Ativan is a benzodiazepine often prescribed for anxiety.
While it is effective in its ability to treat this condition, nonmedical use of the drug can result in a physical and psychological dependence on it. Unfortunately, the original anxiety issue is often exacerbated by the issue of addiction and the associated problems that develop as a result.
With a growing number of people using the prescription drug Ativan to help cope with stress, anxiety and sleep disorders, there is a correlating number of men and women developing an addiction. The National Institutes of Health report that a survey completed in 2010 showed that about 16 million Americans abused a prescription medication in the year prior and seven million Americans abused a prescription drug in the month prior to the survey.
Trying to stop the progress of an addiction without professional help is extremely difficult; treatment programs have been proven highly effective in helping patients to regain control over their lives.
If you believe that you have developed a dependence upon your prescription or that someone you care about is addicted, don’t wait to seek drug addiction treatment. Finding the right rehab for you can be the first step toward a new life without drug addiction. Call today.
What Is Ativan?
Ativan is the brand name for the generic drug, Lorazepam. Classified as a benzodiazepine, it’s usually prescribed to those who suffer from anxiety disorders like panic attacks or anxiety related to depression. It works by slowing down the activity of the chemicals in the brain that cause anxiety, according to Medline Plus. This creates lower nervous tension or anxiety and even sedation in the patient, a feeling that can bring a huge amount of relief to patients living with chronic anxiety – and a feeling that can be highly addictive.
Other benzodiazepine drugs that are commonly prescribed for anxiety include Xanax, Librium, Tranxene, Valium and Sera.
These drugs, too, are highly addictive and may require that you enter residential rehab if a physical and psychological dependence develops.
Risks of Abuse
One of the most significant problems associated with Ativan is the often rapid and unexpected development of addiction after long-term or nonmedical use. In a relatively short period of time, use can quickly cause a physical dependence upon the drug and if this is followed by nonmedical abuse of the medication or augmentation with other substances, addiction can soon follow.
A surprising fact to many patients is that dependence can develop even with a legitimate prescription for the drug that is followed to the letter. Many who view their actions in relation to Ativan as simply following doctors orders can still end up developing a dependence upon the drug as well as experiencing a number of side effects.
According to PubMed Health, these include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Extreme drowsiness
- Blurry vision
- Loss of inhibitions
- Abdominal pain
- Depressed mood
If the side effects become too severe and/or the development of a physical and psychological dependence makes it impossible to stop abusing the drug alone, the safest way to break free from dependence is to enroll in a rehab that provides the medical care and counseling necessary to heal.
Risks of Addiction
Ativan addiction threatens your mental health, your physical health, the well-being of your relationships, your status at work and in the community, and your hopes and dreams. Those who fall victim to it — even those who do so through no fault of their own — quickly find that the habit takes precedence over everything else. All your best intentions fall to the wayside when the drug takes over. Its effect on the brain and will is overpowering and the changes it makes to the pleasure pathway and chemicals in the brain means that the longer you remain actively addicted, the more likely the damage will be long term.
Also, no matter how long you have been taking it, overdose is always a risk when addiction is present.
NOTE: The National Library of Medicine
advises that those who believe that they or someone they care about has overdosed should call 911 immediately.
It is important that if you recognize yourself to be an addict that you get help immediately at a rehab.
Who Needs Treatment?
An Ativan rehab program is an appropriate choice for anyone who has developed an addiction to their prescription anti-anxiety medication. However, it’s not always easy to self-diagnose Ativan addiction or recognize the signs of prescription drug addiction in a loved one.
Here are some of the most common signs, according to the National Institutes of Health:
- Tolerance. Over time, it takes more and more to achieve the desired depressant effect. This is a sign of a physical dependence.
- Withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the patient stops taking it and begins to experience effects such as irritability, sleeplessness, nausea, depression, muscle aches and other uncomfortable conditions. These are further signs of physical dependence.
- Cravings. Psychological dependence is defined by cravings, the urge to take more pills before it’s time or the desire to take a larger dose than prescribed.
- Work or school performance issues. Often, an addiction will lead to poor performance at work or school. This occurs because the patient is either under the influence of the drug (and is therefore drowsy and unfocused) or because they have put the pursuit of more and more of pills ahead of everything else in their life.
- Financial problems. It is not inexpensive, and the cost of buying more and more pills adds up. Additionally, many find it difficult to work and make money while under the influence.
In general, anyone who is using the prescription NOT as prescribed by a doctor and feels as if quitting will bring them discomfort or harm needs the psychological and physical treatment programs.
What to Expect at Rehab
Drug detox is the first step in every recovery program. Detox is the period of time in which the patient with an addiction halts use and goes through the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms that result. The detox period can be very difficult because of the physical discomfort and the intense drive to seek out and use it in order to make the symptoms subside.
