Signs of Ativan Use & Abuse
Last Updated Dec 2, 2021
Signs of Ativan use include drowsiness, lethargy, calmness, and relaxation.
Signs of Ativan abuse include using Ativan in any way that is not as prescribed, mood swings, odd sleep patterns, and failing to meet obligations due to Ativan use.
Risks of Ativan
As with any benzodiazepine drug, there is a high potential for addiction and abuse with Ativan. Even those who only use Ativan for a short period of time and under prescription guidelines can become dependent and even addicted to Ativan.
Ativan (which is the brand name for lorazepam) is an extremely potent benzodiazepine and classified as a Schedule IV drug. Although it is cleared in the United States for medical use with a prescription, Ativan is still addictive.
Ativan is considered a sedative-hypnotic or anxiolytic medication and comes in two forms: a tablet (used in adults and children for anti-anxiety purposes) and as an intramuscular injection solution (used in adults for surgeries and cases of severe seizure). It is generally prescribed for short-term use.
Common Signs of Ativan Abuse
When a person is abusing Ativan or other benzodiazepine drugs, they may exhibit these signs:
- Crushing or snorting pills
- Taking higher doses of Ativan than prescribed or taking it more frequently than prescribed
- Engaging in drug-seeking behavior, such as doctor shopping or forging prescriptions
- Mixing Ativan with other benzodiazepine drugs
- Mixing Ativan with alcohol and other prescription drugs, especially opioids
- Continually seeming drowsy or “out of it”
Those who abuse Ativan may also experience lethargy, muscle weakness, respiratory issues, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, and other undesirable physical symptoms.
How to Recognize an Ativan Addiction
Drug addiction results in certain behavioral changes that become difficult to hide over time. Initially, a person may be able to hide their substance abuse, but as the addiction worsens, signs will become more obvious.
Symptoms of Ativan addiction include the following:
- Failing to meet work and social obligations
- Mood swings
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Money troubles
- Showing up late to work, school, or other engagements
- Inability to focus
- Being unable to stop Ativan use despite a desire to stop
- Relationship issues
- Declining physical health and appearance
Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms
Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan quickly results in physical dependence with sustained use. This is why the medication is generally only prescribed for short-term use.
Once physical dependence has formed, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug. It is never recommended to stop taking Ativan or any benzodiazepine suddenly once physical dependence is present. This can result in extreme withdrawal symptoms, some of which may be life-threatening.
Ativan withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Excessive sweating
- Irregular breathing
- Elevated blood pressure
Experts recommend tapering off benzodiazepines for withdrawal. This involves lowering the dosage amount slowly over a period of time until the dosage is eventually zero.
You shouldn’t attempt to taper off benzodiazepines on your own. A doctor should design your tapering schedule and monitor you through the process to ensure safety.
Treatment Options for Ativan Addiction
Treatment for Ativan addiction includes medical detox, via a supervised tapering process, as well as comprehensive therapy. While detox begins the treatment process, therapy makes up the backbone of the recovery process.
In therapy, you’ll identify underlying issues that may have led you to misuse Ativan or other substances. You’ll begin to reframe how you think about substances and yourself, so you’ll be better able to cope with life’s challenges without returning to Ativan or any other substance.
You’ll build healthier habits and behaviors as well as a solid support system in recovery. Support groups can be a beneficial part of the process, providing a framework for a new life in recovery..
While Ativan and other benzodiazepines can lead to addiction, people recover every day
Ativan Abuse FAQs
Is Ativan addictive?
Yes, Ativan is one of the most potent benzodiazepines. Regular use and abuse can quickly lead to addiction.
Can you overdose on Ativan?
Although it is rare to overdose on Ativan by itself, overdose can occur. Overdose is far more likely to occur when mixing Ativan with alcohol or other prescription drugs, especially opioids.
What happens if you take Ativan every day?
Regular use of Ativan or any benzodiazepine can quickly result in physical dependence. If you stop taking it suddenly, withdrawal symptoms will likely occur, and some of these may be very dangerous. Always consult a doctor before stopping use.
How long does it take to get off Ativan?
If tapering off Ativan after regular use, it takes about two months to wean off the drug. A doctor should supervise your tapering schedule, ensuring you don’t experience withdrawal symptoms along the way and ensuring your overall safety.
What are signs of Ativan abuse?
The biggest sign of Ativan abuse is using the drug in any way other than as prescribed. This means taking it without a prescription, taking it more frequently or in higher doses than prescribed, mixing it with other substances like alcohol, and taking it in any form or method that is not as prescribed (such as crushing and snorting it).
Is Ativan legal?
Ativan is legal in the United States and has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety disorders as well as for the short-term relief of anxiety.
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