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What Is Ativan?

Ativan (lorazepam) is a class of psychoactive drugs designed to help with chemical imbalances in the brain. You might also hear it as a sedative-hypnotic or anxiolytic medication. Moreover, Ativan belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines.  Many have been addicted to this drug and require Ativan detox to function normally again and avoid side effects that bring health risks. Ativan addiction should not be taken lightly because all forms of substance abuse can lead to serious impairment.

Ativan is the brand name available in the US for lorazepam.  Loraz, another brand name for lorazepam, has been terminated in the US.  Ativan is obtainable in generic form; however, you need a prescript from your doctor.

Ativan is a DEA-controlled drug.  The active ingredient lorazepam is a DEA Schedule IV controlled substance.  Given that, substances in the DEA Schedule IV have a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III.  The DEA also classifies Ativan as Depressant. Moreover, the street names for Benzodiazepines, including Ativan, are Benzos, Downers, Nerve Pills, and Tranks.  [1]

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Ativan “Lorazepam” As A Prescription Drug

If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, your doctor may review lorazepam with you.  Lorazepam oral tablet is a generic drug, suggesting it’s an exact copy of the active prescription in a brand-name medication.  The brand-name drug that lorazepam oral tablet is based on is called Ativan.

Because Ativan is legal to use with a prescription, some people may not realize they’re abusing the drug. Fortunately, Ativan addiction is treatable.
Because Ativan is legal to use with a prescription, some people may not realize they’re abusing the drug. [2]

It’s a prescription drug that’s employed for the short-term treatment of distinct types of anxiety.  Lorazepam oral tablets are also prescribed for the:

  • Momentary relief of anxiety symptoms associated with depression
  • Short-term treatment of anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder
  • Short-term treatment of insomnia (trouble sleeping) linked to anxiety

Anxiety can be a natural response to stressors in daily life.  In this case, it doesn’t ordinarily need to be treated with medication.  But in other cases, anxiety is treated with drugs such as Ativan.

 Lorazepam oral tablets can be given to adults and some children.

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Severe Side Effects

Severe side effects of lorazepam oral tablets can happen, but they aren’t usually expected.  If you have severe side effects, call your doctor right away.  However, if you think you have a medical emergency, you should contact your local emergency number.

Serious Side Effects Of Lorazepam Oral Tablets That Have Been Recorded Include:

  • Difficulty breathing, including slowed or shallow breathing and, in rare cases, respiratory failure (stopped breathing)
  • Mental health problems, such as depressed mood, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts
  • Boxed Warnings:
    • Risk of dependence, misuse, and addiction
    • Risk of dangerous side effects if used with opioid drugs
  • Allergic reaction

Health Risks Of Ativan

  • Risk Of Dependence:  Using Ativan can cause physical dependence.  With dependence, your body becomes used to the drug and needs it for you to feel normal.  This risk is more eminent with the long-term use of lorazepam drugs.
  • Withdrawal:  Abruptly discontinuing Ativan after continued use over a long period can cause withdrawal symptoms.  Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and withdrawal may increase the risk of seizures.
  • Misuse And Addiction:  Ativan has a risk of misuse and addiction.  With abuse, a drug is taken in a way other than how it was prescribed.  With addiction, a drug is brought even if it’s causing harm.  Ativan addiction increases your risk for overdose and, in unusual cases, even death.
  • Use With Opioid Drugs:  Taking Ativan with opioids can cause dangerous side effects.  These involve slowed or shallow breathing, sleepiness, coma, and even death. Some examples of opioids include hydrocodone and buprenorphine.

Ativan Addiction Medically Assisted Detox And Withdrawal

First, the client will gradually wean off the drug to prevent or stop Ativan addiction safely.  Sometimes, tapering off the use of the drug is the only intervention required. 

However, they may prescribe some medications to help clients with their withdrawal symptoms.

Flumazenil is usually a prescription as a benzodiazepine antagonist, which blocks benzodiazepine binding at the GABA receptor and negates the brain’s effects.  Flumazenil can help stop a fatal overdose and accelerate the detox process as it sends an individual into almost immediate withdrawal.

However, its use must be under supervision as it may increase the risk of seizures.

Additionally, complementary psychological therapies have been shown to have positive results, including evidence-based approaches to Ativan addiction.

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 Withdrawal symptoms from Ativan addiction tend to set in within a few days.
Withdrawal symptoms from Ativan addiction tend to set in within a few days.

What To Expect During Ativan Detox?

Generally, the first step in detoxification is working out a taper schedule to wean off the drug. 

Some doctors suggest switching to an equivalent dose of a different intermediate or long-acting benzodiazepine instead of the original drug and then beginning the tapering process, especially for outpatient treatments.

You May Discern Withdrawal Symptoms Including:

  • Headaches
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Cramping
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Dizziness or Tremors

Understanding Ativan Addiction And Drugs Effects

Many people don’t comprehend why or how other people become addicted to drugs.  As a result, they may falsely think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and could stop their drug use just by choosing to.  In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will.

Drugs alter the brain in ways that make discontinuing hard just like Ativan addiction does, even for those who want to quit sincerely.  Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments to help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive or difficult to control, notwithstanding harmful consequences.

The initial decision to take drugs is intentional for most people.  Still, repeated drug use can lead to brain alterations that challenge addicted people’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.  These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at magnified risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

It’s typical for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn’t mean that treatment doesn’t work.  As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and improved based on how individuals respond.  Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the person’s changing needs.  [3]

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A Holistic Approach To Benzos And Ativan Addiction Treatment

Benzo drugs, including Ativan addiction, can have social and psychological effects on those who struggle with it.  Unfortunately, some may find these effects to be the most significant difficulty they face.

However, for others, it is the physical effects that are the scariest.  When one stops taking benzodiazepines without tapering off, severe symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and even death can occur.  For this reason, professional treatment at a medical detox facility is crucial.

Once the Ativan detox process has been successful, then an individualized treatment plan will follow. 

During treatment, individuals who have struggled with Ativan addiction will learn skills and tools to help them stay off these drugs and lead better life.

Possible levels of care include PHP, IOP, and outpatient treatment for benzodiazepine or Ativan addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an Ativan addiction, Valium, or any other form of benzodiazepine abuse, get them the help they need and deserve.  Contact our team at We Level Up New Jersey for treatment today!

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[1] Lorazepam – National Center for Biotechnology Information

[2] Is Ativan Addictive? – We Level Up

[3] Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts – National Institute on Drug Abuse