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Ativan: Abuse, Withdrawal, and Detox

Ativan, or lorazepam, is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. While Ativan can be beneficial when used as directed by a healthcare professional, it also carries the risk of abuse and dependence. 

As such, gaining insights into the potential for Ativan abuse, the accompanying withdrawal symptoms that may arise upon discontinuation or misuse, and the importance of seeking proper detox methods to manage these challenges effectively is essential. 

Ativan: Overview and Stats

Ativan, also known by its generic name Lorazepam, is a widely prescribed medication classified as a benzodiazepine. Traditionally, it was intended to be taken on a short-term basis due to the potential risks of developing tolerance and dependence.

However, Ativan abuse has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Non-traditional uses include recreational misuse or self-medication in an attempt to alleviate stress or induce feelings of relaxation and euphoria. The drug’s sedating effects make it appealing to some individuals seeking relief from daily life pressures.

Unfortunately, excessive use or misuse of Ativan can lead to serious consequences such as overdose and addiction. An overdose can occur when an individual takes more than the prescribed dose, leading to dangerous physiological and cognitive effects. Signs of an overdose may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, slowed reflexes, respiratory depression, and even coma in severe cases.

Similarly, prolonged or excessive use of the drug can result in addiction. The drug’s sedative properties can create a sense of calm and relaxation that individuals may come to rely on for coping with stress or anxiety. Over time, the body develops tolerance to Ativan, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effect. This cycle can quickly lead to physical and psychological dependence on the drug.

Ativan Statistics

  • Prevalence of prescription: Ativan is one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines in the United States. In 2019, over 18 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines, including drugs like Ativan, were written in the country.
  • Misuse and recreational use: Benzodiazepines, including Ativan, have been increasingly misused for non-medical purposes. According to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2019, around 5 million people aged 12 or older reported misusing prescription tranquilizers like Ativan at least once within the past year.
  • Emergency room visits: The misuse or abuse of the drug can have serious consequences requiring medical intervention. According to SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), there were approximately 44,000 emergency room visits associated with benzodiazepine misuse in 2021.
  • Overdose deaths: Benzodiazepines contribute to overdose deaths when misused or combined with other substances. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in benzodiazepine-related overdose deaths globally. In particular, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that from 1996 to 2018, fatal overdoses involving benzodiazepines tripled in the United States.

Dangers and Risk Factors

Abusing Ativan can have various dangers and risk factors. Continued abuse may result in tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. Taking larger doses of the benzo than prescribed or combining it with other substances like opioids or alcohol increases the risk of overdose. This can lead to severe respiratory depression, coma, or even death.

Misuse of Ativan can significantly impair cognitive function, such as memory loss, confusion, slowed reaction times, and poor decision-making abilities. Individuals who abuse this benzo may develop mental health complications such as depression, anxiety disorders, mood swings, irritability, and aggression.

Abruptly stopping or reducing doses after long-term use can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Prolonged abuse disrupts an individual’s ability to carry out their daily responsibilities effectively. Leading to negative impacts on relationships, family life, school performance, and work productivity.

Signs of Ativan Abuse

Signs that may indicate Ativan abuse include:

  • Taking larger doses of Ativan than prescribed or taking it more frequently than recommended
  • Seeking multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers
  • Rapid mood swings, irritability, agitation, or uncharacteristic impulsiveness
  • Avoiding social activities or isolating oneself from friends and family
  • Neglecting responsibilities and relationship difficulties 
  • Continuing to use it despite negative consequences
  • Experiencing financial problems
  • Noticeable sedation, drowsiness, slowed reflexes, poor coordination, slurred speech, and memory impairment

Ativan Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline for Ativan withdrawal may vary from person to person and is influenced by several factors, including the individual’s dosage, duration of use, and overall health. Generally, the drug withdrawal follows a predictable pattern with distinct stages:

Early Withdrawal (within 24-48 hours): 

Symptoms typically appear shortly after the last dose and may include anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, tremors or shaking, increased heart rate or blood pressure.

Acute Withdrawal (2-7 days):

Symptoms intensify during this phase and may include heightened anxiety or panic attacks, confusion or disorientation, sweating, chills, nausea, vomiting, headaches, migraines, muscle aches and spasms, and sensory disturbances.

Residual Withdrawal/Protracted Withdrawal: 

In some instances, individuals may experience lingering symptoms for weeks or months after acute withdrawal has resolved. These persistent effects can include anxiety, cravings, insomnia, fatigue, and mood swings.

Ativan Detox and Treatment

Detox from Ativan should never be attempted without medical supervision, as abrupt discontinuation or rapid tapering can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and complications. Personalized detox is the first step in treating Ativan addiction and involves safely removing the drug from the individual’s system.

Along with medical supervision, comprehensive treatment for Ativan addiction often includes individual and group counseling, holistic therapies, and medication management to help support recovery. 

Personalized Ativan Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN

Take the first step towards reclaiming your life from Ativan addiction. Detox Nashville offers personalized, compassionate, and evidence-based treatment for individuals struggling with Ativan misuse or dependence in Nashville, Tennessee. Our experienced medical professionals will guide you through a safe and supportive detoxification process while addressing underlying factors contributing to addiction.

Contact us now to start your recovery journey today.

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