Finding Treatment for Lorazepam Addiction

By The Fix staff 05/02/19

Are you looking for lorazepam addiction treatment? Our guide can help you find the treatment you need.

lorazepam addiction treatment

Table of Contents

1. What is Lorazepam and What is it Used For?
2. Other Names for Lorazepam
3. Lorazepam Side Effects
4. Lorazepam Overdose
5. Lorazepam Addiction
6. Symptoms of Lorazepam Addiction
7. Lorazepam Withdrawal Effects and Detox
8. Lorazepam Addiction Treatment

Lorazepam is a prescription drug that doctors prescribe primarily as a treatment for anxiety. Its purpose is to provide relaxation. While this drug can be beneficial, it also comes with risk. The problem is that it can be habit-forming, which creates a high risk that it will lead to lorazepam abuse and addiction.

This drug can cause withdrawal symptoms, so it’s a good idea to stop its use with the help of medical professionals. If you need assistance, a detox and rehab program can help your body and mind adjust to no longer receiving the drug. A high-quality, customized treatment program may help you recover and change your life for the better.

What is Lorazepam and What is it Used For?

Lorazepam is in the drug class of benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos. These drugs are tranquilizers that provide a sedative effect. Like other benzodiazepines, Lorazepam depresses the central nervous system. It slows the brain’s activity to provide a calming effect, with the intention of relieving anxiety. Lorazepam comes in tablet, injection and liquid concentrate forms.

This medication is used to help the various difficult symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which features a higher than normal level of anxiety or worry for six months or longer. This disorder is also characterized by irritability, fatigue, trouble concentrating and other symptoms.

While this drug is mainly prescribed to treat anxiety, it is also used for other health conditions and situations. These include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia or other sleep difficulties
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment
  • Pre-anesthesia medication

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to people, and Lorazepam is included in the top five most prescribed of this type of drug.

Other Names for Lorazepam

Lorazepam is the generic name for this drug. The main brand names are Ativan and Lorazepam Intensol. Nonetheless, Lorazepam is also sold illicitly and is not always referred to as its generic or brand names. You might instead hear Lorazepam called by its street names, which include:

  • Benzos
  • Downers
  • Tranqs/tranks
  • Nerve pills

Lorazepam Side Effects

The use of Lorazepam may come with a long list of potential side effects. Some of the most serious side effects are cause for seeking immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • A consistent tremor
  • Inability to sit still
  • A shuffling walk
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • A severe skin rash

This drug can also cause other side effects that are considered serious if you experience them at a severe level or if they persist. These include:

  • Feeling dizzy, drowsy, tired or weak
  • Feeling restless
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or sex drive
  • Difficult or frequent urination
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision

If you experience any of these or other side effects while taking Lorazepam, you should talk to your doctor.

In addition, various dangerous side effects can occur from taking Lorazepam along with other types of prescription medicines or other substances. Combining Lorazepam with various medications has the potential to cause sedation, coma or breathing problems that can become life-threatening. You should discuss any other medications you’re taking with your doctor before you take Lorazepam. Also, combining this drug with alcohol or other street drugs can lead to dangerous side effects.

Lorazepam Overdose

Taking Lorazepam also has the potential for overdose. A Lorazepam overdose comes with signs such as:

  • Seizures
  • Collapsing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Not waking up

If signs of overdose happen, call 911 immediately.

Lorazepam Addiction

An addiction to Lorazepam can start by first taking the drug legally according to a doctor’s prescription. Then you can become dependent on it and turn to illegal sources of obtaining more of the drug. It’s also possible to use this drug illicitly from the start. It’s sold illicitly for different purposes, including for the euphoric feeling it creates and for the intention of drugging someone to perform a sexual assault. Also, people often take Lorazepam with other substances either to enhance the effects or to counteract unwanted side effects, such as agitation that can come from using cocaine.

Lorazepam has a high risk of abuse. Its use can turn into drug misuse or Lorazepam abuse, meaning that you use the drug differently than its prescription use. For example, you might take higher doses than intended or continue finding the drug and using it after your prescription runs out.

Short-term use of up to four weeks has less of a risk of dependence, while ongoing use of this addictive drug can cause both physical and psychological dependence. One problem that can contribute to dependence is that the conditions this drug is used for, such as anxiety, tend to be ongoing rather than short-term. This may cause people to continue using the drug as a long-term way to manage their symptoms, encouraging the risk of dependence. In many cases, doctors extend the prescription and contribute to the risk.

