Finding Effective Ativan Addiction Treatment
- 1 Finding Effective Ativan Addiction Treatment
- 2 How Does Ativan Work?
- 3 What are the Side Effects of Ativan?
- 4 Can You Overdose on Ativan?
- 5 What Happens When People Abuse Ativan?
- 6 How is Ativan Addiction Diagnosed?
- 7 Top Ativan Drug Combinations
- 8 What are the Risk Factors of Ativan Addiction?
- 9 How to Wean Off Ativan Safely
- 10 Ativan Addiction Treatment – What to Expect
- 11 Ativan Addiction Treatment Programs
- 12 Tips to Avoid Relapse
- 13 Will Your Insurance Policy Cover Ativan Addiction Treatment
- 14 Begin Your Journey to Sobriety Today
Ativan is a drug that’s used to treat mental disorders like anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It’s often prescribed as a sedative, but it can also be used to treat insomnia. Officially, Ativan was initially approved by the FDA in 1981, and since then, it’s become one of the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety. Ativan contains lorazepam, a benzodiazepine drug.
How does Ativan work? Is Ativan addictive? These are some of the most common questions. Ativan falls into the drug class of benzodiazepine and it works by slowing down brain activity and sedating people. Because of this effect, Ativan abuse is quite common. Many people fall into the habit of this drug abuse to achieve euphoric effects or avoid withdrawal from other drugs.
As was said before, Ativan is a highly addictive drug that can be dangerous for people who struggle with addiction because it’s highly addictive itself. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), more than 100 million Americans have an anxiety disorder, which means doctors often prescribe Ativan, other benzodiazepines, or similar medications.
Keep reading to find out the risks of Ativan addiction and find effective forms of treatment!
How Does Ativan Work?
Gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors (GABA) in the brain are crucial for regulating sleep and sensations of relaxation and anxiety. Ativan inhibits the central nervous system by acting on these receptors (CNS). This decreases brain activity and excitation, resulting in a soothing and relaxing effect.
Ativan can reduce the severity of anxiety and panic episodes by lowering the CNS activity. It acts immediately, making it an excellent short-term option for treating panic symptoms. This drug enters your system quickly and lasts for a few hours.
Ativan is a Schedule Four (IV) controlled substance. This classification indicates it has a recognized medicinal function, but it may also induce physical or psychological dependence and be abused.
What are the Side Effects of Ativan?
Physical health and genetics influence Ativan’s effect on your mind and body. Many variables, such as your medical history, determine whether addiction develops.
Below are common Ativan side effects:
- Blurry vision.
- Lightheadedness or drowsiness.
- Loss of coordination.
- Heartburn and nausea.
Other adverse effects include mental and emotional instability, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, inability to move, and respiratory problems. If you experience severe side effects, consult your medical practitioner.
Most memory problems will go away if someone stops utilizing Ativan. However, some patients will have lasting cognitive damage even after stopping the medicine. Ativan’s potential for long-term harm is more significant in the elderly population.
In addition, Ativan misuse can precipitate and hasten cognitive deterioration in older people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Can You Overdose on Ativan?
The symptoms of an Ativan overdose are similar to those of most other benzodiazepine overdoses. It is important to note that the risk of overdose rises when Ativan is combined with other substances, particularly alcohol, opiates, or other benzodiazepines.
Signs of an Ativan overdose may include:
- Reduced heart rate.
- Confusion and extreme drowsiness.
- Breathing difficulties.
If you suspect someone is suffering from an Ativan overdose, dial 911 immediately and stay with the victim until aid comes. In most situations, Ativan overdose is manageable, but it is critical to act promptly.
What Happens When People Abuse Ativan?
Often, because the drug is prescription-based to treat panic attacks, people are falsely convinced that taking it in any amount is not risky. This is very untrue, as many dangerous results can occur when someone begins abusing a medication like Ativan. As was said before, Ativan use should be highly monitored and controlled as it is a highly addictive drug that can cause the development of a sedative use disorder.
