Ativan Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Ativan?

Ativan is the trade name for lorazepam, which belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. The drug induces a calming effect when taken, which is due to the drug slowing down the chemical messages received by nerve receptors.

In the UK, the drug is mostly used as a short-term treatment for anxiety. However, the drug can be used to treat various conditions. The street names for the drug include those used for other benzodiazepines, including z-bar, tranks, totem poles, sleeping pills, downers, French fries, chill pills, candy, blues and benzos.

Effects of Ativan Addiction

Ativan’s effects peak about two hours after you use it because it’s an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. When used, Ativan initially produces certain desirable effects, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • A heightened sense of wellbeing
  • Increased feelings of euphoria
  • A reduced sense of psychological and physical tension, worry and anxiety.

Over time, as you continue to use the drug, you’ll begin to find that these effects don’t occur at the same intensity as they did initially. At this point, you will have developed a tolerance to the drug and it only gets worse the longer you use it, increasing your use gradually to catch up with your increasing tolerance levels.

Before long, you may experience unpleasant side effects such as:

  • Depressed mood
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperactivity
  • Light-headedness
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Weakness
  • Respiratory suppression
  • Confusion
  • Poor judgement
  • Death due to overdose

If you’re epileptic, you may suffer a decreased seizure threshold.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

There are a number of tell-tale signs by which you can know if a loved one may be on a benzodiazepine like Ativan. They include:

  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Poor motor skills and coordination
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced ability to concentrate

While the short-term effects of Ativan abuse can be dangerous, using the drug for a long time and at high doses can result in more dangerous symptoms. These include both physical and mental side effects. The mental side effects may include:

  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Reduced interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Lack of motivation to do anything
  • Forgetfulness and memory issues
  • Learning difficulties
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Sedation
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

On the other hand, the physical effects may include:

  • Dangerously slowed breathing
  • Respiratory failure
  • Extreme depression
  • Kidney failure
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Mouth sores
  • Bluish or pale skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Shakiness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Other than the mental and physical long-term effects of Ativan abuse or addiction, there are other effects such as:

  • Unemployment
  • Legal challenges, with the possibility of incarceration
  • Financial difficulties
  • Divorce
  • Family difficulties, including child abuse
  • Neglect of grooming and hygiene
  • Staying away from family relationships and social events

Withdrawal and Detoxification Process

It can be dangerous to attempt withdrawing from Ativan on your own without medical supervision, especially if you’ve been using the drug for a long period of time and at high doses. If you stop the drug too suddenly, you could suffer a potentially fatal seizure.

The best way to ensure your safety is to get into medical detox where you can be assured of the best possible quality of care.  At Primrose Lodge, our medical team is staffed with fully-trained and experienced professionals who will offer therapeutic support throughout your medical detox programme.

The withdrawal and detox process tends to differ from one person to the next due to individual differences, the dosage amount used, how long the drug is used, how frequently it’s used, and so on. People who suffer more intense withdrawal are often those who abused Ativan the longest or used it more frequently.

For the best chance at a successful recovery from Ativan dependency, residential rehab should be the treatment option you choose. Not only will you get medical supervision during detox, but you’ll also be able to transition smoothly into rehab. If you’re ready for detox, please get in touch to begin the admissions process.

Ativan Detox Timeline

Ativan is an intermediate-duration drug, so it neither stays too long in the system nor exits the body quickly. More specifically, it remains in your body for about 12 hours. While the amount of time it takes for the onset of withdrawal to start varies from one individual to the next, you can expect to start experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms between 10 to 24 hours after you have taken the final dose.

For the first 3 days, you may experience acute symptoms such as nausea and headaches and rebound symptoms such as insomnia and severe anxiety. The symptoms may peak between days 10 and 14.

Treating Ativan Addiction

While inpatient treatment like our rehab is preferred, there are a few other treatment options available to you. One of those is going to see your GP as NHS England recommends. Your GP can perform an assessment and decide to treat you themselves on an outpatient basis or refer you to a local drug programme funded by a charity or the government.

You may also opt for joining a support group, however, we don’t recommend going after this as a standalone option. Support groups are fantastic because they can fill the gap when you don’t have much support from your community. You’ll share your journey with others like you who are dealing with a similar problem.

Counselling is yet another option to explore, but the best treatment you’ll get is in our rehab where we combine all of these treatments and more.

Detox & Rehab Benefits

Detox and rehab are the most popular options for prescription drug addiction recovery and there’s a reason for that; they work. Among the benefits that make detox and rehab so attractive are:

  • The round-the-clock support; we recognise that 24/7 therapeutic support can make all the difference, especially in early recovery, so that’s what we offer.
  • The structure; a rehab programme is so structured that you won’t have time to think about Ativan or how to get it.
  • The lack of distractions; with no stress or distractions, you’ll be able to concentrate on your recovery and focus on yourself.
  • Absence of negative influences: with closely-monitored visitors and limited phone calls, there’s little chance a negative influence will slip through to stall your recovery in any way.
  • The supervision: with constant counselling and supervision, you’ll get the emotional support you need to get through mental withdrawal.

There’s no better time than now to get help

Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week to go after the treatment that you or a loved one needs. You don’t have to wait to be sure either. If you would like a diagnosis to determine whether you’re really addicted to Ativan, please contact us on 0203 553 9263.

You can commence treatment in as little as 24 hours. Save yourself and your family the pain of addiction by doing something about it today.

Don't waste another day on addiction
Call Now 0203 553 9263
Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

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