Choosing the Best Inpatient Lorazepam Addiction Rehab Center

Last updated: 04/7/2022
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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Lorazepam (Ativan) is a benzodiazepine medication commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorder and insomnia. Lorazepam can be habit-forming, and chronic misuse can lead to addiction.1 If you or someone you love is struggling with lorazepam addiction, an inpatient lorazepam rehab center can help.

How Addictive is Lorazepam?

Lorazepam is a Schedule IV controlled substance per the Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning it has a low potential for abuse and risk of dependence. Lorazepam treats anxiety by enhancing the effects of the naturally occurring chemical gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) in the brain. The medicine is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that slows down the nervous system, which allows for relaxation.1 It is a sedative-hypnotic that can induce calm and sleep.2

Lorazepam is not meant to be taken long-term. It has only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for short-term anxiety relief amounting to about four months.2 The brain and body can quickly become dependent on lorazepam; as such, if you take it regularly for three to four weeks, you will likely develop dependence. Lorazepam dependence can lead to addiction if you continue taking higher doses or take the drug in a way other than prescribed or intended.3

Lorazepam side effects include dizziness or confusion, low blood pressure, and sedation or weakness.1-2 Serious side effects may occur with increased or prolonged use, including respiratory complications, seizures, and irregular heartbeat. 1

What is an Inpatient Lorazepam Rehab?

Inpatient lorazepam addiction rehab occurs in a residential facility where you reside 24/7 for a specific period, usually ranging from 30 to 90 days. Long-term residential facilities that host patients for six months to a year or longer are also an option.4

Inpatient lorazepam addiction centers may offer a variety of treatment options and interventions. Each treatment center is unique and may offer different services and approaches depending on the rehab’s philosophy. Some common therapies and interventions provided at inpatient lorazepam rehab centers include:3,4,5

  • Medical detox—Suddenly stopping lorazepam after one to six months of use can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, medically assisted detox is recommended to help reduce withdrawal symptoms in their severity and duration and make you more comfortable throughout the detox process. In addition, your lorazepam dose can be gradually reduced under a doctor’s guidance, and you can be monitored for complications.
  • Individual counseling—A variety of individual therapies may be offered at an inpatient lorazepam treatment center to help you address your substance use and any co-occurring mental health conditions you may have. Some common therapies that may be offered include:
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
    • Motivational interviewing
    • Contingency management (rewards and vouchers)
    • Mindfulness-based interventions
  • Group counseling—Group therapy is typically a daily event at most inpatient rehab centers. Group therapy provides you with the support of peers and your therapist to help you develop coping skills to manage your lorazepam addiction.
  • Family therapy—Some inpatient rehab centers may offer family therapy and allow your family to come to the rehab center to participate in counseling. Family therapy helps you address any family dynamics that may contribute to your substance use. It also can help your family members learn ways to support you in recovery.
  • 12-step programs and peer-support groups—Inpatient rehab centers typically offer 12-step and other peer support programs to encourage you to continue recovery.
  • Holistic and alternative therapies—Some inpatient rehab centers offer holistic and alternative therapies to treat lorazepam addiction, such as:
    • Yoga and meditation
    • Nutritional counseling
    • Massage and spa treatments
    • Acupuncture
    • Spiritual and religious services
    • Biofeedback
    • Reiki

Further, some inpatient rehab centers may offer a harm reduction model rather than enforcing abstinence. Those with a high risk of harm or relapse may be given a long-acting benzodiazepine medication while undergoing behavioral and holistic therapies. The dosage can be gradually reduced over time. Patients may be weaned off the drug slowly or may stay on a maintenance dose long-term in some cases.

Co-Occurring Anxiety and Lorazepam Addiction

According to the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), around 15% of individuals with anxiety disorders also had a substance use disorder (SUD) within the last year.5 Lorazepam addiction and anxiety disorders often co-occur in what is termed a dual diagnosis. Inpatient rehab is always recommended as the best treatment option for people with a dual diagnosis.