This substance can cause intense euphoria and significant physical dependence when taken in larger doses than prescribed, and in time, this can lead to dependence, tolerance, and addiction. In time, the person starts to need more Ativan than their system can handle safely. Those who become addicted will not be able to stop taking the drug on their own and will need professional Ativan treatment in order to stop.
Physical and psychological dependence can cause a person to need prescription drugs in order to function properly. Without the drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, many of which can be life-threatening. Even those who take the drug as prescribed will become dependent over time and could end up becoming Ativan abusers just to manage their dependence.
This is also a potential side effect experienced by those who abuse any of the substances that fall into the drug class called benzodiazepines, which can cause a person to need to continue taking Ativan more and more to experience the same effects.
Psychological dependence refers to a mental craving for a drug. This can make you feel like you need Ativan in order to function normally in everyday life — even when there are no noticeable symptoms of Ativan addiction. Psychological dependence is not necessarily related to physical dependence on a drug; some people who don’t experience physical withdrawal symptoms still crave their drugs.
People abusing Ativan or other drugs overdose on benzodiazepines like Ativan put their lives in danger. As stated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ativan misuse and drug abuse, in general, can cause a whole host of symptoms. Some Ativan abuse symptoms are:
- Slowed respiration
- Cold, clammy skin
- Dilated pupils
- Brain damage
Ativan detox and rehab are necessary programs for those who become addicted to this drug. You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom with substance abuse to seek help from addiction treatment services either. In fact, it’s better to start now.
How is Ativan Addiction Diagnosed?
To make a correct Ativan addiction diagnosis, medical professionals will conduct an in-depth interview with the patient seeking help to elicit any indications of drug dependence.
Common symptoms of Ativan abuse are:
- Consumption lasts longer than expected
- Use of, or pursuit of, Ativan becomes an overwhelming focus of attention
- Strong cravings
- Apathy toward domestic or professional responsibilities while under the influence of Ativan
- Conflicts in interpersonal relationships are caused by addiction
- Loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyable things
- Dangerous physical actions while high on Ativan
- Addiction to Ativan persists despite evidence linking it to various adverse health effects
- Increasing Ativa tolerance
- Withdrawal symptoms
When two symptoms are present, a moderate sedative, hypnotic, and anxiolytic (SHA) use disorder is diagnosed; when six symptoms are present, a severe SHA disorder is diagnosed, a life-threatening illness requiring immediate medical attention.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment and Ativan
What will happen after one stops using Ativan is a primary concern for people suffering from drug use disorders. Most people start by using Ativan to treat a genuine medical issue, such as anxiety or bipolar disorder. Once they become dependent on the drug, they suffer from a dual diagnosis that requires simultaneous treatment for both conditions.
Dual diagnosis therapy allows the individual to address both the addiction and the underlying mental health issue, reducing the risk that one would intensify the other. If the addiction is addressed and the anxiety is ignored, the addict will continue along the path that leads to addiction. Treating both illnesses simultaneously is the only way to break this vicious cycle.
Top Ativan Drug Combinations
People often abuse Ativan with other drugs to either increase or neutralize its sedative effects.
The following drugs are often combined with Ativan:
- Cocaine: Ativan may assist people in coming down from a high by counteracting the stimulating effects of cocaine.
- Amphetamines: Because amphetamines, like cocaine, are stimulants, Ativan may be taken alongside them for the same reasons.
- Methadone: Many people use Ativan to enhance the effects of Methadone. Combining Ativan, a CNS depressant, with other depressants such as Methadone is exceedingly risky due to the risk of respiratory failure and fatal overdose.
- Alcohol: When Ativan and alcohol are mixed, they provide a fast and robust high. When combined, the CNS becomes more depressed, resulting in over-sedation, respiratory failure, coma, and even death.
Taking Ativan alongside other medicines is extremely risky since it raises the chance of overdose. In some situations, excessive sedation by medication combination might result in unconsciousness, coma, or death.
What are the Risk Factors of Ativan Addiction?
The risk of becoming dependent on drugs increases while taking Ativan for any purpose. Ativan, whether used legally or illegally, can cause physical dependency after just two weeks of regular usage. However, several predisposing factors might lead to Ativan dependency, such as:
- Genetics. Genetic factors can make some people more vulnerable to drug abuse disorders.
