Ativan (lorazepam) is a prescription benzodiazepine (benzo) indicated for the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. Like all benzos, Ativan can be an effective anti-anxiety remedy, but also has the potential for misuse, dependence, and addiction.
Ativan, when prescribed by a physician, comes in tablet form, and oral consumption is the most common means of abuse. However, Ativan can also be altered by crushing into a powder that a person can ingest nasally by snorting, an action that results in accelerated transit to the brain and central nervous system.
After Ativan has been inhaled, the drug is rapidly absorbed and initiates a boost of GABA, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of reward, well-being, and relaxation. This action, in turn, induces the desired euphoric “high” and is the primary reason for its addictive potential.
Dependency, Tolerance, and Addiction
Even if used as directed, Ativan use can result in some level of dependence, a condition that occurs when the brain becomes used to the presence of a substance and is no longer able to function without it. When this happens, the person will experience unpleasant emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms when they try to discontinue benzo use.
Tolerance is a state that is caused by the brain’s propensity to diminish the effects of a substance upon repeated use, and the user will need to use increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the desired result. Unfortunately, this cycle of ever-accelerating use and reduced response can lead to a rapid worsening of the addiction and, ultimately, destructive, and even life-threatening complications.
Addiction develops in stages and typically consists of tolerance and dependence but is also hallmarked by an obsession with obtainment and use of a drug, and a person who is addicted may stop at nothing to get it.
Signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Continued use of the drug despite adverse physical and psycho-emotional effects
- Lack of interest in activities once considered important or enjoyable
- The use of Ativan in risky or inappropriate situations.
- Adverse changes or issues in other areas of life such as school, work, relationships, finances, and legal status
- Chronic lethargy or sedation
As noted, the onset of withdrawal effects is a tell-tale sign that the person’s system has been compromised and less capable of functioning correctly without the drug’s presence. These mental and physical symptoms often last for several days after the dose has been ingested.
Symptoms of withdrawal from benzos may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Insomnia/sleep disturbances
- Sweating and chills
Other Potential Consequences
Dependence and tolerance are not, by any means, the only critical health conditions that can manifest from this means of delivery. For example, snorting Ativan can also result in nasal infections and cause permanent damage to the nasal passage, septum, and surrounding tissue.
Other side effects and hazards of snorting Ativan include:
- Heavy sedation
- Blurred vision
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in appetite
Snorting Ativan and Overdose
Snorting Ativan, especially in conjunction with the use of other drugs or alcohol, can lead to life-threatening central nervous system depression, respiratory distress, and death.
Symptoms of an Ativan overdose may include the following:
- Pale, bluish skin or lips
- Shallow or labored breathing
- Impaired coordination
- Slurred speech
- Impaired memory
- Loss of consciousness
- Impaired motor skills
- Profound respiratory depression
From Detox to Substance Abuse Treatment and Beyond
Ativan abuse is a risky habit that has been associated with a myriad of adverse consequences. And yet, many who are dependent on psychoactive prescription drugs do not understand the seriousness of their condition. Refusal to seek help can be detrimental to one’s health and even life-threatening, and seeking treatment in any stage of dependence is vital for recovery.
Medical treatment for Ativan dependence often begins with a medically-assisted detox program, a clinical process in which the individual is closely monitored around-the-clock, and withdrawal symptoms are actively addressed to relieve pain and discomfort.
A tapering schedule is often advised for most Ativan users to minimize withdrawal symptoms. This is a process that involves gradually reducing the dose of Ativan over a period of time until the drug can be discontinued safely without compromising the patient’s health or well-being.
Following detox, individuals are urged to enroll in an evidence-based addiction treatment program. Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer these programs in both partial hospitalization and residential formats.
Getting Treatment for Ativan Addiction
Ativan dependence can turn into a chronic disease, and although there are no cures for substance use disorders, they can be effectively treated. Those who seek help can reclaim their lives and ultimately experience long-term healthiness and sobriety.
We offer a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment that encompasses a variety of clinically-proven therapies and activities.. We are dedicated to providing those we treat the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.
If you or a loved one is battling substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible. Contact us today to learn about our treatment options and find out how we can help!