Know Your Benzos: The FAQ on Ativan


For those who take Ativan, understanding the dangers and potential for addiction is vital.

Ativan is one of the top 10 psychiatric drugs used in America. Many have taken it; many have abused it.

What do you know about it?

If you’re like most people, your knowledge of Ativan is limited. Even those who use it are often unaware of its potential effects. To ensure you’re informed, here’s the scoop on Ativan.

What is Ativan?

Ativan is a brand name for the prescription drug lorazepam. It falls under a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. It interacts with chemicals in the brain to slow down communication between brain nerves.

Ativan is used to treat anxiety disorders or anxiety associated with depression. Its interaction with the central nervous system is designed to provide calming and balancing effects. It’s also prescribed for insomnia, epilepsy and sedation.

Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Memory problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Imbalance or Unsteady Gait

Dangers of Ativan Abuse

Taken as prescribed, Ativan can produce a sense of calm. Taken in large doses, Ativan can cause a euphoric high, which is the reason it’s often abused. Abused, it can be life-threatening.

Signs of Ativan overdose include:

  • Loss of muscle control
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mental confusion
  • Slow breathing
  • Coma

Is Ativan Addictive?

Yes, Ativan is highly addictive and your chances of becoming dependent increase exponentially if you misuse this drug. It’s essential to follow the prescribed instructions.

Since it’s a legal medication, many people don’t realize they’re abusing Ativan.

Some symptoms of Ativan abuse include:

  • Taking more than prescribed
  • Taking it more frequently than prescribed
  • Taking it longer than prescribed
  • Taking someone else’s Ativan

All of these actions put you at risk for Ativan addiction.

How Do I Know if I’m Addicted?

Consider how important Ativan is in your life. Where does it rank? A top sign of addiction is that the substance has become central to your day. If getting and using the drug takes top priority, you likely have a problem.

Indicators of Ativan addiction include:

  • Cravings: Do you feel a compulsion to use Ativan?
  • Tolerance: Do you need more and more of it to feel its effects?
  • Withdrawal symptoms: If you don’t take Ativan, do you suffer withdrawal?
  • Work/school/relationship issues: Are other areas of your life suffering as you seek this drug?
  • Financial problems: Is your bank account suffering as you try to pay for large amounts of Ativan?

What Does Treatment for Ativan Addiction Look Like?

If you or a loved one is struggling with Ativan addiction, help is available. To begin treatment, you will slowly reduce the amount of Ativan you take. This gradual weaning is the safest way to beat an Ativan addiction since no pharmacological treatments are currently available. This detox process and the rehab treatment to follow typically require supervision at a treatment center.

The length of treatment partly depends on the dosage level you have been taking. (Higher dosage requires more treatment.) The first step is to admit there is a problem. Then, find help at an Ativan addiction treatment facility.

Image Source: iStock

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