After the physical dependence has been conquered in detox, the psychological dependence on the drug is dealt with through a combination of talk therapy approaches. Each rehab offers slightly different counseling options, depending on the program. Most treatment centers will offer individual, group and family therapy options, depending on the individual needs of each patient.
Aftercare provides continued support to patients recovering from an addiction after the intensive daily treatment phase is complete. Aftercare may come in the form of sober living facilities, support groups, on-going counseling and/or 12-step meetings. These programs assist an individual in maintaining sobriety by providing a transition from life at a rehabilitation center back to normal life in the “real world.”
Aftercare offers frequent reminders of why an individual got sober, helps in the continued use of healthy coping skills, and provides a safe place to go if someone feels they are at risk of a relapse.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), when a patient enrolls in a program that includes all of these options, their chances for a successful recovery after addiction improve significantly.
Rehab is the only safe and effective way to stop abusing it once addiction has set in. Because most patients experience underlying psychological issues or residual grief and anger due to trauma, it should address far more than the physical issues related to dependence upon the drug.
According to NIDA, some of the benefits that patients can expect to experience at a reputable, effective treatment program include:
- Experienced Staff Rehab programs have professional staff who know the ins and outs of drug addiction. They are experienced in supporting individuals through a successful completion of Ativan detox and guiding them as they experience difficulties and rough spots during psychological addiction treatment.
- Safe Environment. Medical staff members are present to monitor the physical and emotional status of the individual during withdrawal and stand by to provide any necessary interventions for their health and/or safety both during detox and after. Additionally, staff members are available around the clock to protect patients from relapse.
- Medical Intervention. There are a variety of medications that help patients in detox by easing the discomfort of withdrawal. If co-occurring mental health issues are a problem, medical professionals who are certified in the dispensation of psychiatric medications are on hand to provide ongoing monitoring and update dosages.
- Privacy. In a rehab facility, there is no access to the people and places that supported the addiction. The patient is free of temptation and better able to focus completely on the goal of sobriety knowing that anything he or she shares during treatment will be protected by doctor-patient confidentiality.
- Identifying Triggers. Counseling helps patients to look closely at their patterns of Ativan abuse and figure out what emotions or events drive their needs to use. Once triggers are identified, a plan to avoid or deal with them in a healthy manner can be developed.
- Coping Skills. The use of Ativan to achieve relaxation is a harmful coping mechanism for the stresses of daily life. Therapy can assist the patient in developing new strategies to cope with the inevitable difficulties life may send their way in the future.
- Support Network. Group therapy gives patients the opportunity to make connections with individuals going through the same issues. It is a place where patients recovering from Ativan addiction can support one another, a skill that can be invaluable to preventing relapse both during rehab and after.
What Types of Ativan Rehab Are Available?
There are a few different types of rehab to choose from and, depending upon the patient’s needs in addiction treatment, one may be more or less appropriate.
- Residential. These programs provide the patient with full-time care that includes round-the-clock medical treatment, support, and guidance. These programs often last one month or longer, depending upon the seriousness of the individual’s condition.
- Outpatient. With outpatient rehab, patients attend treatment (usually counseling and classes) during the day, but then return home in the evening. These programs are designed for those with less serious addiction issues and those who are unable to put their lives on hold in order to enter into a residential drug rehab program.
- Holistic. With overall wellness as a goal, holistic programs help men and women enhance the mind-body-spirit connection while undergoing treatment. This is accomplished through yoga, meditation and other Eastern practices designed to help the individual shut out stress and distraction – and focus more clearly on the primary goal of recovery.
- Traditional. Traditional rehabilitative care is based upon the 12 steps and traditions, and focuses on recovery through peer guidance, honesty and group therapy.
- Natural. Employed during the detox period, this option doesn’t use any medications to help patients fight physical dependence while a medical detox utilizes pharmacological assistance to help mitigate the experience of withdrawal symptoms.
How Do I Know Which Type of Rehab Is Right for Me?
Deciding upon the right type of rehab for you starts with first knowing what is out there and then having a discussion with a medical professional you trust. This could be your doctor, a therapist, a counselor or a referral agency. If they don’t already know, let them know the dose you are currently at, how long you have been taking the drug, and if you are supplementing with other drugs, including alcohol.
If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you miss a dose or try to stop taking it on your own, this is an important fact to mention. This signifies a physical dependence upon the drug and it is recommended that you choose an treatment that includes a medical detox.
The search for a program that will work for your needs starts with a single phone call.
Contact us at the number listed above and learn about your options or allow our counselors to help you choose the right program for you. Call now.
How Do I Pay for Recovery?
If you have a health insurance policy, chances are that at least part of your bill will be covered. Check with your HR rep or insurance agent for details. If not, ask about payment plans or call a referral agency for information on local scholarship programs. You’ll be surprised what’s available to you.