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Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Ativan Abuse

Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Ativan Abuse

Lorazepam is among the most potent benzodiazepines available. Since it is a very strong drug, the potential of becoming addicted to it is also greater than other benzos. Even when the drug is used exactly as prescribed, the potential of developing dependence always stays. However, the risk is further increased when it is abused by taking it in higher than prescribed amounts or taking it for longer than prescribed. When abused for long periods of time, the signs and symptoms of abuse become apparent. Looking for these warning signs can help to figure out if a loved one is struggling with Ativan addiction.

Signs of Ativan abuse:

Signs of Ativan abuse maybe hard to detect. Since it is a prescription medication, its use can be easier to hide. The user becomes so accustomed to using the drug that he is able to function normally even after taking it frequently. However, when the drug is quit, withdrawal symptoms appear making it hard for the user to function. Some of the common signs associated with Ativan abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in sex drive
  • constipation

Dangers associated with Ativan abuse:

Ativan is a highly addictive substance so it should only be used with a valid prescription under medical supervision. It is usually prescribed for short term usage due to the dangers associated with its use.

A number of side effects are produced due to Ativan use. The side effects may further worsen if it is taken in high amounts for extended periods of time. Some of the common side effects associated with Ativan abuse include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Respiratory depression
  • Inability to stay alert/ excessive sedation
  • Damages to memory
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Loss of consciousness

The excessive use of Ativan is associated with long term damages to health. It also adversely affects brain functioning. Studies suggest that extended use of Ativan is associated with permanent cognitive impairment.

Long term health effects of Ativan abuse:

Ativan is not prescribed for long term use due to its addictive potential and health hazards. The long term use of this drug is associated with serious mental, physical and emotional health damages. The effects are particularly apparent in users who take the drug for recreational purposes.

Ativan is central nervous system depressant that means it produces its calming effects by slowing down the brain functions. The extended use of Ativan produces tolerance so it takes more and more amounts of the drug to produce desired effects. This can produce both physical and psychological dependence.

Other long term signs and symptoms of chronic Ativan abuse may include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Declined cognitive abilities
  • Excessive sedation or drowsiness
  • Slow respiration
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Mouth sores

There is a greater probability of cognitive impairment in elderly people who have low tolerance for the drug. Cognitive dysfunction may persist even after the drug has been quit after a long term use. However, in most of the cases, the major effects are reversible with some symptoms still persisting.

Long term Ativan abuse is associated with serious emotional issues. The drug addiction ends up changing the whole personality of the user. It becomes very hard to return to a normal life and establish normal relationships or socialize with the people. The prospects of getting a job and working normally also decrease.

How to recognize an Ativan addiction?

Prescription drug addictions are not easy to recognize and so is the case for Ativan. Ativan is not abused only when it is obtained via illegal means but it is also abused by the people who use it with a valid prescription. Looking for signs of physical and psychological dependence can help to find out if a loved one is suffering from Ativan addiction.

Ativan addiction can develop quickly before the user even realizes it. Even those who take it exactly as prescribed can end up becoming addicted to it. Development of tolerance is one of the earliest signs of addictions. It takes more amounts of the drug to produce the same effects.

When the usage of drug us quit, a number of withdrawal symptoms start to appear such as nausea, vomiting, anxiety, cravings for the drug etc that are a definite indication of addiction.

Cravings are particularly more important when it comes to determining an addiction. Carvings may appear even when it has only been a few hours after the last drug use. A number of behavioral symptoms may also be observed in the addict. The addict fails to function normally in the absence of drug and takes the drug at the cost of important things in life such as relationships, education, career etc.

Planning an intervention for Ativan abuse:

If a loved one is suffering from Ativan addiction, it is important to get them proper treatment to ensure they return to a normal life. The first step towards recovery is staging an intervention and talking to your loved one. It is common for the addicts to deny the addiction out of guilt, shame or remorse. In such a case, a professional can help to make the communication easy between the addict and his family. It may also help the family to understand the condition of the addict and what type of treatment is needed for a successful recovery.

It is important to carefully plan an intervention and be cautious of what you say to the patient. It is better to rehearse the whole thing before confronting the patient or the results may not be positive.