- Anxiety and insomnia: People with prescriptions for Ativan are far more prone to abuse the drug when their symptoms are severe and long-lasting.
- Recreational Ativan use: Recreational users of Ativan, especially when combined with opioid medicines, are at a far higher risk of becoming addicted to the drug than those who use it for valid medical reasons.
- Prolonged drug use: Ativan stops being effective and may exacerbate anxiety if used for longer than four months. Users unaware of the risk are more prone to abuse the substance by taking excessive doses to feel better after the effects have worn off.
How to Wean Off Ativan Safely
When going through Ativan withdrawal, you will need to seek medical detox in an Ativan treatment center. Although many people hope to go through detox at home, it is usually unsafe, especially when it comes to benzodiazepine abuse. Instead, professional care and professional medical advice by addiction professionals will be necessary.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, Ativan use shouldn’t be suddenly stopped, especially in someone who has had an Ativan dependence for a long time. This is unsafe and can even be life-threatening due to the psychological symptoms that can potentially be caused by withdrawal.
For example, seizures can occur if you stop taking Ativan abruptly or if you don’t take it regularly. Seizures triggered by sudden discontinuation of Ativan are often severe and can be life-threatening.
In this case, prescribing doctors may recommend, as one of many potential treatment options, that other benzodiazepines be used to wean the individual off their dependence. This is the most common form of detox, especially for syndromes where there is no specific drug approved to treat withdrawal.
Substance abuse and mental health disorders are commonly linked. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly difficult, so many with a habit often continue to abuse benzodiazepines rather than confront their addiction head-on.
Still, many people wonder how to get off lorazepam naturally or without the use of benzodiazepine drugs. This is usually considered too dangerous for this particular type of medication. Most doctors would not recommend patients going off Ativan without medication (or going through withdrawal cold turkey). If you must do so, consider one from amongst the many natural detox treatment centers that can provide you with medical or hospital-based care that will be monitored by doctors and nurses.
After the treatment process of detox, patients who were dependent on Ativan will usually need rehabilitation treatment. Ativan addiction can bring with it the risk of the development, or worsening of, a mental health disorder. In fact, the presence of behavioral health conditions in a recovering Ativan addict is par for the course.
Ativan is a schedule IV controlled substance and so controlled because of the risk of Ativan abuse that comes with its usage. Treatment for the underlying mental illness that is common with addiction is necessary. Without it, one cannot be considered fully treated for addiction and will be much more susceptible to relapse.
Ativan Addiction Treatment – What to Expect
Ativan rehab is a necessary part of recovery. This is largely because the drug itself is addictive, so anyone who has been abusing it will require addiction treatment at a rehab facility or treatment center.
Drug rehab treatment centers are almost universally recommended for persons struggling with addiction to benzodiazepines like Ativan, or drug abuse habits of any kind because they, quite simply, are made for helping in these cases. The licensed medical professionals at highly rated treatment centers can handle not just the physical symptoms of withdrawal and addiction but the behavioral symptoms as well.
Also, it is important to keep in mind the two types of programs you may encounter. They generally fall under the broad categories of inpatient and outpatient rehab. In general, inpatient rehab can cost a bit more as that includes 24/7 support and observation. The client stays at the facility for the duration of the treatment process. Outpatient rehab, on the other hand, involves the client coming in specifically for their sessions but staying at home.
Ativan abuse habits generally start the process of rehabilitation with a medical detox but, as was briefly said earlier, this is just where it begins.
Behavioral therapies are the most important part of Ativan addiction treatment. Behavioral therapy is critical because in the first place the drug is prescribed to treat anxiety. These programs can help patients:
- Avoid relapse
- Recognize and avoid triggers
- Understand and deal with cravings
- Learn to talk to other people about their addictions
- Live their lives without substance abuse
- Deal with stress and other issues in their lives that could cause them to relapse
Some of the most commonly used behavioral therapies for Ativan addiction include cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, 12-step facilitation therapy, contingency management, and motivational enhancement therapy.
