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Ativan is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety for a relatively short period of time and can be very addicting if misused.

Ativan Addiction And Abuse

Ativan, the brand name of the generic drug Lorazepam, calms the central nervous system to soothe feelings of anxiety. It is a prescribed drug taken orally that is capable of causing addiction, especially in those with a history of other disorders. Ativan is classified as a Benzodiazepine, or Benzo. Similar to other Benzos, like Valium, this substance loses its medicinal purposes if it is taken for longer periods of time or in too high doses.

Proper Ativan Use

Ativan is most known for treating anxiety, but can also be used to treat the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Epilepsy
  • Depression
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Withdrawal symptoms of alcohol detox
  • Nausea from cancer treatments

Ativan has also been known to be taken before surgery to reduce the anxiety surgery might bring. In extreme and emergency cases, Lorazepam is injected for those suffering from an epileptic seizure.

Children should not take the drug as it might cause the opposite of its intended purpose. When older adults take the drug, intense side effects may be experienced. Therefore, older adults and the elderly should be cautious. You should not take Lorazepam or Ativan if you are allergic to Xanax, Clonzaepam, or Diazepam.

Misusing Ativan can cause uncomfortable physical symptoms but can also impact your mental health and finances. You may find yourself withdrawing from friends and family and also incurring expenses from visiting doctors to retrieve more doses of the drug. If you frequently find yourself in this type of situation, you may have an addiction to the substance.

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Effects Of Ativan Addiction

Depending on the level of addiction, Ativan can have mild to more severe side effects.

Mild side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Heartburn

More serious symptoms might indicate an addiction that will require treatment. These symptoms include:

  • Yellowing eyes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Am I Addicted To Ativan?

If one’s anxiety is gone but they continue to take Ativan, they may be abusing it for the euphoric feelings it brings rather than to cancel out previous natural symptoms. If any of the following behaviors are present, an individual may have developed an addiction to the substance.

  • Taking larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
  • A persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use.
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain, use or recover from the effects of use.
  • Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use.
  • Use results in a failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Continuing to use despite having social or interpersonal problems.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.
  • Use occurs in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  • Use continues despite knowledge of a physical or psychological problem that is caused.
  • A tolerance, or a need for increased amounts to achieve intoxication or the desired effect, has developed.

Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Selling or giving away Ativan is against the law.

Popular Drug Combinations With Ativan

Ativan’s effects may wear off if its use is prolonged. Typically, those addicted to this substance want to feel its effects from the first time they tried it and may mix other drugs in order to bring back the feelings Ativan promotes.

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Some popular drugs mixed with Ativan include:


Mixing alcohol and Ativan can be very dangerous. It can cause impaired memory and coordination leading to irrational choices one may be unable to remember. The combination causes slow and difficult breathing, potentially leading to overdose and death. Effects of mixing Ativan and alcohol include:

  • Reduced coordination
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss, or blacking out
  • Passing out
  • Slurred speech


Mixing Antihistamines and Ativan can bring about the depressant activity of Ativan and induce sleep much more rapidly. Combining this substance with antihistamines results in increased dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination.

Cough Syrups

Cough syrup, specifically ones that contain the chemical dextromethorphan, mixed with Ativan can cause severe drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. The elderly are also at greater risk or impaired thinking, judgement and motor coordination


Cocaine brings about an elevated mood and intense energy. When taken with a depressant such as Ativan, extreme and unpredictable side-effects can result. The euphoric high resulting from cocaine use does not last very long and is generally followed by a “crash.” During this crash, the user will generally feel fatigued, depressed, hungry, and physically and mentally sluggish. These feelings may encourage users to either want to use more cocaine, often in a pattern of binging, or the subsequent crash may entice a person to take benzos, such as Ativan, to smooth-out the side-effects of the crash.

Seeking Treatment For An Ativan Addiction

Many treatment centers specialize in Ativan and other Benzodiazepine addiction and can help you get back to the life you deserve. Detoxing from the substance followed by inpatient rehabilitation can help to treat the root cause of an Ativan addiction. Successful treatment can decrease the risk for relapse. If you want to end your dependency on Ativan, take the first step to recovery by seeking help. Contact a treatment provider today.

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