People may be prescribed lorazepam for anxiety or panic attacks and become dependent on the medication and develop an addiction. Others may take lorazepam illegally as a means of self-medicating for anxiety symptoms and end up developing an addiction as well.5

For lorazepam addiction treatment to be effective, it is essential to address anxiety or other mental health conditions alongside addiction. While therapeutic treatment and the structure provided in inpatient rehab are often key in treating dual diagnoses, you may still need medication to treat your anxiety, as well. In such cases, your doctor may switch you to a long-acting benzodiazepine such as clonazepam or diazepam.3 You may also be given a non-addictive anxiety medication such as paroxetine (Paxil) or other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Buspirone (Buspar) is also a non-habit-forming medication to relieve anxiety.5

Benefits of Inpatient Care

There are many benefits to receiving lorazepam addiction treatment at an inpatient facility rather than an outpatient center or physician’s office. These benefits include:3,4

  • Medically assisted detox
  • Being separated from the environment where you may be triggered to use substances
  • 24/7 care and support
  • Peaceful environment dedicated to recovery
  • Highly structured care
  • A significant amount of time to focus exclusively on yourself and your recovery
  • Multiple treatment options and services available
  • Peer support

Do I Need Inpatient Lorazepam Rehab?

Lorazepam inpatient rehab is not for everyone. Inpatient treatment is most appropriate for those with the following conditions or situations:3,4,5

  • Concurrent alcohol use
  • Polysubstance misuse
  • Co-occurring mental health or medical conditions
  • History of withdrawal attempts
  • History of seizures
  • Lack of support at home
  • Preference for routine and structure
  • Financial ability to pay for treatment
  • Ability to remain in the facility for months at a time, away from personal or professional responsibilities

How to Choose an Inpatient Lorazepam Rehab

Various forms of inpatient treatment programs treat lorazepam abuse and addiction. Choosing which facility is best for you can be challenging. It is best to research and find a treatment center that meets your unique needs, priorities, and preferences. Some factors you may want to consider when making your decision include:

  • Treatment location and setting—Would you like a treatment center close to home, or are you okay with traveling a certain distance if the treatment center meets your other needs and preferences? Would you prefer a treatment center near the beach, mountains, or forest, or are you okay with a treatment center in the city?
  • Target demographic—Some inpatient facilities are geared toward certain groups of people, including LGBTQ+, teenagers, or veterans.
  • Visitation policy—Some inpatient treatment centers may allow occasional visits from family members, while others may not allow visitation during your rehab stay. If visitors are vital to you, you may wish to find a treatment center that will allow visitors.
  • Duration of treatment—Check in with the duration of treatment offered and see if it meets your needs. If you would like to stay 90 days, make sure that the facility you choose has a 90-day treatment plan available.
  • Amenities and features—Each treatment center offers unique amenities and features. You may wish to research various facilities and find a treatment center that provides the amenities and features most important to you.
  • Treatment center philosophy—Each facility has its own philosophy and treatment approach. Some treatment centers may have a religious affiliation, whereas others may have another treatment philosophy in which they operate.
  • Staff credentials—Look into the credentials of the treatment center staff. Ideally, you will be given access to a wide range of providers including, but not limited to:
    • Doctors
    • Physician assistants
    • Nurses
    • Nursing assistants
    • Counselors
    • Psychiatrists
    • Psychologists
    • Social workers
    • Nutritionists
    • Massage therapists
    • Acupuncturists
  • Program accreditations—Check the accreditations of the facilities you are considering attending. Accreditations can help ensure that you receive a certain quality or standard of care.
  • Program rules—Each treatment center will have its own rules you have to follow during treatment. You should read through these carefully and make sure they align with your treatment goals and preferences.

If you or someone you love is struggling with lorazepam misuse or addiction, you are not alone. To find more information about treatment options, call (800) 662-HELP (4357) to speak with an addiction treatment specialist about inpatient rehab centers near you.

Resources

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, April 15). Lorazepam.
  2. Ghiasi, N., Bhansali, R., & Marwaha, R. (2022, February 7). StatPearls.
  3. Brett, J. & Murnion, B. (2015, October 1). Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. Australian Prescriber, 38(5): 152-155.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide. Third Edition.
  5. McHugh, R. (2016, March 1). Treatment of Co-occurring Anxiety Disorders and Substance Use Disorders. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 23(2): 99-111.

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