In some rehab centers, patients may also receive access to additional treatment programs like 12-step groups, medications, and holistic treatments such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, etc.
Rehab from Ativan requires patients to be in a safe environment where they can recover. In many cases, inpatient care is the best option because those who start taking Ativan in the first place are often suffering from a range of mental health disorders like anxiety disorder or manic bipolar disorder, which is called dual diagnosis when also associated with addiction.
Ativan Addiction Treatment Programs
The intensity of care required to overcome an addiction to Ativan will vary according to the duration and severity of the habit. Medical detox is the first step in treating Ativan addiction, involving a gradual, medically-monitored withdrawal from the drug. Once a patient’s health has stabilized, they can go on to inpatient or outpatient care and then to the next stage of recovery.
Inpatient Rehab Programs
These are comprehensive programs where patients reside at the institution throughout their therapy. They are best for patients with moderate to severe addiction. Most inpatient programs offer:
- Around-the-clock medical personnel monitoring and assistance.
- Time set out for psychological and physical checkups.
- Group or individual therapy sessions.
- Social networks and support groups.
- Family therapy sessions.
- Therapeutic recreations.
They also provide medical management and help prevent relapses.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)
Compared to inpatient care, partial hospitalization programs allow for greater autonomy and choice while providing a higher level of supervision and monitoring than outpatient care. These programs bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient services while allowing patients to live in the institution.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)
Patients in intense outpatient care commit several hours per week to therapy while maintaining their independence at home or in a sober living environment. They are responsible for keeping their sobriety outside the institution, although they still get many of the same therapies as those in higher care levels.
These programs are usually more appropriate for those with mild to moderate addictions and stable family life.
Outpatient treatment involves visiting the facility for therapy while the patient continues to live at home. This type of treatment allows patients the most independence to keep working or taking care of their families but puts the responsibility of recovery squarely on the patient’s shoulders.
Many of the same therapies available at higher levels of care may be found in outpatient settings but on a more manageable schedule. After the successful completion of an inpatient program or a partial hospitalization program, many patients transition to outpatient care.
Tips to Avoid Relapse
Here are a few tips to help to recover Ativan addicts from relapsing:
- Participate in a support group: There are several support organizations for persons in addiction recovery around the country, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. There are options if you do not want to join a 12-step program.
- Have a support system in place: This can be family, friends, a sponsor, or people you meet through a support group. These folks will motivate you, lift you when you’re down, and keep you on the road to recovery.
- Recognize and avoid your triggers: Knowing what prompts you to use is essential for staying sober. You can create limits and avoid unsafe circumstances if you’ve identified the people, places, or things that make you need Ativan. You can also inform your support system about these triggers so that they can assist you in avoiding them.
- Stay away from those with whom you used with: For others, this is the most challenging phase because these folks may be close friends or family members. However, staying around them will only put you in danger of relapse until they choose recovery.
- Consult a therapist: Speaking with a therapist or counselor is an excellent approach to deal with any worry or tension you may be experiencing during your recovery. They will also be able to provide expert advice and assist you in learning to manage urges.
- Maintain a schedule: Maintaining a routine can assist in occupying your day and thoughts, stopping you from having too much downtime to consider using.
- Take good care of your health: A healthy body promotes a healthy mind. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and eating healthy can help you feel your best physically and psychologically.
Will Your Insurance Policy Cover Ativan Addiction Treatment
Consult your insurance provider for clarification on the coverage available to you.
Begin Your Journey to Sobriety Today
Call Find Addiction to discuss the treatment options available and to find the best program and treatment center for your recovery. We are always available to take your call.
If you have been suffering from Ativan dependence, please reach out today and let us help you find a treatment program that can help you achieve lasting recovery!
Nicole R. is an experienced and accomplished writer with special interests in the fields of Anthropology, English, and behavioral health, and has written countless articles for newspaper publications, institutional research journals, and Find Addiction Rehabs.
Her alma matter is Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Nicole hopes to spread awareness of and combat the stigmatization surrounding addiction and substance abuse treatment through her writing and work in the field.