Is lorazepam addictive?

YES. Lorazepam is addictive. This is even the case when lorazepam is prescribed by a doctor. We review what lorazepam is made of, and how you get addicted to lorazepam here.

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YES. Lorazepam is addictive.

What exactly is it about lorazepam that makes it so addictive? Basically, lorazepam’s euphoric effects.  How long do lorazepam effects last – about 6 to 8 hours.   Plus, peak levels of lorazepam process relatively quickly through the body.  So how do you know if you have a problem with lorazepam addiction? We’ll review these questions here. Then, we invite your questions about the addictive potential of lorazepam at the end.

What is lorazepam used for?

While lorazepam is best-known for its anti-anxiety effects, it’s also sometimes used to treat severe seizures, insomnia, and muscle spasms. Lorazepam is an oral medication, usually given as a tablet, but sometimes also as a liquid. By slowing brain activity, lorazepam exerts its relaxing effects on the user. When taken in large amounts, lorazepam can be abused to create a euphoric high.

What is lorazepam made of?

Lorazepam is part of the benzodiazepine family of medications. More specifically, lorazepam (initially marketed under the brand names Ativan and Temesta) is a potent short-to-intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. Inactive ingredients that may be added in prescription lorazepam might include monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polacriline potassium.

How addictive is lorazepam?

Lorazepam is extremely addictive. That’s why doctors typically only prescribe lorazepam for 3-4 months at a time. In fact, lorazepam is not appropriate for long-term use because of how easily the body can develop a dependence or tolerance to lorazpam. Addiction to lorazepam, or the psychological dependence on lorazepam can shortly follow. But there’s more to lorazepam addiction than just the chemical properties of the drug. Other factors which make it easy to get hooked on lorazepam include:

  • easy lorazepam availability
  • doctor’s attitudes in prescribing lorazepam
  • local controls and laws on lorazepam
  • lorazepam’s diversion history

Lorazepam dependence vs. addiction

Taking lorazepam long-term can usually result in physical dependence. While dependence on lorazepam isn’t necessarily the same as an addiction (it can be hard to tell the difference between the two), there is a subtle distinction. While a physical dependence involves both a tolerance to the effects of the drug, and the inability to stop taking the drug suddenly without withdrawals, addiction has an added psychological dimension. Lorazepam addicts will be unable to function emotionally or psychologically without their medication.

How do you get addicted to lorazepam?

You’re must less likely to develop a lorazepam addiction if you take lorazepam exactly as directed by a doctor, not in higher doses or greater frequency than recommended. Taking lorazepam in any other way is seen as intentional abuse and greatly increases the risk of lorazepam addiction.  For example, mixing lorazepam and alcohol for effect is more risky than taking either separately.  A past history of drug or alcohol abuse also puts you at risk for developing other addictions, including one to lorazepam.

Lorazepam abuse may involve:

  1. chewing lorazepam to more quickly access the medication
  2. crushing and snorting lorazepam powder
  3. dissolving lorazepam in water to inject the pills
  4. taking lorazepam without a prescription
  5. taking lorazepam in higher or more frequent doses than prescribed

Signs of lorazepam addiction

It can be hard to recognize the sings of a lorazepam addiction, since they can be so similar to the signs of a chemical or physical dependence on lorazepam. The following signs are usually a good indication that there’s something more than simply a dependence at work:

  • using or abusing lorazepam despite negative personal consequences
  • compulsive cravings for lorazepam
  • trying to stimulate the brain’s “reward center” with lorazepam

Do you recognize these signs and symptoms of lorazepam addiction in yourself or someone close to you? If YES, then don’t wait any longer to get help from professionals. See what it’s like to seek help from lorazepam addiction treatment programs and how you can choose the best treatment type, duration, and therapies for you.

Lorazepam addiction potential questions

Do you still have questions about lorazepam’s addiction potential? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference sources: Medline Plus: Lorazepam – Treatment for Abuse of Anti-Anxiety Drugs Tripled Over 10 Years
DEA – Drug Fact Sheet: Benzodiazepines
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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