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Ativan: drug addiction
Ativan is widely used in psychiatric, neurological and narcological practice. It is intended to relieve fear and anxiety (including before surgery). When used at the appropriate dose, Ativan doesn’t cause addiction. However, abuse of Ativan turns it from a useful medication into a dangerous drug.
Use in medicine
Ativan is a tranquilizer from the group of benzodiazepine derivatives. It has an anti-anxiety, sedative, and antiemetic action. By affecting the CNS, Ativan reduces muscle spasms and seizures, aids sleep and prevents vomiting. In addition, the drug has a soothing, hypnotic and anxiolytic effect, provided by the inhibitory action of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain.
The drug relieves seizures by enhancing the inhibitory processes in the synapses of the cortex, thalamus, and limbic system. Ativan is a benzodiazepine used for the treatment of the following conditions:
- muscle spasms;
- sleep disorders;
- severe anxiety/panic; neurosis;
- reactive psychosis;
- mixed anxiety–depressive disorder;
- psychosomatic disorders;
- nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy; alcohol withdrawal and delirium.
Ativan as a drug
Ativan may cause addiction if used for over a month. The risk of dependence increases with higher doses and longer-term use. During the treatment, patients experience significant reduction in anxiety and fear. However, after the discontinuation of the drug, some of them have a relapse, so they start taking the drug again (but this time without consulting a doctor).
Over time, patients may develop tolerance to the drug, which decreases its effect. In this case, they have to increase the dose or frequency of use to achieve the desired effect. This may enhance the side effects of Ativan and lead to:
- sleepiness, lethargy and fatigue;
- disorientation; depression;
- coordination disorders;
- vertigo and headache;
- memory loss;
- sickness, vomiting and diarrhea;
- allergy; low white blood cell count;
- increase in LDH levels and activity.
Drug addicts sometimes use Ativan to relieve the withdrawal symptoms when they can’t get their next fix. Alcoholics first take it to relieve withdrawal symptoms, and then mix it with alcohol to increase intoxication. Anyway, if you’ve become addicted to Ativan, you need to see a narcologist and undergo a full treatment.
The consequences of lorazepam addiction are:
- gradual personality degradation;
- decline in mental abilities and memory skills;
- masklike face and a lack of facial expression;
- inhibition of speech and motor activity; cruelty, callousness and rudeness;
- loss of moral principles;
- internal organ damage and liver failure.
Patients with drug addiction or anxiety using Ativan may develop physical dependence, manifested by severe withdrawal syndrome. Its symptoms are similar to those of alcohol and barbiturate withdrawal. In this case, only the appropriate drug treatment can help you solve the problem. The higher the dose and the longer the treatment, the harder it will be to withdraw Ativan.
Treatment of Ativan addiction requires a professional approach. Patients addicted to this medicine need the same treatment as drug dependent persons. In case of recreational use, it means a full detox, and in patients who take Ativan for the treatment of neurotic and mental disorders – a drug tapering. If it is necessary to continue the treatment of neurosis, anxiety or psychosomatic disorders, the doctor should replace Ativan with a long-acting benzodiazepine or other sedative.