Ativan is a prescription medicine belonging to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. It is prescribed to patients with anxiety to help them stay calm. Ativan is the brand name for the compound ‘lorazepam,’ which is a central nervous system depressant. It produces its action by slowing down brain activities. Just like other commonly abused substances, lorazepam is habit-forming when used for long periods. Even people who take it for therapeutic purposes may end up developing physical and psychological dependence. Fortunately, an Ativan addiction treatment program can help. Contact Addiction Rehab Centers today at 844.910.0686 to learn more about the treatment options available.
What Is Ativan?
Ativan is a potent anti-anxiety medication belonging to the class benzodiazepines. Apart from anxiety, it also treats panic disorders, insomnia, seizures, and sleep disorders. In some cases, benzos are used as anesthetics and sedatives to relax the patient before surgery or other medical reasons. Like other benzodiazepines, there is a potential to become addicted to it when used for extended periods.
Ativan is available in 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg tablets, so the amount of lorazepam varies in different pills. Ativan appears in the form of a small, white tablet. It is essential to know how the drug looks like so it becomes easier to identify if a loved one is abusing Ativan. Furthermore, it can help to prevent an accidental overdose.
What Are the Dosage Amounts for Ativan?
It is best to control Ativan intake to prevent abuse and addiction carefully. People take Ativan tablets orally, and the dosage amount varies from one patient to the other. Usually, the dose starts from 0.5mg and is gradually increased depending upon the patient’s condition. The maximum dose of Ativan per day prescribed to different patients may range from 1 to 10mg.
For the treatment of anxiety, usually, 2-3mg of Ativan is prescribed to be taken 2 to 3 times a day. For the treatment of stress and sleep disorders, 2 to 4 mg Ativan can be taken before going to bed. For older adults, the amount prescribed is lower since they have a low tolerance for the drug.
When used for therapeutic purposes, the effects of Ativan may last up to 72 hours. However, when it is abused and is taken in large quantities, the euphoric effects produced by it may last up to 9-10 hours.
Ativan’s Effects on the Brain
Ativan is only available with a valid prescription, and since most people use it for therapeutic purposes, they do not realize they are abusing it. Taking it without a prescription is abuse, but taking it in higher than prescribed amounts or taking it more frequently than prescribed is also considered abuse. The potential to develop physical and mental dependence increases a great deal when a person abuses the substance.
When someone consumes Ativan, it produces calming effects on the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain. It reduces the communication among neurons, thus making relaxing effects. But when someone takes it in significantly increased amounts, it binds to specific receptors in the brain, producing a euphoric high. The typical effects of this drug include:
- Muscle relaxation
- Sense of calmness
Is It Possible to Overdose on Ativan?
Accidental overdose is also a risk factor. It is possible to overdose on Ativan when it is taken in high amounts. Some common symptoms associated with Ativan overdose may include:
- Low blood pressure
- Inability to stay awake
- Loss of coordination
- Mental confusion
- Slurred speech
- Low respiratory rate
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of consciousness
When someone takes it in very high amounts or combines it with other drugs, even death is possible.
How Long Does Ativan Stay in the System?
After a person uses Ativan, it takes about 2 hours to feel its full effects. The average half-life of Ativan is around 12 hours. It can take 10-20 hours or even more to eliminate it from the body completely. A number of factors can determine how long Ativan will stay in the system, such as:
- Age, weight, and height of the user
- Gender of the user
- The genetic disposition of the user
- The overall health of the user
The half-life and thus staying time are different for different benzodiazepines.
Common Ativan Drug Combinations
People often combine Ativan with other drugs to achieve a better and long-lasting high. Some of the drugs commonly taken in combination with Ativan are:
- Amphetamines: Ativan is a depressant, while amphetamines are stimulants. So both drugs produce opposing effects.
- Cocaine: Cocaine is also a stimulant and is used in combination with Ativan for the same reason as amphetamines are used. Ativan opposes the stimulant effects of cocaine.
- Methadone: Methadone is a painkiller, and people often combine it with Ativan to boost its pain-relieving action.
- Alcohol: Combining alcohol and Ativan produces a quicker and stronger high. However, both alcohol and Ativan are central nervous system depressants, so combining these both can be fatal since body and brain activities can be depressed to dangerous levels.
Combining Ativan with other drugs can be dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. The risk of overdosing is also increased, which may lead to unconsciousness, coma, and even death.
Seek Treatment at Addiction Rehab Centers
At Addiction Rehab Centers, we recognize the dangers of Ativan addiction, but we also know that healing is possible. We offer a variety of treatment options for substance use at our Ativan addiction treatment program. To learn more, please contact Addiction Rehab Centers at 844.910.0686.