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Ativan Dependence

Are You Ativan Dependent?

You are not alone…

In the early 2010’s, more than 20% of America’s adult population was prescribed a medication to treat anxiety and depression, according to a report by USA Today. Medical physicians commonly prescribe Ativan, as well as other benzodiazepines for the treatment of those conditions. What’s more, researchers have reported that in recent years, Ativan prescriptions in the U.S have reached numbers above 26.4 million.


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In this article, we’ll take a look into the dependence, withdrawal and treatment for this widely used prescription medication. At the end, we welcome you to send us your questions. In fact, we do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

How Do You Get Dependent on Ativan?

Ativan tranquilizes the central nervous system and interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA to slow the brain’s activity. With continued use, these chemical changes in the brain become the normal state of being, and any cessation or lowering in doses can throw you off balance. Then, as a consequence, you experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.

Due to the high likelihood for psychological and physical dependence, Ativan should not be prescribed for extended use. Dependence can occur in a period of a month or two in patients that use Ativan for medical purposes. But the risk for dependence increases with recreational use and abuse of Ativan.

Does Dependence = Ativan Addiction?

No! Dependence and addiction are two different conditions.

DEPENDENCE is the body’s natural adaptation mechanism to outside factors. It develops as the brain’s neurons adapt to the repeated Ativan exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug. When the drug is withdrawn, several physiologic reactions occur. However, after the effects of withdrawal wear off, a dependent person will not feel cravings or a need to go back to using Ativan again.

ADDICTION, on the other hand, is a complex disease. It is a medical condition that requires medical interventions and therapy to be managed. Those who are addicted to Ativan are unable to stop using it…even after withdrawal is over. Addiction is characterized by:

  • A loss of control over Ativan use.
  • Obsessive-compulsive Ativan seeking.
  • Continued use of Ativan regardless of its harmful consequences.

…BUT addiction can be treated successfully with the right course of treatment.

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Signs of Ativan Dependence

Tolerance = Users often develop tolerance to Ativan when they take their medication for a period of time. This means that over time, your starting doses become less effective, so you need to up your Ativan use amount just to reach the desired effect.

Withdrawal = The cluster of effects that emerge when you stop taking Ativan are called withdrawal symptoms. They are a sign that your body and brain have gotten accustomed to the presence of Ativan. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely severe and make it hard for people to quit. They may include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Delirium
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Sensory hypersensitivity (to light, noise, touch)
  • Seizures

Are You Dependent On Ativan?

In addition to increased tolerance and the occurrence of Ativan withdrawal, there are a few other signs that an Ativan dependent user will most probably manifest. See if some of the following statements are true for yourself or a loved one.

  • You run out of Ativan before it’s time for a prescription refill.
  • You mix Ativan with other drugs and alcohol.
  • You have become preoccupied with using and obtaining Ativan.
  • You have gotten involved in illicit purchasing (online, off the street, off someone else who’s prescribed).
  • You’ve gone doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors.
  • You refuse to discontinue Ativan use due to fear of withdrawal symptoms.

If you can recognize 2 or more of these scenarios, you might need to speak with your doctor about possible assessment of your need for Ativan dependence treatment.

How To End Ativan Dependence

1. Management of Ativan Withdrawal Syndrome.

Doctors suggest that it’s best to end Ativan dependence under the supervision of a physician or a medical team. You can detox from Ativan in a detox center or at home, depending of your level of dependence severity and individual treatment needs. This process usually involves two phases.

TAPERING: This part of the process involves a slow and gradual reduction of Ativan doses as instructed by a tapering schedule designed specifically for you. Tapering down can also mean taking a long-acting benzodiazepine such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane) and tapering those down as suggested by your doctor. In general, it takes most people about 10 weeks or more to finally stop taking tapered doses and completely come off of Ativan.

MEDICAL DETOX: It takes around 18 to 36 hours for Ativan to work its way out of your system after you stop use. During this time period, and even in the weeks to follow, you may still experience and array of harsh withdrawal effects. This is why medical detox is the most recommended way to cleanse your body of the drug. At a detox clinic, you will receive round-the-clock care to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible and do not relapse.

2. Continued Care for Ativan Dependence.

After detoxing from Ativan and once your body is physically stable, it’s time for the next step in treatment. Rehab centers offer treatments that can be customized to your therapeutic needs and your required level of care.

Ativan Dependence Questions

The detoxification and rehab from Ativan may look intimidating. But, never let that stop you! There are hundreds of thousands of people who make it through! So can you!

If you have personal experience with dependence, detox, and withdrawal, or perhaps have been through all these stages of Ativan addiction treatment, please feel free to share your experience with us and inspire others who are looking for support. We also welcome your questions in the comments section below. We do our best to provide personal and prompt answers all legitimate inquiries from our readers.

Reference Sources: Coalition against Drug Abuse: Lorazepam Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment
NIDA for Teens: CNS Depressants
Coalition against Drug Abuse: The Effects of Ativan Use

Ativan Dependence

2 Physical addiction to Ativan

Physical addiction to Ativan

May 15th, 2017

Ativan is a powerful benzodizepine with a high risk of causing physical dependence and addiction. Here, we answer how you can recognize physical addiction to Ativan and what treatment is like.

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