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Ativan Addiction

Ativan is the brand name for a benzodiazepine medication called lorazepam. Lorazepam is primarily prescribed to treat seizure disorders like epilepsy, however, it may also be used to manage anxiety and panic. Ativan works by slowing down activity in your central nervous system to allow for relaxation.

While Ativan is effective in treating certain conditions, it is known to be addictive and habit-forming even when used as prescribed. Out of the 30.6 million people who use benzodiazepines in the United States, 17.2% of them abuse the substances.

Understanding how Ativan abuse can lead to addiction can help you identify when it’s time to seek professional help.

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Side-Effects of Ativan

Ativan is a fast-acting benzodiazepine, which means it begins to take effect quickly after it is consumed. This is why it is one of the optimal benzodiazepines for seizure and panic treatment. However, fast-acting benzodiazepines are often misused because they can provide a high that takes effect quickly.

Even if you are not abusing Ativan, it can cause an array of side effects, such as:

  • Drowsiness and dizziness
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Restlessness and excitement
  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in sex drive or ability

When a doctor prescribes Ativan, it is typically only for short-term use because the substance can lead to dependency when taken for a long period. Even if you are taking Ativan as prescribed, you can become physically dependent on it after long-term use.

If you or a loved one develop an addiction to Ativan, professional addiction treatment is necessary.

Can You Become Addicted to Ativan?

Ativan can be addictive. Addiction occurs when someone loses control over their drug use. If you are addicted to Ativan, you may be unable to regulate how often you use Ativan and begin to lose touch with your responsibilities due to your substance abuse. Once you are addicted to Ativan, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal upon suddenly stopping the use of it.

Symptoms of Ativan withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Insomnia or restlessness
  • Hand tremors and muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Hyperventilation
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hypersensitivity to light or sound
  • Abnormal bodily sensations like goosebumps or feeling as if your skin is crawling
  • Depression
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations
  • Detachment from reality
  • Delirium
  • Grand mal seizures

Because Ativan addiction can result in life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, you should always seek assistance from a medical detox center that can provide you with the necessary treatments to stabilize your condition.

Signs of Ativan Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one frequently use Ativan, you might be wondering how to tell if someone is addicted. The signs of Ativan addiction are similar to any type of benzodiazepine use disorder, however, they can be difficult to spot if you do not know what to look for.

Common signs of Ativan abuse and addiction include:

  • Running out of a prescription for Ativan too early
  • Going to multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription at a time
  • Stealing Ativan from friends or family member’s prescription bottles
  • Buying Ativan off of the street
  • Using more of the substance than intended by your doctor
  • Needing to increase the dosage of Ativan to experience the desired result (building a tolerance)
  • Experiencing uncontrollable urges to abuse Ativan
  • Dealing with withdrawal symptoms when you cannot use Ativan
  • Frequently thinking about, using, or recovering from the use of the drug
  • Neglecting your personal responsibilities to abuse Ativan
  • Socially isolating yourself from your friends and family
  • Getting into risky situations or legal troubles as a result of Ativan intoxication

If you experience the above-mentioned signs of Ativan abuse, you are likely suffering from a substance use disorder. One of the main risks of Ativan addiction is overdose, as your tolerance will increase and cause you to take larger doses of the substance. If someone you love is experiencing an Ativan overdose, you must contact emergency medical services immediately.

Find Help for Ativan Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one are addicted to Ativan or another type of benzodiazepine, it is time to seek professional help. Benzodiazepine addiction can cause an array of issues, including legal trouble, financial issues, health risks, and life-threatening emergencies like overdoses.

At Elevate Recovery, we can provide you with the tools and support necessary to gain long-term sobriety from Ativan. To learn more about our benzodiazepine rehab program, contact us today.

ativan addiction treatment


1. Medline Plus: Lorazepam, Retrieved June 2023 From

2. The National Library of Medicine: Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Adults in the United States, Retrieved June 2023 From

3. The National Library of Medicine: Challenges of the pharmacological management of benzodiazepine withdrawal, dependence, and discontinuation, Retrieved June 2023 From


Valerie Tecci, Program Director

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