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Lorazepam Abuse and Addiction
It is unfortunate that many prescription medications have the potential for abuse and addiction, and Lorazepam falls into that category. It is a benzodiazepine drug, a class of sedatives that can cause chemical dependence over time, even if used as prescribed. It is never recommended to quit Lorazepam without medical oversight, and you should never stop taking the drug suddenly as withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous to your health with seizures and other serious side effects.
What is Lorazepam?
Lorazepam is the generic name of the benzodiazepine drug Ativan, a medication that is often prescribed to treat anxiety disorder, panic disorder, insomnia, and other sleeping disorders related to stress or anxiety. It is also used as a “pre-med” medication, provided to help patients relax before operations and dental treatments. By enhancing the effects of the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain and body, Lorazepam calms the brain and the nerves.
The sedative effects of Lorazepam (Ativan) last for 6 to 8 hours on average, kicking in within 20 to 30 minutes. This prescription medication comes as tablets that can be swallowed or dissolvable pills to be placed under the tongue and may also be given as a liquid to swallow or as an injection to curb seizures in a medical setting. Lorazepam tablets come as 0.5mg, 1mg and 2.5mg tablets. The liquid contains 1mg of lorazepam in each 1ml. Dosages are based on your medical condition, your age, and your response to treatment.
The effects of taking Ativan (Lorazepam) include:
- Reduced anxiety
- Feeling calm
- Stopping a seizure
- Changes in sexual interest
- Changes in appetite
Side effects to tell your doctor about include:
- Muscle weakness
- Problems with coordination
- Blurred vision
Signs of Lorazepam Abuse and Addiction
Common signs of Lorazepam abuse and Lorazepam addiction are:
- “Doctor shopping” to get additional prescriptions
- Passing out and oversleeping
- Lying about Lorazepam use
- No longer participating in social activities and hobbies/isolation
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling withdrawal symptoms and panic when you do not take Lorazepam
Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor to lower the risk of developing a substance use disorder. It is not likely to be addictive if taken for a short period of time (2 to 4 weeks), but you are more likely to develop a drug addiction to Lorazepam if you have had problems with alcohol or drugs in the past.
Lorazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms that may occur when you stop taking Lorazepam include:
- Stomach and muscle cramps
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling nervous and irritable
Long-Term Side Effects of Lorazepam Abuse
Long-term and serious side effects that may stem from Lorazepam abuse include:
- Shallow breathing
- Allergic reactions
- Liver problems
- Poor balance
- Vision issues/blurry vision
- Memory problems
- Unusual weakness in the body
- Overexcitement or feeling aggressive
- Mental health changes like depression or suicidal thoughts
Lorazepam Addiction Treatment
When you stop using Ativan (Lorazepam), your doctor will work with you to reduce your dosage gradually, so your body is able to adapt to being without the medicine, which reduces the chances of serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms. At the Muse addiction treatment center, we assist in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs, providing medication management for a safe tapering-off schedule that will ensure you are safe and do not suffer discomfort as your body adjusts.
Along with drug detox program, our team provides a comprehensive continuum of care that leads from inpatient rehab through outpatient treatments like partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and long-term aftercare treatments, and peer support. You will have evidence-based treatments like individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as educational programs, physical fitness, and education counseling, EMDR, life skills programs, and relapse prevention training. We also provide treatments that engage spirituality and holistic healing, like 12-step programs, mindfulness, art therapy, and yoga.
Your Lorazepam rehab program will be customized to your practical needs, your physical and mental health needs, and your comfort for a whole-patient approach to healing. Please contact us today to verify insurance coverage or to learn more about our residential rehab and outpatient treatment plans.