Ativan Drug Abuse: Signs, Symptoms and Rehab Treatment

What is Ativan?

Ativan is a brand name for the benzodiazepine Lorazepam, prescribed to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders, as well as nausea produced by chemotherapy, and, in some cases, alcohol withdrawal. As with other benzodiazepines, it affects the brain by enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which relaxes the central nervous system producing drowsiness, muscle relaxation and a sense of calm.

As well as being a prescription medicine to treat the aforementioned conditions, it is also taken and abused recreationally for the euphoric and sensitive effects produces. In the UK it is a class C controlled drug, available on prescription but also commonly procured illicitly from the dark web. Some street names for Ativan (and other benzodiazepines) include Benzos; Heavenly Blues; Sleepers; School Bus; Moggies; Tranx; Goof Balls; and Valley Girl (traditionally associated with Valium but having grown to encompass numerous other sedative drugs).

Effects Of Lorazepam Addiction

Ativan, along with other benzodiazepines, is addictive and users can develop dependency after a relatively short time. Alongside frequent manifestations of drowsiness, lightheadedness, and the euphoria associated with its “high”, consumption of Ativan produces a pronounced loss of motor skills, weakness and lethargy in the user, which can be dangerous when operating machinery or driving. Over the longer term, Ativan abuse can have serious detrimental effects on a person’s physical and mental health (see below for details).

Along with the health implications, an addiction to Ativan can have disastrous consequences for the addict. It can be extremely costly financially – in particular when purchasing the drug from suppliers over the web – and debt and even financial ruin can result, especially if the use of the drug has terminal consequences for the addict’s job. Ativan addiction can also cause huge problems for addicts’ relationships with partners, family members and friends, and social isolation and the associated negative effects on mental and emotional health can result as a consequence.

Signs And Symptoms Of Abuse

A person regularly using Ativan in quantities or at a frequency that constitutes abuse will probably frequently appear at least mildly intoxicated, possibly slurring words, stumbling and/or spilling objects, and possibly falling asleep at inappropriate times. They will be at enhanced risk of accidents, and may regularly miss appointments and/or take time off work due to the effects of the drug.

Over the longer term, Ativan can have serious effects on a person’s neurological health, with significant cognitive impairment often resulting from protracted use. Dementia-related illnesses may be brought on and/or accelerated; a user may experience bouts of disorientation and confusion and even hallucinations, and long-term depression (including major depressive disorder) can result both from the direct effects of the drug and from its impact upon the addict’s life and lifestyle. Furthermore, they are at risk of overdose – which can prove fatal without immediate medical attention: signs of overdose include muscle spasms, a loss of muscle strength and reflexes, very low blood pressure, irregular and/or impaired breathing, unconsciousness and coma. Ativan can also prove fatal when mixed with other substances including other prescription drugs and alcohol; long-term Ativan users may be at risk of damaging their health or even dying when drinking a comparatively small amount of alcohol.

Withdrawal And Detoxification Process

Ativan abuse can create a physical dependence on the part of the user which can result in the manifestation of serious withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. The precise nature and severity of the symptoms will vary considerably from one user to another depending on various factors including the dosages consumed; the frequency of consumption; the length of the addiction; and the physiology of the addict, among others.

Benzodiazepines are associated with extremely dangerous withdrawal symptoms: alongside alcohol, they are the only drug the withdrawal from which itself can kill. As a result, withdrawal is a perilous process and should never be attempted without the assistance of a medical professional: various “at home detox” kits are available on the internet but doctors strongly advise against this method, for the aforementioned reason.

Many Ativan addicts benefit from residential rehabilitation (“rehab”), in part because the first phase of rehab is invariably a medically assisted detox for Ativan, with doctors on hand to ensure the safety of the addict and to minimise where possible the worse effects of withdrawal symptoms.

Ativan Detox Timeline

As noted above withdrawal can vary significantly from one user to another due to the factors mentioned. As a result, a “one size fits all” timeline for withdrawal is effectively impossible. Nevertheless, as a rough guide, if you are addicted to Ativan, you may expect to experience withdrawal symptoms in something like the following manner:

  • 1-2 days: A day or so after the last dose you will start feeling anxiety, irritability, and occasional muscle spasms. Your mood is likely to be low, and you may start feeling nausea.
  • 2-5 days: During the main phase of withdrawal you may feel intense nausea and indigestion; extreme restlessness; wildly oscillating moods; insomnia; pronounced sweating; hallucinations; and constant intense cravings.
  • 5-14 days: Withdrawal symptoms will start to fade in intensity after around five days; the above symptoms may still occur, though less frequently. Your sleep is likely to remain disrupted; a pronounced lethargy and depression may set in.
  • After two weeks your symptoms should have disappeared. If they persist – in particular depression – you may be suffering from post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which may last months or even years and will probably require therapy to counter its effects.

Treating Ativan Addiction

Over the last few decades, as benzodiazepine addiction has become an increasingly prominent problem, a great many different approaches to treatment have been developed. Some of these are not endorsed by the medical profession – indeed, as noted above, some options exist which can be extremely dangerous for the addict – while others may not be appropriate for every user. It is vital that you consult your GP if you are suffering from an Ativan addiction before embarking on any course of treatment.

In general, there is a consensus that Prescription Drug rehab clinics are the most effective approach to addiction treatment and the one most likely to result in permanent recovery. The combination of medically assisted detox and on-site therapy in a secluded relaxed environment represents a holistic approach to treatment which no other option can replicate. A number of support groups including Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have been established worldwide providing help for recovering addicts, and attendance at such groups should form part of your long-term recovery plan; however, support groups such as NA do not themselves comprise treatment for your addiction, but are more a supplement to your recovery.

Detox & Rehab Benefits

Some of the advantages to rehab include:

  • Medically assisted detox with medical professionals at hand 24/7 to ensure your safety and to ameliorate the worst effects of withdrawal.
  • An attractive, secluded, and tranquil environment within which you can focus on your recovery without the temptations of the outside world.
  • Complete confidentiality to reassure you that details of your condition will not become common knowledge outside the facility.
  • Highly experienced, non-judgemental, hugely qualified staff at hand to help you through the key stages of your recovery process.
  • A variety of therapy models enabling you to uncover the causes of your addiction and address them in a manner that most suits your requirements.
  • A peer group of fellow recovering addicts who understand your experiences and can share support and advice.
  • Bespoke fitness and dietary plans to give you the healthiest foundation for recovery.
  • One year’s free aftercare to ensure you have the necessary support long after you leave the facility.

What Now?

If you are struggling with an addiction to Ativan, you are by no means alone: unfortunately many thousands of Britons are dependent on benzodiazepines. However, one silver lining to this greatly problematic cloud is that there is now a great level of expertise in dealing with this condition, and if you are ready to take the first key step and reach out for help, that expertise can be at your disposal.

Addiction is a terrible illness and places a huge strain on the addict and on those around, and overcoming addiction can genuinely mean the difference between life and death. In order to avoid becoming another tragic statistic, and to get back on the path towards a happy, healthy, successful life, get in touch with one of our addiction specialists today: call us and take that first step on the road to recovery.

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Call Now 0203 553 9263

Call Now 0203 553 9263

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