Ativan (Lorazepam) Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Programs

Ativan (lorazepam) is a prescription medication that can become habit-forming with chronic use, and may be misused for its effects. Treatments for Ativan abuse and addiction include medical detox, mental health counseling, and behavioral therapy.

Ativan (lorazepam) is a central nervous system depressant that is prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, alcohol abuse, and insomnia. It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which can slow brain activity and cause drowsiness.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 13 million benzodiazepine prescriptions are filled each year in the United States. Lorazepam, the generic name for Ativan, is the third-most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine.

Ativan can become habit-forming and addictive with chronic use. This can cause a buildup of the drug in your body known as drug dependence. Ativan dependence can make it difficult to stop taking the drug.

People who misuse Ativan by taking it in ways other than prescribed may also become dependent on Ativan, and can become addicted to its effects.

Examples of Ativan misuse include:

  • taking it in higher doses than prescribed
  • taking it more frequently
  • taking it for reasons other than prescribed
  • crushing and snorting tablets
  • taking Ativan with other drugs (including alcohol) to get high
  • stealing it from another person’s prescription

Ativan abuse can be dangerous, especially when mixed with other substances, such as alcohol and opioids. Abusing Ativan can lead to severe dependence, addiction, increased risk for overdose, and other negative effects on physical and mental health.

Living with addiction can make it difficult to work and may harm relationships with family members and other loved ones. This can lead to depression, worsened anxiety, and a feeling of hopelessness.

At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we know how hard it can be to seek help. We also know that recovering from Ativan addiction is possible.

Here, you’ll find information about different types of treatment programs for Ativan addiction, signs of addiction, and an overview of our New England recovery center in Ashby, Massachusetts.

Ativan (Lorazepam) Abuse And Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with Ativan abuse, you’re not alone. About 5.3 million people in the United States reported misusing prescription benzodiazepines like Ativan in 2018.

Of those who struggle, the majority don’t seek treatment, with common barriers being cost, stigma, and not feeling ready to stop using drugs.

Treatment for Ativan abuse may involve several components, beginning with detox. Inpatient treatment at a substance abuse rehab center may also be recommended, especially for those with chronic or severe addiction.

The type of treatment program that is needed can vary from person to person. Determining the most suitable treatment program for yourself or a loved one can be accomplished through an initial evaluation with your general physician or through a drug rehab facility.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal And Detox

When prescribed, Ativan is generally recommended only for short-term use. This is because it can quickly become habit-forming and addictive.

Within a few weeks, people who take Ativan may need to take higher dosages to feel the same effects. The body can also become dependent on Ativan, leading to withdrawal with reduced or stopped use.

Abusing Ativan can lead to a severe drug dependence and addiction more quickly. This can cause more severe withdrawal and make it more difficult to stop taking the prescription drug. Without medical support, Ativan withdrawal can be serious and potentially life-threatening.

Medical detoxification is the safest way to begin the process of getting sober from Ativan. Within a detox program, healthcare professionals can create a customized detox plan to help you stop taking Ativan or gradually taper your dosage.

This may include switching you to a longer-acting benzodiazepine, monitoring you for health concerns during early withdrawal, and offering around-the-clock support within a quiet and supervised setting.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient treatment is commonly recommended for people overcoming chronic or severe addiction. At Spring Hill, we offer a comprehensive residential rehab program to help individuals address the root causes of their addiction and begin the path towards a rewarding future in addiction recovery.

Our residential rehab center offers a wide range of treatment services to help patients heal from the physical, mental, and emotional effects of living with addiction. This includes treatments that are proven to help people recover from Ativan addiction, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dual diagnosis treatment for people with mental illness.

Within our residential rehab program, you’ll find:

  • around-the-clock supervision and support
  • individual counseling
  • group therapy
  • family therapy
  • dual diagnosis care
  • yoga and mindfulness
  • art and music therapy
  • medication management
  • relapse prevention planning

Entering a short-term rehab program can offer residents an escape from an environment that might have driven or contributed to their substance abuse.

