Ativan Addiction

Ativan is a highly potent benzodiazepine that’s known for its high risk for addiction and abuse. Benzodiazepines in general are known to be extremely addictive and potentially dangerous when abused. Ativan addiction chances increase when a person abuses or uses the drug recreationally. Over time, it is not uncommon for a person to develop a physical and psychological dependence on Ativan. 

Dependence on a drug typically means that a person will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug. Ativan withdrawal can be painful and stressful when someone decides to quit using. When someone becomes so dependent on a drug, it becomes extremely hard to stop using. This is why reaching out for professional help is always the right option. 

At North Jersey Recovery Center, we want to make sure you reach a life free of drugs and dependency. Ativan addiction (along with all other addictions) requires patience and reliable care. We offer a number of effective and reliable treatment options for you and your family. It is never too late to get quality treatment. 

What is Ativan?

Ativan is a brand name for lorazepam, which is an anti-anxiety medication people use to treat insomnia, epilepsy, and other conditions. The drug is a long-acting benzodiazepine and is usually not prescribed for long periods of time. This is because it is considered highly potent and addictive. Ativan is also used during detoxification in order to tame some of the withdrawal symptoms (mainly alcohol detox). 

Ativan Addiction

Ativan is a benzodiazepine (or benzo). Benzos come in many names and are used to treat different types of conditions. Benzos block the neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) which in turn, slows a person’s hyperactive mental process. Ativan is more likely than not, consumed through the mouth via tablet or liquid. Due to its potent nature and a high chance for abuse, Ativan is always administered by medical professionals. 

Ativan helps with the short-term effects of anxiety and other disorders. It usually takes somewhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects of this drug. After that, it takes around 20 to 100 hours for the drug to fully leave a person’s body. This is important to keep in mind when getting Ativan addiction help and treatment. 

Ativan Abuse and Effects

While Ativan and other benzos are legal when prescribed, a person may not realize they are abusing Ativan. Before you know it, you can be dealing with an Ativan addiction. Abuse occurs when a person uses a drug more than prescribed and takes a drug for longer than intended. Acquiring and using Ativan recreationally, without a proper medical prescription is also considered abuse. 

Benzos like Ativan are prone to abuse and addiction over time. Ativan and other benzos are very potent and when abused can create a euphoric ‘high’. Ativan balances the chemicals in the brain (primarily the chemicals associated with anxiety). When abused and taken in large amounts, Ativan connects to certain receptors and creates an extreme high. This euphoric feeling is then followed by a long period of relaxation/calm. 

When abused in large doses, Ativan creates the following effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • A euphoric high
  • Calming feelings
  • Relaxation in the muscles

The Dangers of Abusing Ativan with other Drugs

As potent and addictive as Ativan can be, many people see it as a harmless precipitation drug. This makes Ativan a target for abuse (on purpose or unintentionally). In some cases, a person may combine Ativan with other substances such as alcohol. This combination is to amplify the relaxing effects of Ativan. Mixing drugs can create extremely dangerous and problematic effects on a person. 

Some of the more common forms of drug mixing with Ativan include:

  • Cocaine – Ativan counteracts the stimulant effects of cocaine
  • Methadone – Ativan is used to boost the effects of methadone
  • Alcohol – Mixing Ativan and alcohol creates a potent high. This combination (among the others) can result in fatal consequences. 
  • Amphetamines – A similar reaction to mixing Ativan with cocaine (or other stimulants)

Whether combined with other drugs intentionally or unintentionally, a person will run into dangerous events including an overdose. The chances of overdose increase substantially when Ativan is combined with other drugs. It’s imperative to be aware of the overdose effects of Ativan. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, you or a loved one may be experiencing an Ativan overdose:

  • Confusion
  • Lacking energy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech 
  • Coma
  • Passing out
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Impaired body movement

Behavioral Signs of Ativan Addiction 

As with all kinds of addiction, there are some telling signs that indicate an Ativan addiction. These can be seen through the negative effects the drug can have on a person’s mind, thoughts, and body.

It’s important to be informed about these symptoms so you can get the proper treatment for yourself or a loved one. These behavioral signs can completely consume a person’s life. Not only does Ativan addiction affect the person but it also affects those around you. Common signs of Ativan addiction include:

  • Social isolation
  • Financial problems
  • Problems with friends and close family
  • Risky and potentially dangerous behavior
  • Spending a lot of time trying to acquire the drug
  • Worsened performance at school, work, or at home
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities you used to enjoy

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms and Physical Dependence 

When a drug is abused for a certain period of time your body eventually becomes dependent on it. This dependence makes it extremely difficult to stop using. This trend of abuse is seen in many different drug types, including Ativan, and other benzos.

There are two main indicators that signal a physical dependence on Ativan. The first sign is a tolerance build-up. Tolerance occurs when a person must take large amounts of a drug to feel its desired effects. The desired effect in this case refers to the ‘high’ the person gets when Ativan is abused recreationally or other effects as well. 

Ativan addiction

Building a tolerance to a drug will make a person take higher and higher doses, this highly increases the chance of overdose over time. The other sign of physical dependence is the Ativan withdrawal symptoms a person experiences when they stop taking the drug. This occurs when a person either stops taking the drug altogether or substantially lowers their dosage. While dependence is part of addiction, not everyone who is dependent on a drug is addicted. 

Withdrawal symptoms range in severity and can be seen through mental and behavioral red flags. For example, a person may spend much of their time trying to acquire the drug and maybe irritable when they are unable to. Some of the most common Ativan withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Vertigo
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures
  • Derealization
  • Panic attacks
  • Sweating

Some of the Ativan withdrawal symptoms can be extremely severe and unpredictable. It’s only after you stop taking Ativan that you feel the impact of physical dependence. This can be especially problematic if left untreated. You should not try to quit alone, let medical professionals like New Jersey Recovery Center help you. Attempting to quit alone can not only be dangerous but it can be unpredictable as well, let’s get you towards a better, drug-free life today. 

Getting Ativan Addiction Treatment

Ativan addiction (along with all benzo addictions) can be painful and very stressful to combat alone. This is why it’s important to get professional help for you or your loved one. Combating Ativan addiction typically involves a number of different therapy options and possible medication assistance along the way. While it may seem like a tough road ahead, it is not only achievable but it is worth it for a happier and healthier life. 

Most Ativan addiction (or benzo addiction) treatment begins with detoxification. Detox is a process that rids the body of a particular substance. This process is necessary for taming some of the intense Ativan withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting use. During the process, it is crucial to have medical professionals by your side to avoid unpredictable and potentially dangerous effects of stopping Ativan use. 

After the detox process is complete, a person will typically move on to residential or inpatient treatment. This involves staying in a rehab center for a few months. During their stay, a person will meet with several passionate and qualified therapists and counselors. Therapy is a vital part of the recovery process and allows a person to change their thoughts and aspirations. Some of the most commonly used therapy options include:

Start Your Journey at New Jersey Recovery Center

Ativan addiction can cause a number of negative effects on a person’s life and mind. Sometimes it takes extra help to quit addiction if things get worse. This is where New Jersey Recovery Center comes in. We want to help you and your family overcome the chains of addiction so you can live a better life. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options and more information on addiction resources. 

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Laura Riley

Medical Reviewer

Laura comes to NJRC with 23 years of vast clinical experience in hospital, residential, outpatient, and community outreach settings where she has worked, supervised clinical teams, and volunteered. She has provided substance abuse and mental health counseling, clinical coordination, and advocacy to individuals, families and groups, and specializes in co-occurring disorders for both adults and adolescents.