When you continue to take lorazepam, your body can develop a tolerance to it. This results in needing to use more of the drug to continue getting the same effects. Your body can become accustomed to the prolonged use and high doses, so it becomes dependent on the drug. Once your body has adjusted to having the drug continuously in its system, you can experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to take it away. This means you are physically dependent on the drug, and you can also develop a psychological dependence. When you become addicted, your behaviors change as your life becomes centered on the drug use.

Symptoms of Lorazepam Addiction

It’s not always easy to tell if you’ve become addicted to a substance. The process can happen without you realizing it. Since this is a legal prescription drug, people don’t always take the addiction risk seriously. A main characteristic of addiction is continuing to use the drug even though it’s causing problems in your life.

You can determine whether you have become addicted if you’re noticing signs and symptoms of Lorazepam addiction. These include:

  • Being unable or unwilling to cut back or stop using Lorazepam
  • Needing higher doses to achieve the same effects
  • Feeling like you need Lorazepam to function
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut back or stop the drug use
  • Having difficulty keeping up with work, family and other responsibilities
  • Experiencing problems from the drug use, such as legal trouble and relationship strain
  • Using more of the drug than you intended
  • Focusing your life on the drug, using it and how to get more
  • Withdrawing from people and activities that you previously engaged in

You can also experience changes to your mental and physical health from the addiction. For example, you could experience quick weight, appetite and mood changes.

Lorazepam Withdrawal Effects and Detox

Even if you’re taking Lorazepam as directed by your prescription, stopping its use can cause withdrawal symptoms. Because of this, it’s not recommended that you stop using it suddenly but instead that you work with your doctor.

Lorazepam withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Quick heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Changes in blood pressure

A detox program can help you safely and more comfortably get through the withdrawal period. Detox often acts as the first step of treatment before you enter a rehab program. During inpatient detox, you stay in a facility with round-the-clock monitoring and support. In many cases, you will also receive medication to manage symptoms of withdrawal. As an added benefit, staying in a detox facility keeps you away from the substance and triggers, to improve your chances of success with quitting.

Lorazepam Addiction Treatment

When you are ready for treatment for an addiction to lorazepam, you first need to stop using the medication. This is when entering a detox program or tapering down with your doctor is beneficial. Once the drug is out of your system and you have gotten past acute withdrawal symptoms, you can continue with rehab treatment. This type of treatment focuses on psychological dependence and the unhealthy behaviors you may have developed as part of the addiction.

Through individual therapy, group therapy and other approaches within rehab programs, you can explore how you became addicted and learn to change your thoughts, habits and behaviors. The goal of rehab is to help you change your lifestyle from one that’s focused on drug use to one that is healthy and sober.

Rehab can also help with co-occurring mental disorders, relationship problems that developed from the addiction and other associated concerns. Focusing on a mental disorder is particularly important in this case, because people with certain ones, such as anxiety and sleep disorders, are more likely to become addicted to benzodiazepines like Lorazepam. Also, it will be harder to stick with recovery if you treat the addiction but continue to have difficulty managing the mental disorder.

A customized treatment plan designed to fit your specific needs will be the most helpful. Also, many treatment programs include an aftercare component aimed to keep you on track with recovery. This can help prevent relapse.

There are different types of addiction treatment programs you can explore to find the right fit. Some people enter partial hospitalization or outpatient programs, which provide some flexibility and free time while guiding and supporting you to overcome the addiction. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) provides a more comprehensive treatment program that is likely to be more effective than a regular outpatient program. An IOP provides a similar level of support as an inpatient program, which is different because it involves living on-site during treatment.

Inpatient programs are generally the most supportive and comprehensive forms of treatment. By living at the facility, your full focus is on recovering, and you are separated from the substance and the triggers of your daily life. You also receive around-the-clock support and care. These facilities tend to include a broad range of services to support your mind, body and spirit, and you also gain a deeper level of peer support from the people living on-site and sharing the experience with you.

There are also less intensive forms of treatment, such as office visits with a professional or attending 12-step meetings. Many people need more support than what these and regular outpatient treatment offer. A common approach is to start with an intensive outpatient program or inpatient program and then to continue with one of the less-intensive forms of treatment. This can provide a better transition from rehab back to regular life, helping you prevent relapse and continue with recovery.

Lorazepam is an addictive drug, so the risk is high that you’ll become addicted, even if you are following your prescription. If your life has become focused on Ativan or other forms of Lorazepam, treatment can help you undo your dependence and change your behaviors to have a life free of addiction.

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