Ativan is a type of benzodiazepine that is mainly used to treat anxiety. Its generic drug equivalent is lorazepam. They act as sedatives or tranquilizers to the nervous system, which can have therapeutic effects. However, Ativan is highly addictive. Further, Ativan addiction is tricky to treat. There are currently no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications that treat benzodiazepine addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Ativan Addiction

Because Ativan addiction is so common, it is usually only prescribed as a short-term treatment, generally for three to four months. There are two phases to the start of Ativan addition. The first is that the body develops a tolerance to the prescribed dosage. This means that the person takes more to get the same results. The second is that the body goes through withdrawal symptoms. This can happen if the patient stops taking the drug suddenly or if they take a lower dosage. Ativan develops into an addiction when the patient begins displaying psychological or behavioral signs.

Withdrawal Symptoms

It is highly recommended that those with Ativan addiction seek a supervised detox. Some milder symptoms include anxiety, depression, vertigo, and confusion. However, it can have more severe symptoms including panic attacks, seizures, hallucinations, derealization, and delirium.

Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal symptoms can start within 24 hours of stopping the medication. The most intense portion of the detox phase lasts from 10 to 14 days. However, symptoms can continue to linger for up to a year. During this time a person may experience any of the withdrawal symptoms listed above or other potential complications.

Ativan Abuse

Usually a person is addicted to Ativan because of medication abuse. One sign of Ativan abuse includes going to several doctors and displaying false symptoms to receive additional prescriptions. If you are concerned that someone you know is doing this, check to see if their prescription bottles come from multiple pharmacies.

Treatment options

Ativan addiction requires a tapering process. This is because suddenly stopping the medication is more likely to lead to the above symptoms. However, there are currently no medications for the treatment of benzodiazepine addictions. If needed, other therapies can help. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and contingency management. In addition, twelve-step programs can also help by reinforcing the lessons from these initial therapies. Therapy can help to identify the thought processes and beliefs that led to the addiction.

Often, a person begins using tranquilizers as a way to cope with stress. When this is the case, these types of therapies will help the person develop strategies and recognize triggers for their stress. In addition, complementary services can be highly beneficial as well. These could include meditation, animal-assisted therapy, art therapy, equine-assisted therapy, yoga or adventure therapy.

Overcoming Ativan addiction requires the help of a trained professional. If your loved one has been taking Ativan and you are concerned for them, call Substance Intervention for a free consultation at 1-844-218-8780.