Anxiety can be incredibly debilitating. Anyone who suffers from anxiety and has a history of anxiety attacks knows how frightening and lonely this disorder can be. The truth is, anxiety is very common in the US, with about 40 million Americans over the age of 18 – or 18.1 percent of the population – being diagnosed with anxiety each year.
The good news is that there is treatment out there that can help with anxiety, including medication. The bad news is that such medication can be highly addictive and lead patients to become dependent on their drugs to keep their anxiety at bay.
One such medication that is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety is Ativan. While this pharmaceutical product can certainly be effective at calming symptoms of anxiety, it can also lead to substance abuse if it is not taken carefully. In fact, drugs like Ativan are increasingly being abused in the US, and the impact can even be fatal.
What is Ativan?
Ativan is the brand name for an anti-anxiety medication called lorazepam, and is a type of benzodiazepine that blocks the brain’s neurotransmitters to slow down mental processes that can cause anxiety. It is not designed to be taken on a regular basis over a long period of time, but rather to help with acute bouts of anxiety that are difficult to overcome without the help of medication.
This anti-anxiety medication is considered to be an “intermediate-duration” and is hardly ever prescribed for any more than four months at a time because of its high potency. It can sometimes be prescribed for insomnia, epilepsy, or during alcohol detox to help manage negative withdrawal symptoms.
Patients who take Ativan for their anxiety will usually be able to feel the full effects of the drug about two hours after taking it. After that, the drug will usually stay in the person’s system for up to 20 hours.
What Are the Signs of Ativan Abuse?
Despite Ativan’s ability to help ease the negative feelings that are associated with anxiety disorder, the drug can also be highly addictive. Anyone who takes Ativan for more than a few months on a regular basis is vulnerable to becoming addicted to it.
The following are some common signs of Ativan addiction:
- Neglecting family responsibilities
- Reduced productivity at work
- Isolation from friends and family
- Legal or financial issues as a result of use
- Taking the drug with no prescription
- Using it in higher doses or frequencies than prescribed
- Using it in unconventional ways such as crushing pills to snort it
The signs of Ativan abuse become increasingly prominent as the addiction becomes more serious. People who are hooked on Ativan may notice that their lives center on the drug use. If this happens, it can be very hard to stop using the drug without outside help.
What Happens During Withdrawal From Ativan?
Withdrawal from a drug like Ativan can be dangerous and even deadly. Acute Ativan withdrawal symptoms (within 24 hours to 4 days from the last dose) typically include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
- Abdominal cramps
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- Seizures in rare cases
Prolonged withdrawal symptoms can last 10 to 14 days or longer, depending on how severe the dependency is. Withdrawal symptoms during this phase can include:
- Intense cravings
- Feeling unwell overall
Ativan Addiction Requires Treatment in a Colorado Drug Rehab
If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to Ativan, Colorado drug rehab is likely the best route to take to overcome it. When you have been on Ativan for a while, your body develops a physiological and psychological need for the drug. Quitting Ativan is not just a matter of stopping cold turkey and forgetting about it. It is not about willpower. And it is not all in your head.
Instead, an addiction to a powerful drug like Ativan requires specialized medically-supervised treatment to help you wean the drug out of your system and minimize the nasty withdrawal symptoms that could lead you to run back to the drug and relapse.
Seeking help and entering a Colorado drug rehab facility does not mean you are weak; instead, it is a sign of strength. Contact us today for assistance with breaking free from Ativan addiction.