Benzodiazepines like Ativan are often referred to as “worried well’s favorite” drug. These medications are prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia, and panic disorders. Doctors have found that the effectiveness of Ativan and other benzodiazepines lies in their ability to reduce stress and anxiety. In other words, it is a common drug used to help people relax. However, because of its addictive nature, many people end up abusing Ativan and other similar benzodiazepines.
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What Is Ativan?
Ativan is a combination drug that is used for the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders. This includes generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder with or without agoraphobia. It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which also include Valium, Librium, and Rohypnol.
How Does Ativan Work?
Ativan works by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. When GABA levels are increased, it makes the brain less responsive to the nerve signals that cause anxiety.
Ativan Addiction: Signs and Symptoms
It is important to note that not everyone who takes benzodiazepines will become addicted. However, as with many other drugs, there are certain signs that indicate that you may be abusing Ativan or another benzodiazepine. These include:
- Feeling anxious, restless, or having trouble sleeping
- Sleeping too much or not getting enough rest
- Getting lost or making careless mistakes when driving
- Feeling irritable or arguing with loved ones
- Having violent or reckless urges
- Going through periods of moodiness or depression
- Making impulsive choices, including risky activities
Overdose with Ativan
Ativan is meant to be taken as prescribed by a doctor. The risk of an overdose comes from taking more of the medication than originally prescribed. It is possible to overdose when taking Ativan if someone takes more than one pill per day or if they crush the pills and take them all at once.
Overdosing on Ativan may cause people to have abnormal confusion, muscle spasms, and seizures. If someone overdoses on Ativan, the person should be immediately brought to a hospital to be monitored for seizures or respiratory distress.
Doctors may also want to perform blood tests to determine whether the person has taken too many pills. If an overdose is suspected, the person should be observed for several days to check for signs of withdrawal.
Is Ativan Addictive?
Benzodiazepines such as Ativan are considered highly addictive. Research has shown that more than half of people who take benzodiazepines will become addicted to this class of drugs.
This high rate of dependence is due to the powerful sedative effects of benzodiazepines. They also have a reputation as a “quick fix” for anxiety and insomnia. These facts make benzodiazepines a target for people who are looking for a way to self-medicate their anxiety without going through a long and difficult process of therapy or rehabilitation.
Abuse of benzodiazepines can lead to a condition known as benzodiazepine dependence or benzodiazepine addiction. Withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepine dependence are similar to those of drug addiction. In addition, these drugs may be addictive because of their effects on specific parts of the brain.
When abused, the dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine receptors in the brain are affected. These are the same neurotransmitters that are affected when one abuses alcohol or other drugs of abuse. Therefore, people who abuse benzodiazepines may have an increased risk of developing drug dependence.
How to Quit Taking Ativan
People who are dependent on benzodiazepines may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit taking the medication without professional help. This is because benzodiazepines have a long half-life, which means they remain in the body for a long time.
During withdrawal, people may experience depression, anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. They may also experience a strong desire to take the medication again. Therefore, it is important to seek help when trying to stop taking Ativan.
People who are ready to quit using Ativan should follow these tips to safely quit:
- Consult a doctor or substance abuse professional to determine the best method for tapering off.
- Consider using a drug-assisted treatment program, such as medication-assisted treatment or therapy.
- Get support from friends and family members while quitting.
Benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, are highly addictive drugs that are frequently abused. These medications are prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorders, but many people misuse them. Drug abuse of benzodiazepines can lead to an inability to control your use of the drug and, in some cases, cause you to become addicted to the drug. If you or someone you know may be abusing benzodiazepines, there are treatment options available. With proper treatment, you have a much better chance at overcoming your addiction.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent substance abuse and help those who are already struggling. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is important to get treatment. At Asheville Recovery Center treatment specialists utilize a 12-step program and practice holistic rehabilitation.
Services at the center include:
Partial Hospitalization Program – At Asheville Recovery Center we offer a partial hospitalization program for clients who need post-residential treatment as well as for clients who need primary treatment but are unable to enroll in inpatient programs. Our PHP track offers a variety of therapeutic services and benefits to individuals in early recovery from substance addiction.
Outpatient Rehabilitation – During intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), clients live at home or in a sober living residence while completing an addiction treatment program. IOP is a place where clients can process their experiences in twelve-step fellowships and support one another in those individual journeys. Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call and speak with an addiction expert today.