Ativan is classified as a benzodiazepine drug. This means that it comes with a high risk for abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. On the streets, the drug is also known as benzos, goofballs, stupefy, or heavenly blues.
But how exactly does Ativan addiction develop? Essentially, if you take this substance for any time period, it can cause psychological and physical dependence. This will largely depend on various factors, including your personal history, genetics, environment, and socioeconomic background.
If you have a history of alcohol and drug abuse or you have been living with an unmanaged mental or behavioral health disorder, you may also have a high risk of developing addiction to this substance.
That said, if you are already dependent on Ativan, there is a high likelihood that you will experience intense cravings for the drug. You may also continue using it in spite of the problems that it has been causing in your life, including but not limited to:
If you have been using the drug habitually, you may eventually get to a point where you need to take it in higher amounts before it can produce the pleasurable effects that you have come to associate with it. When this happens, you would have developed Ativan tolerance.
On the other hand, in case you are already struggling with Ativan addiction, you might already know that you have a problem. As such, you may have a deep desire to stop abusing the drug. However, the only way you are going to manage this is by going through medically managed detox, therapy, and rehabilitation.
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Ativan is a brand name drug for lorazepam, which is a medication used as an anti-anxiety drug. Doctors and healthcare providers will typically prescribe this drug for the treatment of various other ailments, including epilepsy and insomnia.
Although it is a benzodiazepine, Ativan is also classified as long-acting drug. This means that doctors will usually not prescribe it for use during a period that is typically longer than 4 months at any given time. This is due to the fact that the substance is highly potent.
Other uses for the medication include in the alcohol abuse and addiction detoxification process. This is because it is effective at managing the withdrawal symptoms that arise when you give up alcohol. further, you can take Ativan medically to treat short term depression and anxiety symptoms as well as to manage panic attacks.
But how does the drug work? As a benzodiazepine, it will block the GABA (or gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. During this process, it will slow down any hyperactive mental processes.
Ativan is typically sold in the form of a tablet that dissolves quickly. It is also available in the form of a colorless liquid that is highly concentrated in volume. If you use the substance exactly as your doctor prescribed, you will usually consume it orally. Even so, doctors can administer it intravenously through an IV drip.
Once you take it, the drug will typically produce its intended effects within 45 to 120 minutes. However, it will only leave your body within a period that will last between 20 and 100 hours.
Some of the effects that you will usually feel after using Ativan include:
Therapeutically, the medication is used to treat anxiety disorder, as a muscle relaxant, as a pre-anesthetic before surgical procedures, as an anticonvulsant drug, and to aid in sleep. Doctors may also prescribe it alongside other drugs to manage depression, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and other symptoms.
You can only purchase Ativan legally with a valid prescription written by a physician. This is because the DEA - the Drug Enforcement Agency - has classified it as a Schedule IV drug - under the Controlled Substances Act passed by the federal government. This effectively means that the drug has a low potential for addiction and abuse in comparison to other substances like cocaine and heroin. However, it still has some risk of addiction.
Since it is a benzodiazepine, Ativan can cause physical dependence, tolerance, substance abuse, and eventual addiction. Due to its chemical structure, the substance comes with specific therapeutic and medicinal uses. However, it is also due to this structure that the drug comes with various risks for dependence and eventual addiction.
Like other benzos, the drug will cause feelings of wellness and mild euphoria when you take it. However, it is also more potent than other benzos. If you take the substance, therefore, there is a risk that you may develop tolerance.
Due to this high potency, Ativan can cause you to experience extreme cravings when you stop abusing it. These cravings could arise from your use of the drug in higher doses than your doctor prescribed. It could also be as a result of using the substance for longer than you needed to. When this happens, you may find yourself engaging in illicit activities, such as stealing or trying to get a prescription for the drug when you have no medical need for it (an activity known as doctor shopping).
Although the drug has several therapeutic uses, it also comes with many downsides. For starters, you can develop tolerance to it relatively rapidly. If you have been taking it for a significant time period, you will get to a point where you need it in higher doses or to use it more frequently than you used to before you can feel its pleasurable effects.
As you continue taking the substance in higher volumes, your body will develop physical dependence on it. Continued use, on the other hand, will eventually lead to withdrawal symptoms when you do not take Ativan, when you stop using it, or if you significantly reduce your typical dose of it. Some of these withdrawal symptoms may include but are not limited to:
Most of these symptoms are similar to what you would typically experience if you were struggling with an anxiety disorder. As a result, you may represent them as a return to your anxiety.
If you have been using the medication to manage an issues related to depression or anxiety, you may believe that these issues have returned when you stop taking the drug. However, it only means that you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
When you take this drug, you may experience the following immediate effects - which are pleasurable and could cause you to start and eventually continue abusing the substance over the long term:
In case you combine it with other substances such as alcohol, Ativan will produce more intense relaxing effects. The important thing to keep in mind is that this drug could lead to both intentional and accidental abuse. In some instances, it could also cause you to suffer a drug overdose that could be accompanied by the following signs and symptoms:
But how can you tell whether you or a loved one has developed an Ativan use disorder, or an addiction involving this drug? Essentially, there are some signs and symptoms that could point out that your abuse of this medication is getting out of hand and that you need medical attention. They include:
If you have any of these disorders and you get a prescription for Ativan and you end up using it over the long term, there is a high risk that you may develop addiction. It is essential that you ensure that you only take the drug under the watchful instructions and observation of a medical professional, such as a physician.
Additionally, you should not take the medication for any long period of time. If you have been using other substances or drugs and you add Ativan to the mix, you will increase your risk of developing a substance abuse and addiction problem. That said, the following are some of the additional signs and symptoms of Ativan tolerance, abuse, and addiction:
Abusing Ativan and becoming addicted to it could lead to physical dependence. As a result, if you attempt to stop using it, you may experience intense and sometimes painful withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms of withdrawal can also prove to be severe. However, this will largely depend on the level of your addiction and substance abuse. In case you are trying to overcome your Ativan addiction, it is imperative that you enroll in a medically managed detoxification program. This way, you will work on your recovery under the close supervision of a trained medical professional - such as a physician or an addiction treatment expert.
When you decide that the time has come for you to overcome your Ativan addiction and abuse, you need to enroll in a medically managed detox program before following it up with intense treatment and rehabilitation.
During medical detox, your withdrawal symptoms will be monitored closely and medically managed where necessary. You will also work on overcoming any cravings for Ativan that you may also be struggling with.
It is recommended that you go through this detox process in a controlled environment, such as that provided by an inpatient addiction treatment program. This means that you will be living at the recovery center for anywhere between a couple of days to a full month (or even longer) until your withdrawal symptoms are effectively managed. During this period, you will also be able to overcome your physical dependence on the drug.
After successfully completing the Ativan detoxification process, you will be providing with therapy and counseling services to treat your reducing substance use disorder. You may also receive other services to manage any other co-occurring medical or mental health disorders that you may also be struggling with.
The goal of treatment would be to address all the underlying issues and problems that caused you to start and continue abusing this medication. You will also be taught how to develop coping strategies and skills so that you can reduce your risk of relapse back to substance abuse once you have completed the treatment process.
In case your drug use problem was intensive, you may require aftercare programming and planning. This will allow you to continue growing, developing the necessarily social support, as well as reducing your risk of suffering relapse.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the center you choose to overcome your Ativan addiction in should provide you with highly personalized, individualized, and customized treatment and rehabilitation services to ensure that you overcome this problem and address any others that you may also have been struggling with.