Our treatment center provides a peaceful and restorative setting for people to heal from their addiction and learn more effective ways to cope with stress and other triggers.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Ativan abuse can also be treated through an outpatient treatment program. Outpatient treatment may be suitable for people with mild substance abuse issues, or those who have recently completed an inpatient program.

The level of support and structure offered in outpatient treatment can vary depending on the type of program and the treatment center.

Outpatient treatment programs include:

  • Day Treatment: Day treatment, or partial hospitalization, involves attending treatment at a rehab center for up to 25 hours a week. This is the most intensive form of outpatient treatment.
  • Intensive Outpatient: Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) generally involve attending counseling and group therapy sessions in the afternoon or evening a few days a week.
  • Standard Outpatient: The structure of standard outpatient programs can vary from one rehab center to the next. Standard outpatient treatment services—such as behavioral therapy—can also be sought through an outpatient behavioral health provider.

Outpatient treatment may not be suitable for people who are medically unstable or have a history of chronic relapse.

If you’ve had a difficult time tapering your Ativan use on your own, or have an unsupportive home environment, seeking a higher level of care at a rehab facility may be recommended.

Dangers Of Ativan Abuse

Two primary dangers of Ativan abuse are a high risk for drug addiction and severe physical dependence. Developing a severe dependence on Ativan may risk some serious withdrawal symptoms, including extreme agitation, delusions, and seizures.

Another danger of abusing Ativan is an overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, benzodiazepines are involved in more than 30 percent of fatal opioid overdoses across the country.

Opioids like heroin, which also depress the central nervous system, are frequently misused with benzos, alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs. Mixing drugs is common among people with prescription substance use disorders.

Ativan overdose can have serious consequences, including sedation, respiratory depression, and death. In 2018, more than 67,000 people in the United States died due to drug overdose. More than 10,000 of those drug overdose deaths included benzodiazepines.

Chronic use and abuse of Ativan can also have other consequences to health. In elderly adults, long-term use of benzodiazepines has been linked to a higher risk of dementia, falls, and cognitive impairment. Severe side effects of Ativan—such as suicidal thoughts, memory problems, and difficulty breathing—can also occur.

Signs Of Ativan Abuse And Addiction

Identifying when someone has become addicted to Ativan is not always easy. Many people struggling with drug abuse will often lie to themselves and others about their drug use.

Addiction is a complex disease that can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, and income level.

If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is addicted to Ativan, look for the following signs:

  • being unable to stop taking Ativan
  • hiding or lying about your substance abuse
  • going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions (doctor shopping)
  • constantly thinking about Ativan
  • continuing to take Ativan despite negative effects on physical and mental health
  • avoiding others in order to get high without judgment
  • taking Ativan despite its interference with work, school, or other responsibilities
  • experiencing withdrawal within a few hours of your last dose

Begin Your Addiction Recovery At Spring Hill

Beginning the journey towards addiction recovery can be difficult, but it is possible. If you or a loved one is struggling with Ativan abuse, look no further than Spring Hill Recovery Center.

Spring Hill is an accredited rehab center based in Ashby, Massachusetts—a small town located within an hour of most of Massachusetts’s largest cities. We offer residential rehab and intensive outpatient programs for people overcoming Ativan abuse and addiction.

Our New England treatment center belongs to a network of Massachusetts substance abuse treatment providers, which together offer a full continuum of care. We also partner with nearby sober living homes and detox centers to provide a smooth transition through each stage of the addiction recovery process.

Spring Hill accepts many forms of health insurance and can help arrange travel for people who are coming to our treatment center from out of state.

Surrounding states that are served by Spring Hill include:

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spring Hill has continued its mission of helping people begin their recovery journey while prioritizing the safety of patients and staff.

Don’t wait to learn what Spring Hill can do for you. Call us today to learn more about Ativan addiction treatment options at Spring Hill.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse—Benzodiazepines and Opioids
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus—Lorazepam
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine: PubMedCentral—Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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