Ativan (Lorazepam) Abuse

Learn all about the signs and treatment of Ativan abuse in the following article.

Understanding Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan, or lorazepam, is a prescription medication to treat anxiety disorders. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which are central nervous system depressants. Since Ativan has a high potential for abuse and addiction, it should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Despite these risks, Ativan is often abused for its euphoric effects. If you or someone you know is abusing Ativan, please seek help immediately.

Prescription drug abuse is a public health crisis in the United States. Benzodiazepines, including Ativan, account for 29.4% of prescription drug abuse. Approximately 4.8 million Americans 12 and older abuse benzodiazepines each year. 1

Ativan Abuse


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What Is Ativan?

Ativan is a prescription drug within the family of benzodiazepines. Lorazepam Ativan is approved to treat sleep issues due to anxiety or stress, insomnia, and continuous seizures. Ativan is also used to treat the uncomfortable and possibly life-threatening symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.2

Ativan Generic

The generic form of Ativan is called lorazepam. Lorazepam and Ativan are very similar prescription drugs that work similarly. Typically, the generic medicine is a less expensive version of the brand-name drug, Ativan.2

What Does Ativan Do?

Benzodiazepines like Ativan work quickly to provide a calming and sedative effect. This fast-acting prescription drug generally takes effect within thirty minutes to one hour for immediate relief. Ativan impacts neurotransmitters in the brain and slows down the CNS or central nervous system.3

How Addictive is Ativan?

Since Ativan and other benzodiazepines are highly addictive and habit-forming, they’re usually only prescribed for short-term use. If a person continues taking Ativan, they’ll require more of the drug to feel the same effect (tolerance). The human brain reacts to Ativan similarly to alcohol.3

Ativan Abuse Symptoms and Signs

Since lorazepam is habit-forming and addictive, it’s critical to familiarize yourself with the standard warning signs of Ativan abuse. The following sections will describe typical Ativan overdose and Ativan abuse symptoms. 

Common Signs of Ativan Abuse

Ativan drug abuse signs can appear physical, psychological, and behavioral. Risky behaviors, neglecting responsibilities, and legal issues can be signs of Ativan abuse or addiction.4

Physical and Psychological Symptoms

Physical warning signs of Ativan abuse include bloodshot eyes, changes in appetite, altered physical appearance, unusual sleep patterns, and impaired coordination. Additional physiological signs of Ativan abuse to look for are sudden mood swings, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, and personality changes.4

Behavioral Symptoms

Poor performance at work or school, secretive or suspicious behavior, and sudden changes in friends can be behavioral signs of Ativan drug abuse. Behavioral symptoms can also include neglected hobbies or social activities.4

Warning Signs of Ativan Abuse

If you or someone you care about has problems at school, work, home, or in relationships, this can be a warning sign of Ativan drug abuse. Isolation, guilt, and shame are also warning signs of drug abuse.4

Ativan Overdose Symptoms

Ativan drug abuse overdose signs include impaired coordination, confusion, slow reflexes, death, and coma. If you or someone you know is displaying overdose symptoms, call emergency services immediately. Immediate medical attention can save a person’s life. 

Side Effects of Ativan Abuse

As with any prescription drug, it’s crucial to be aware of common and rare side effects. If you experience problematic side effects due to substance abuse, contact your healthcare provider immediately for professional guidance and treatment options.

Typical side effects of individuals struggling with Ativan addiction can include dizziness, fatigue, impaired coordination, and a decreased ability to concentrate.5

Rare and severe side effects of Ativan addiction are increased heart rate, sleep-driving, depression, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Ativan (Lorazepam) Withdrawal

Ativan abuse symptoms can be physical and psychological. Lorazepam withdrawal symptoms occur when doses are reduced or stopped completely.6
Ativan Abuse

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan withdrawal signs include hyperactivity, seizures, anxiety, and insomnia.5 Additional Ativan withdrawal symptoms are depersonalization, depression, physical tremors, and sleep disturbances. In rare situations, withdrawal symptoms from Ativan can cause convulsions or psychosis.6

Timeline of Ativan Withdrawal

For individuals overcoming the effects of Ativan abuse or overuse, withdrawals can begin in as little as 24 hours and last approximately 10 to 14 days. If a person discontinues their usual dose of Ativan, the withdrawal timeline may be shorter at around one to four days. Physicians usually taper individuals off prescription drugs to avoid uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.7

Withdrawal Medications

Benzodiazepines, including Ativan, are commonly used to assist individuals with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Physicians can prescribe alternative benzodiazepines such as Diazepam.8

Ativan Abuse Treatment

Unfortunately, Ativan (lorazepam) is widely abused as an illicit drug. Ativan abuse effects can be debilitating and negatively impact all aspects of a person’s life. To overcome lorazepam side effects, it’s critical to understand the Ativan abuse signs to look for. If you or a loved one is struggling with Ativan abuse side effects, Ativan addiction treatment is an effective solution. It’s never too late to seek treatment and begin the pathway to healing!

Ativan Addiction Treatment Program at Concise Recovery

People struggling with addiction deserve healing, compassion, and individualized treatment plans. Concise Recovery utilizes evidence-based therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), to help individuals overcome their addictions. Professional detoxification, residential inpatient, and outpatient counseling programs are available at Concise Recovery in Los Angeles, California. 

Take the First Step

To learn more about the next steps and enroll in treatment for Ativan addiction, contact our friendly admissions team for immediate assistance. In most cases, Concise Recovery can offer clients same-day treatment admissions.