Lorazepam is an anti-anxiety medication that may also be prescribed for a number of other medical conditions or illnesses.
For example, it has also been indicated for use in the treatment of epilepsy, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, vomiting and nausea, alcohol withdrawal and similar types of conditions.
The primary use for Lorazepam is to treat anxiety, however, because it is capable of creating a calming effect or a sedative effect that is helpful for people that are experiencing anxiety or irritability due to a panic disorder.
The very idea of the drug Ativan should explain why it is an easy one to abuse. It is a tranquilizer medication that is prescribed in order to treat anxiety by inducing relaxation. As a result, not only is it capable of being abused by the people that have a legitimate medical reason to use it, but also by people that do not, and who obtain it illegally on the street so that they can experience the calming effects that it creates.
Because of the nature of Ativan and how it works, it is actually quite easy to abuse the drug or to become physically dependent on it. Unfortunately, using Ativan for long periods of time can make changes in the brain causing physical dependence, and this dependence can lead to the user feeling that they need to take more of the drug in a single dosage, take dosages more often, or take the drug for longer than recommended by a physician. All of these are types of Ativan abuse. People may also turn to other methods of administering the drug, such as crushing it up and attempting to snort the powder through the nose, or dissolving the powder in water or other liquids so that it may be injected directly into the blood stream, and these are extremely dangerous avenues to pursue.
Ativan is a Benzodiazepine medication, and when these medications are used over a long period of time, changes can occur in the brain that cause physical dependencies. The physical dependencies that are caused by Ativan use over a long period of time unfortunately lead to benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which is a serious example of the types of withdrawal symptoms that can occur after long time use of a prescription medication.
Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms
Ativan withdrawal symptoms line up with a phenomenon known as benzodiazepine withdrawal symptom, which is also commonly referred to as benzo withdrawal. This is a cluster of specific symptoms that tend to appear as soon as a person who has taken benzodiazepine medications for a long period of time stops doing so. Once a physical dependency has been formed, stop taking the drugs cold turkey or reducing dosages significantly can cause this selection of symptoms. This is similar to barbiturate withdrawal syndrome as well as alcohol withdrawal syndrome in nature.
In severe cases, Ativan withdrawal symptoms are actually capable of causing life threatening circumstances, such as seizures. Other symptoms may also begin to appear depending on how severe the withdrawal is, including but not limited to extreme cases of anxiety, insomnia, irritability and even disturbances in the senses. People may also experience symptoms that more closely resemble serious medical and psychiatric conditions, including but not limited to seizure disorders and schizophrenia.
Ativan withdrawal, along with other types of Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be so severe, in fact, that suicide is a side effect that may result.
Ativan Abuse Treatment Options
Because Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptom is so serious, and because it can cause symptoms even when gradually stepping down your dosage, it is vitally essential that help is sought through a drug rehab facility. These types of drug rehab centers have the staffing and the tools to help you gradually, slowly and carefully wean yourself off of the Ativan so that you do not experience the harmful and potentially deadly side effects that come from Ativan withdrawal. Going through the rehabilitation process the right way is absolutely essential in making sure that you are able to overcome this physical dependency without putting yourself in harm's way.
Most rehabilitation processes require both a physical and a mental aspect. The mental aspect may include behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapy in order to make sure that relapse is prevented and that the patient does not return to using the drug, especially if the anxiety feelings do end up returning. It is essential that someone dealing with an Ativan addiction or physical dependency get help from the right people in order to overcome the drug abuse in the safest possible way.