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Ativan is a medication that is often prescription to patients who suffer from anxiety symptoms such as panic attacks. The generic name of this medication is lorazepam which is part of a class of drugs defined by the DEA as a benzodiazepine. Although Ativan can be safely used for the treatment of anxiety, when the medication is taken in any manner other than prescribed there are great risks for addiction and subsequent consequences to occur.
The National Library of Medicine states that Ativan can safely be taken for a period of no more than 4 months unless properly prescribed by a doctor. Using the medication for a prolonged period of time, longer than 4 months, or taking Ativan without a prescription can be both dangerous and potentially deadly.
This medication is used to treat:
- Recurring epileptic seizures
- Insomnia or an inability to sleep through the night
- Stress, anxiety and nausea that is caused by the treatment of cancer
- Anxiety and agitation that is caused by early alcohol withdrawal
Signs of Ativan Abuse
Frequent use of Ativan with or without a prescription can be considered abuse. Early signs of Ativan abuse are often mistaken for other problems such as depression or illness. If you suspect that someone you love may be taking Ativan in an abusive manner, consider the following signs:
- Changes in appearance or a lack of desire to keep one’s self “put together”
- Changes in sex drive or ability to perform sexually
- Changes in the “need” for medication (a user may say he or she needs more of a medication)
- Losing medication or saying that medication was stolen
- Seeking other doctors to prescribe medication
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in ability to walk
- Changes in sleep schedule
If you yourself think you may be abusing Ativan, consider the following questions:
- Do you take Ativan that is not prescribed to you?
- Do you use Ativan to feel euphoric or otherwise happy?
- Do you use Ativan to help you socialize?
- Do you use Ativan despite consequences that have already occurred from such use?
- Do you take more Ativan than is prescribed to you?
Sustained use of this drug can lead to addiction. An addiction to a benzodiazepine such as Ativan may require long term treatment in a residential detox and treatment center. If you are addicted to Ativan, you will likely show the following signs:
- You have developed a tolerance to the drug and need more than you once did in order to produce the same effects.
- You suffer from seizures or other complications from Ativan but you continue to take the drug.
- You do not feel well, or you do not feel normal without Ativan.
- You think about Ativan all the time.
- You take Ativan more frequently than prescribed just to feel the effects of the drug.
- You would or you have lied, cheated, stolen or otherwise acted improperly in order to obtain Ativan.
- Despite problems that Ativan has caused at work, home or in school, you continue to use the drug.
Treatment of Ativan Addiction
Treatment of Ativan addiction will begin with detox in a controlled, medically monitored environment. Following the period spent in detox, the user will transition to residential treatment. Here, Ativan addiction is treated using a variety of techniques including skills enhancement, therapy, behavior modification, support and specialized care.
If you or someone you love is addicted to Ativan, consider professional treatment for help. It is not safe to detox or attempt to quit Ativan alone. Medical intervention, controlled treatment and quality care should be sought to ensure your safety and recovery.