Ativan, or as more commonly know by his generic name lorazepam is a strong sedative medication prescribed for the management of sleeping disorders and anxiety. It produces similar effects other benzodiazepine medications and can even cause physical dependence and addiction.

But, how can you know if you or someone close to you is physically addicted to Ativan? How can Ativan addiction be treated? In this article we discuss about the signs and symptoms of physical dependence to Ativan, and we explain the course of treatment and therapy options. Then, we invite you to ask questions or share your experience in the section at the bottom of the page.

Physical dependence on Ativan

People with physical addiction to Ativan take more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. This means that a level of tolerance to Ativan has developed. After extended use you start to feel the need to increase doses in order to be able to relax and sleep normally again.

Physical dependence on Ativan is associated with chronic use of Ativan. This means that your body becomes adapted to the presence of Ativan and depends on it to maintain balance and function normally. When you become physically dependent, you experience withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue Ativan abruptly or significantly lower the dosage. Physiological dependence on Ativan comes as a result of:

  1. Increased tolerance to Ativan
  2. Withdrawal signs and symptoms when Ativan is discontinued, or
  3. The continued use of Ativan in order to avoid withdrawal

On the other hand, Ativan addiction is very different than physical dependence on Ativan. Addiction is a set of psychological symptoms that demonstrate overall loss of control or obsessive-compulsive Ativan seeking, and continued use regardless of your knowledge about harmful and dangerous consequences. Ativan addiction means that you are unable to stop using Ativan. In many cases physical dependence is the predecessor that leads to addiction.

Physical signs of addiction to Ativan

Ativan’s addiction potential does not come only from it’s chemical properties. The length and frequency of the Ativan use are also a contributing factor. Also, since Ativan causes relaxation and allows you to overcome your sleeping or anxiety problems, many believe that they cannot live or function without it.

But, how do you know you are addicted? You probably ‘hooked’ if you recognize your behaviour in any of the listed physical signs of addiction to Ativan:

  • You feel a strong need and cravings for Ativan
  • You are constantly thinking about Ativan
  • You are unable to be relaxed and calm without Ativan
  • You are unable to function without Ativan
  • You can’t overcome your sleeping and anxiety problems without Ativan
  • You have several failed attempts at quitting Ativan
  • You obsess over obtaining and using Ativan

It is important for you to be able to recognize if you have developed addiction to Ativan in order to start treating it on time. The earlier you start with treatment the better chances you have to escape the severe health consequences. The chronic use of Ativan can cause serious health disbalance with unpleasant symptoms such as:

  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • limb weakness

TIP: If you suspect that you or a loved one have become addicted to Ativan, do not deny it. Instead ask for help and encourage yourself or someone else to start a treatment. Long-term Ativan addiction can lead to serious health problems and in some cases even irreversible damage.

Treating physical symptoms of addiction to Ativan

Ativan addiction symptoms can be treated using mainly behavioral and psychotherapeutic modalities. Structured treatment programs can provide successful recovery and relapse prevention therapies.

Here is what the Ativan addiction treatment process includes:

  1. Intake
  2. Medically assisted Ativan detox
  3. Development of and individualized treatment plan
  4. 12 step support program groups
  5. Yoga and meditation treatments

At the beginning of your treatment you can expect Ativan doses to be gradually decreased under medical supervision and according to a tapering schedule. You will undergo a process of medical detox where your body will eliminate all traces of Ativan. Withdrawal effects are a normal and expected occurrence at this stage, but it is important to detox under medical supervision.

After detoxification, the medical staff will work with you on developing an individualized treatment plan. Ongoing Ativan treatment can take place in an inpatient rehab center or an outpatient treatment program.

Support groups, counseling sessions and alternative types of therapies can assist your recovery process from Ativan addiction. In fact, a combination of behavioral and cognitive therapies appears to be mostly effective in helping you achieve and maintain an Ativan-free life.

Physically addicted to Ativan questions

Do you still have questions about Ativan’s physical addiction potential? Please post them in the designated section below. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference sources: NCBI: Physical dependence on benzodiazepines: differences within the class
SAMHSA: Prescription Medications: Misuse, Abuse, Dependence, and Addiction

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from Addiction Blog