Lorazepam (Ativan) is a benzodiazepine drug used to treat anxiety and other mental health disorders. It is often the drug used for sedation before dental procedures and for those with insomnia. This drug is physically addictive and not intended for long-term use. Many people are not able to function without Ativan once they become addicted to this substance. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 13 percent of people who abuse lorazepam also use another drug, and 82 percent of people who abuse a substance also use lorazepam. There has been an increase by 300 percent of hospitalizations related to this drug in America. Additionally, according to SAMSHA, benzodiazepines abuse accounts for over 300,000 emergency department visits each year, and
Effects of Lorazepam Abuse
Ativan abuse is common in the U.S. You could be dependent upon lorazepam if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Tolerance – The prescribed dose does not work, so you increase your dose without consulting the physician. This means it takes more and more of the medication to achieve the same effects (tolerance).
- Inability to function – You may not be able to function without lorazepam. Those who attempt to stop the use on their own experience profound anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks, rapid heart rate, and increased blood pressure.
- Drug-seeking behavior – You are attempting to obtain more of the drug illegally by any means possible. This could be by purchasing it online, off the street, or forging prescriptions.
- Financial problems – You are spending money to purchase lorazepam and have put it before bills or other financial obligations.
Addiction to lorazepam occurs because this drug makes a person feel drowsy and relaxed. Some people have car accidents and personal injury when using lorazepam. This drug reduces inhibition, and is often abused with alcohol for a potentiated effect. Over time, continual use of lorazepam leads to addiction symptoms of agitation, depression, anger, and suicidal thoughts. People with an addiction to lorazepam often develop kidney problems and skin disorders also.
Treatment for Addiction to Lorazepam
The treatment for a lorazepam addiction begins with a visit to a detoxification (detox) rehabilitation (rehab) center. The detox process involves a gradual withdrawal from the substance while under the supervision of healthcare professionals. These people will help make the addict feel as comfortable as possible during the rehab and recovery process.
People who become psychologically addicted to lorazepam often experience agitation, depression, anxiety, mood swings, and intense rage. With physical addiction, the person will have stomach cramps, fever, shortness of breath, seizures, and tremors. The substance abuse professionals will reduce these symptoms by prescribing medications temporarily that counteract withdrawals. Inpatient rehabilitation programs allow the individual to attend counseling and group therapy to discuss how to live a sober and clean life. Random drug tests are administered at the rehab center, and after care is mandatory, which usually takes one year.