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Ativan Use

Read more about the effects of Ativan when you take it regularly and the consequences of long term use or abuse here.

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Ativan Should Be Used With Care

Ativan is a medication prescribed for the moderation of anxiety. Its main ingredient – lorazepam – belongs to the class of drugs known as “benzodiazepines”, or “benzos”. Benzos like Ativan act on the brain and central nervous system (CNS) and produce a calming effect.

However, due to its habit forming effects, you should use Ativan only as prescribed by your doctor. Any abuse of Ativan can cause addiction, overdose, or death. You should never share Ativan with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. But one of the most important things you should be aware is that Ativan increases the effects of alcohol.

Read on to uncover more about Ativan’s medical and recreational uses, short and long term use, abuse and side effects. Then, we invite your questions or comments at the end.
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Medical Use Of Ativan

Ativan is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders in patients. It is effective for short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depression. It can also help in the treatment of insomnia and panic attacks. But anxiety treatment is not the only medical use of Ativan.

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In combination with other medications, Ativan is found to prevent nausea and vomiting which come as a side effect from chemotherapy. Doctors prescribe it for prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal. Ativan can also be used for treating seizures (status epilepticus).

Ativan is taken with or without food, depending on the medical condition and doctor’s advice. The dosage can vary in different individuals, and is prescribed in accordance with health status, age, and response to treatment. It’s available as tablets of 0.5, 1, and 2 mg, an oral solution of 2mg/ml, and injection 2 mg/ml and 4 mg/ml.

Ativan Recreational Use

Recreational use of Ativan is rarely limited to Ativan only, as it is often mixed with alcohol or other drugs (illicit or prescription). Taking Ativan recreationally or in any way other than as directed, can have bad consequences and is considered to be abuse.

Ativan can be administered:

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  • Orally
  • Intramuscular injection
  • Intravenous injection
  • Sublingually
  • Transdermally
  • By crushing and snorting

However, there are some other side effects that users should be aware of. They can occur rarely, but are closely related with increased regularity of use and increased dosage amount of Ativan. Among these dangerous side effects of recreational use are:

  • Anterograde amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations,
  • Hyperactivity
  • Light-headedness
  • Sedation
  • Weakness

Ativan Overdose Risk

Predominantly in cases where Ativan is taken with alcohol and/or other drugs, there is a great risk of overdose. So, for all patients safety, it is not advised by doctors to mix Ativan with any other agents. The overdose of Ativan is usually manifested by CNS depression, which can range in its severity anywhere from drowsiness to coma. Other most common symptoms of OD include:

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  • Ataxia
  • Cardiovascular depression
  • Dysaethria
  • Hypotension
  • Hypotonia
  • Lethargy
  • Mental confusion
  • Paradoxical behavior
  • Respiratory impairment
  • Coma
  • Death

Upon experiencing any of these symptoms, you should immediately Call 911; or Call Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 to talk to poison expert in case of emergency. They provide free, over-the-phone assessment of overdose and offer advice on what to do next.

Long Term Ativan Use

The most common long-term effect of Ativan use is the development of tolerance, and it’s the body’s response to the prolonged ingestion of the drug. Over time, the individual’s system adjusts to the presence of Ativan and the effects of the drug become lower in their intensity. This causes the users to need higher doses to achieve the high as before. Such behavior can lead to dependence and even addiction.

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Another consequences of long-term Ativan intake are the development of red eye, which is reversible after cessation of use, and cognitive impairments, which can also be treated, but may remain after treatment.

Prolonged Use Of Ativan

The use of Ativan may lead to physical and psychological dependence. The risk of dependence is increased when a person is taking higher doses and for a longer period of time (in general, benzos are prescribed for 2-4 weeks, short-term treatment only). The risk for dependence is greater in patients with a history of alcoholism or drug abuse or in patients with significant personality disorders.

Withdrawal symptoms occur if Ativan is abruptly stopped, even after only one week of therapy. Plus, sudden discontinuation of this medicine is not recommended, instead doctors suggest tapering off of Ativan by gradually lowering doses. Abrupt cessation of treatment may be accompanied by the following Ativan withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Derealization
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Involuntary movements
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Panic attacks
  • Perceptual changes (hypersensitivity)
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Tingling of arms and legs

Your Questions

Do you have any other issues or questions that we didn’t get to uncover in the text above? Keep exploring our website where we get into the many perspectives of use, abuse, dependence, withdrawal and Ativan detox, or Ativan addiction treatment.

Or, if you have a question for us or want to share a personal experience, we welcome your feedback in the comments section below.

Reference Sources:  MedicineNet: LORAZEPAM-ORAL index
MedicineNet: lorazepam, Ativan
MedlinePlus: Lorazepam (Ativan)
DailyMed: Ativan (lorazepam) tablet
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  1. I took 4 little whit ativan yesterday, Nov. 4th. I have a drug test on the 13th. Do you think it will be gone by then? Thank you

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