Ativan (generic Lorazepam) is a fast acting drug people use as a short-term treatment solution for anxiety. Doctors do not recommend it for long-term use due to its potential for addiction. It is one of the most potent Schedule IV drugs available on the market.
The DEA has five drug Classifications (Schedules). They base it on their medical usability and their risk of abuse. The DEA define a Schedule IV drug as “Low risk for abuse”. This is when you compare it to Schedule II (high risk) and Schedule III (less risk than II).” This Classification of IV can be misleading due to the ease of becoming an addict. Any drug can become addictive if you misuse it. Therefore, Ativan is no different.
The Classifications of Drugs
Schedule-one: Illegal-No medical use: Heroin, LSD, etc.
Schedule-two: Medical use-High risk: Oxycontin, Dilaudid
Schedule-three: Medical use-Less risk: Tylenol with Codeine
Schedule-four: Medical use-Low risk: Xanax, Valium, Ativan
Schedule-five: Medical use-Almost no risk: Robitussin AC, Phenergan with Codeine
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What is Ativan Addiction?
Ativan addiction occurs when people raise the tolerance level to excessive continuous use. This is because the dosage of prescription no longer works. The patient then feels the urge to take more and more just to function in a “normal” state. They become compulsive and regardless of the repercussions. As a result, getting the drug becomes the most important thing in their life.
What are the Signs of Ativan Addiction?
How do you know if your loved one is an addict? There are signs. Ask yourself the following questions. Any “yes” answers could be a sign of addiction.
- Cravings- Is taking a pill their first thought in the morning when they wake up?
- Have commitments and obligations lost their importance?
- Things that used to be important just aren’t anymore?
- Are they choosing to be alone more and more?
- Is their money going to pills now instead of bills?
- Do they need one pill almost immediately after another one?
- Do they run out of the pills before the refill date?
And more seriously, are they doing the following?
- Displaying loss of memory?
- Having seizures?
- Having respiratory difficulties?
What are the Dangers of Ativan Addiction?
Even if Ativan is in the Schedule IV of DEA, you still must take it with caution. Furthermore, you should do it with your physician knowledge. The doctor should know all the other medications that you are taking including the OTC (Over the Counter) drugs. This also includes the vitamin supplements. There may not be an allergic reaction to the Ativan drug itself. However, the inactive ingredients can cause dangerous side effects.
You should follow your doctor’s directions for taking the medication the proper length of time. Also, you shouldn’t stop taking it abruptly. This is because doing so can cause severe physical and mental withdrawals.
Long-term use of Ativan has shown to cause many mental problems. They include remembering, difficulty with learning new things, focusing/concentrating, and making decisions affecting everyday life. This impairment from an extended use can range from mild to severe and can be permanent. Furthermore, it can even happen after you stopped taking the drug.
How to do you Handle the Situation With Ativan Addiction?
The reality has set in. There is no more guessing, no more making excuses, and no more enabling. Your loved one is in trouble! And this is your test. You can’t afford to panic as all hope isn’t lost. Luckily, there are certain steps you can take. This way, you can stop thingsbefore they take a turn for the worse.
You can stage an intervention. Create your own group. Surround them with loved ones and above all, have an intervention specialist on your side. Getting professional help is the wisest thing you can do. Also, plan carefully. You will need to prepare for anger, denial, and anything else you can think of that they may exhibit. Of course, you cannot control or predict how they will react. Anything can happen when they realize that an intervention is taking place.
The intervention specialist will be educating everyone on the perils of addiction and addiction recovery. You will need this knowledge as well as compassion.
The addicted person may not see how their actions are affecting other members of the family and their friends. This is because the chemicals in the brain have changed. By advising the addict of these hurts, they may have an epiphany of what has been happening.
Pick a time and a place. They should not feel threats from their surroundings. Putting the addict at ease is extremely important. You don’t want them to feel boxed in or backed into a corner. If at all possible, it should take place at a time when the addict is sober.
You should set the expectations along with goals for recovery for the addict to meet after the intervention. In addition, they must know they will be held accountable if they do not continue with the treatment. They call it “Tough Love”. Also, those staging the intervention must be strong and consistent in carrying out what they have described as consequences.
Remember, your loved one has to get to the place where they can admit that they have a problem. That is their first step!
It is important to remember also, that addiction is not just physical. The mental effect can seem more intense than the physical addiction. They are afraid. In addition, they may feel overwhelmed, ashamed, guilty and at times, hopeless, thinking they’ll never recover. This is where the intervention specialist comes in. Follow their lead.
Rehab is the next step. Once there, the professionals will take over their recovery. It is imperative that family members follow their instructions to the letter. A lapse on their part could create a relapse on the part of the addict.
This can be an outpatient rehab. On the other hand, the person might have to stay in a more sophisticated facility during the process. Of course, it depends on the severity of addiction.
At the same time, they can also get professional help to kick the addiction. However, in severe cases, you might have to find an Ativan rehabilitation center.
Ultimately, you must be aware of the signs and take action as soon as you notice the changes. An early intervention and a timely rehab might just save your loved one’s life. Remember, Ativan overdose is a medical emergency. Therefore, it can result in death if instant they don’t get quick treatment.