Ativan

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The brand name for the drug lorazepam, Ativan is a prescription drug used to treat various issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Epilepsy
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Vomiting and nausea caused by chemotherapy

Unfortunately, Ativan is also highly addictive. The Substance Abuse and Medical Health Services Administration found that the number of emergency room visits involving Ativan tripled between 1999 and 2008. By comparison, normal treatment admissions rose just 11 percent. More than 312,000 patients visited emergency rooms because of benzodiazepine use in 2009.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Ativan Use

Ativan slows down activity in the brain and creates calm, relaxed feelings, making it a popular anti-anxiety medication. Other potential side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Urination problems
  • Digestion problems (diarrhea, constipation, nausea)
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Blurry vision

Complications of Ativan Abuse

Ativan has a high addictive potential, thanks in part to its ready availability and its high potency. Addiction has a huge effect on your health, but it can also change who you are. Addiction can force you to behave recklessly, say and do hurtful things, and push away loved ones.

Addiction to Ativan and other prescription drugs also puts you at a higher risk for:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Kidney problems
  • Abdominal bleeding

Dangers of Ativan Abuse

Despite being a prescription drug, Ativan presents many dangers when abused. Some common health problems associated with Ativan abuse include:

  • Jaundice and liver problems
  • Fever
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Severe rash
  • Difficulty breathing

Symptoms of Ativan Addiction

Ativan works by activating GABA neurotransmitters, chemicals in the body designed to calm nervous activity and produce euphoric feelings. Ativan users may begin to crave that euphoria, but the body will try to adjust by blocking the effects of GABA or producing less of it. The user is then forced to use more Ativan to maintain normal levels of GABA.

Common symptoms of Ativan addiction include:

  • Taking more of the drug than was prescribed
  • Exhibiting withdrawals when the high wears off
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, or intoxication while using Ativan
  • Using the drug for anything other than its intended purpose
  • Extended period of use (Ativan is generally not prescribed for more than 4 months)

Withdrawals

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Mood swings
  • High fever
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light, touch, or noises
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal pain

Medical Intervention for Ativan Addiction

Medication can play a crucial role in correcting chemical imbalances, managing withdrawal symptoms, and curbing cravings. Combining medication with therapy offers a healthy foundation for recovery from Ativan abuse.

Ativan abuse often requires various therapies, including group and cognitive-behavioral therapy. However, as most Ativan cases start as a means of treating anxiety, many doctors will recommend co-occurring disorder treatment to treat both the drug abuse and the underlying anxiety.

Ativan Detox Process

Detox aims to rid your body of the harmful chemicals and toxins that have built up from extensive drug use. As Ativan can have harmful rebounds, most detox centers will have you taper off use instead of stopping cold turkey.

Inpatient care is the best option for detox. Inpatient care offers a positive, supportive setting free of distractions or negative influences. Best of all, inpatient treatment gives you direct, round-the-clock access to healthcare professionals, from counselors for emotional support and advice to staff who can administer medication and provide emergency care.

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