and responds to appropriate medical treatment.
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In this article, we explore Ativan addiction and explain what addiction to Ativan feels like. Plus, we get into the management of Ativan withdrawal and Ativan addiction treatment options. At the end, we invite you to post your comments and questions in the designated section at the bottom of the page. We value all our reader’s feedback and do our best to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.
A Highway To Addiction
Ativan produces euphoric feelings and an overall sense of relaxation. These warm and calming sensations cause many individuals to continue using Ativan over and over again. What does the cycle look like?
Usually, after the pleasant ‘high’ from Ativan wears off, a different story follows. As the good feelings recede, a person can easily become irritable, angry, or even depressed. To get rid of these unpleasant side feelings they will continue to use Ativan.
Although those who obtain it illegally and abuse Ativan for recreational purposes face a higher risk of developing addiction more quickly, in most cases, Ativan addiction begins with a doctor’s prescription. Long-term use of Ativan results in:
- physical dependence on Ativan
- psychological dependence on Ativan
…and may lead to addiction, perhaps even to some cognitive impairments which can be irreversible. Addiction may go unnoticed at first, especially if you have a prescription for Ativan. Eventually, a problem becomes more apparent as use patterns becomes more severe.
REMEMBER: Although medically effective, Ativan is not intended for long-term use because of its highly addictive and habit-forming properties.
What is Ativan Addiction…Really?
Addiction is a condition of the brain. It is often defined as a chronic and relapsing brain disease that is characterized by continued use of a psychoactive drug despite its harmful effects on many aspects of life.
When addiction sets in, Ativan slowly starts to take a central role in your life. Suddenly, obtaining and using Ativan becomes more important than you job, your family, and your health. This is why people who have a problem with benzodiazepines have a hard time stopping even though they might be aware of the negative consequences of continuing use.
Ativan addiction is characterized by:
- A compulsion to use Ativan.
- Continued use despite negative consequences.
- Cravings for Ativan.
- Inability to function or cope with everyday situations without Ativan.
- Loss of control over amount and frequency of use.
- Obsessing over obtaining Ativan.
Addiction to Ativan: What’s it Like?
Addiction can catch you unaware because most people believe they cannot get ‘hooked’ on a medication their doctor has prescribed. Here is how one Ativan user describes the journey from using the medication exactly as suggested.
“I was on Ativan for about 3 years. It started “as needed” the doctor had told me they were non-addictive (I am a sober alcoholic), then moved to daily, and then pretty soon I was abusing them. When I was up to taking 8 mg a day, I told my Dr., and we weaned me off them. One of the things that makes Ativan one of the more addictive benzo’s is it’s short half life, and how fast acting it is. You get an immediate effect, which makes you crave more, and I built up a tolerance pretty fast.
I did not research it but I should have. I became addicted psychologically and when I went into a deep depression I started investigating the whole thing and found out all benzos are addictive, and the Ativan I was taking should not be taken for more than 3 weeks. I had been taking them for 3 years. I decided to quit cold turkey and I went through HELL! Most days I could not get out of bed, had trouble walking, talking, or functioning, it lasted for about 3 weeks…then I researched how to withdraw from Benzos and found out I should never have done it cold turkey but it was too late, I had gone through the worse!
This was my experience with Benzos…worse than anything…worse than alcohol withdrawal (cold sweats, no sleeping, shaking) I never would take them again on a regular basis, I would rather not sleep for weeks than taking it again.”
How is Ativan Addiction Diagnosed?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the most common guidelines and signs that doctors look for in patients to diagnose prescription drug addiction include:
1. Tolerance. Do you feel like the more you use Ativan – the less effective it becomes? There is a reason behind this. Requiring higher doses to achieve the same initial effect indicates an increased tolerance to Ativan. For example, running out of your prescription earlier than expected is a clear indicator for medical professionals that your tolerance to Ativan is increasing.
2. Withdrawal symptoms. When you become physically dependent on Ativan, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms when doses are reduced or stopped. These effects occur because your body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and needs it to function.
3. Cravings. Feeling a strong need to use Ativan again and again is a sign of psychological dependence. Cravings can be explained as a sharp, intense, and tormenting urge to take more pills that will make you justify anything you need to say or do in order to feel that satisfaction and relief again.
4. Work/school performance issues. Problems at school and/or at work occur either because you are under the influence of Ativan and it makes you appear drowsy and unfocused, or because obtaining and using Ativan has become your top priority in life…so you are neglecting all other responsibilities.
5. Financial problems. Ativan is an expensive medication. Buying it illegally, such as off internet pharmacies or off the street can cost a lot. Plus, the cognitive impairments the drug causes can influence your financial stability by interfering with your work habits and productivity.
There are many other symptoms that indicate Ativan abuse and addiction problems. The severity of the symptoms, of course, depends upon the individual case and the level of addiction. But, you know what they say:
Where there is smoke, there’s a fire!
So, if you suspect that your or a loved one’s relationship with Ativan is becoming risky…don’t wait to seek help! The sooner you address unhealthy Ativan use patterns – the better your chances of making a full recovery.
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Treatment of Ativan Addiction
Treatment for Ativan addiction can include a mix of:
- Medical interventions.
- Psychological support.
- Behavioral therapies.
MEDICAL DETOXIFICATION at a detox clinic offers a round-the-clock monitoring and medical assistance. Doctors will usually switch you to a longer-acting benzodiazepine and taper you off of the replacement. They may also prescribe additional medications to help reduce the severity of the withdrawal symptoms.
Quitting Ativan cold turkey can be dangerous and is not recommended… in any case! Tapering according to a schedule designed by your doctor is the recommended way to discontinue Ativan. Tapering has been proven to give better results, in addition to being safer and more comfortable.
ADDICTION TREATMENT PROGRAMS at rehab centers are useful for continued treatment after the Ativan detox process is over. These programs concentrate on uncovering the underlying reasons for your behavior and addressing the issues that may have fuelled the addiction in the first place. They also teach you how to practice positive thoughts and how to avoid future addictive behaviors. Therapies used may include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Community reinforcement approach
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Contingency management interventions
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- 12-Step programs
Got Any Questions?
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Explore our website for more in-depth exploration of the issues of Ativan use, abuse, dependence, addiction, detox, withdrawal and treatment. We also invite your questions and comments in the section below and do our best to answer all legitimate inquiries in a personal and prompt manner.