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September 1, 2023

Ativan Addiction: Signs, Withdrawal, & Treatment

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Ativan addiction can occur if this prescription drug is misused or abused for an extended period of time. Ativan, a fast-acting benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety management, becomes unsafe for use at any dosage beyond a certain duration due to its potential for Ativan dependence and addiction. Read on to learn more about the following Ativan abuse issues:

  • Is Ativan habit forming?
  • Is Ativan addictive?
  • Is Ativan addicting even when used as prescribed?
  • How addictive is Ativan?
  • What are the main dangers of Ativan long term use?
  • How to connect with Ativan addiction treatment in Southern California.

Signs of Ativan Addiction

Only a licensed mental health or medical practitioner can accurately diagnose an addiction to Ativan. Clinicians employ the criteria outlined in DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association) to establish a diagnosis of a substance use disorder related to lorazepam, categorized as sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder. For a diagnosis, individuals must meet a minimum of two Ativan addiction symptoms within a 12-month period:

  1. Consuming Ativan in quantities exceeding the initially intended amount or for durations longer than initially planned.
  2. Struggling to curtail Ativan usage despite expressing the intention to do so.
  3. Devoting substantial time to obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of lorazepam consumption.
  4. Experiencing cravings or an intense urge to use Ativan.
  5. Failing to meet significant responsibilities at work, home, or school due to lorazepam usage.
  6. Persistently using Ativan despite facing interpersonal or social challenges likely attributed to drug consumption.
  7. Sacrificing important social, professional, or recreational activities due to Ativan usage.
  8. Repeatedly using Ativan in hazardous situations, such as while driving or operating machinery.
  9. Continuing lorazepam usage even when aware of persistent or recurrent physical or psychological issues exacerbated by its consumption.
  10. Developing tolerance, signifying the need for higher doses or more frequent administration of lorazepam to achieve the same effects.
  11. Experiencing withdrawal, characterized by distressing physical and psychological symptoms upon discontinuing or significantly reducing Ativan use.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Ativan

Individuals who misuse lorazepam by consuming doses higher than recommended and/or for extended periods may have an increased risk of developing significant physical dependence. They could also encounter withdrawal symptoms upon drastically reducing or abruptly discontinuing the drug.

Withdrawal from Ativan is associated with the following addicted to Ativan signs:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Heightened sensitivity to light or noise
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

DSM-5-TR indicates that with short-acting benzodiazepines like Ativan, withdrawal symptoms might manifest within 6 to 8 hours after the last dose. These symptoms tend to peak in intensity around the second day and noticeably subside by the fourth or fifth day of detox. However, some people might experience milder yet more prolonged symptoms that persist for several months.

The severity of symptoms can vary, influenced by factors such as:

  • Duration of usage
  • Frequency of usage
  • Dosage administered
  • Overall physical and mental health

Ativan withdrawals can be severe and potentially life-threatening. Like withdrawal from alcohol and opioids, detoxing from Ativan warrants professional medical oversight.

A man sits on a bench representing ativan addiction symptoms


Can you get high off Ativan?

Ativan can produce a calming and sedative effect, but using it to get high is not recommended and can lead to dangerous side effects.

Can you get addicted to Ativan quickly?

Yes, Ativan has a potential for rapid development of tolerance and dependence, especially with prolonged or misuse.

What are the most common Ativan addiction side effects?

Common Ativan addiction side effects include drowsiness, impaired coordination, memory issues, increased anxiety, and withdrawal symptoms like rebound insomnia or anxiety.

Treatment for Ativan Addiction

Treatment for Ativan addiction encompasses a range of options that should be customized to align with individual requirements. It is never advisable to independently detox from lorazepam or other benzodiazepines. Opting for a medical detox ensures supervised support and pharmacological assistance, facilitating a safe and comfortable transition away from lorazepam.

Detox is the first critical phase of recovery from Ativan addiction, addressing the issue of physical dependence and setting the groundwork for further treatment. That said, detox is not intended to replace more comprehensive addiction treatment.

Post-detox, you may transition into either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Inpatient rehab entails residing at a treatment facility, where around-the-clock care, accommodation, and medical attention are provided. This option is particularly suitable for individuals with severe addictions, co-occurring disorders, physical health concerns, unstable living situations, or a lack of external support.

Outpatient rehab involves living at home or in a sober living environment while attending regular treatment sessions at an outpatient facility. This approach could be appropriate if your addiction is less severe, you have a stable home environment, a supportive network of family and friends, and reliable transportation.

Regardless of the treatment setting, Ativan addictive treatment may involve a combination of medications – primarily to assist with withdrawal – and behavioral therapies. Modalities that are proven effective for treating Ativan addiction include:

  • CBT: CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) is a form of psychotherapy or talk therapy that aids in identifying stressors and promoting healthier changes in thought patterns, expectations, and behaviors.
  • Contingency management: This form of motivational therapy involves tangible rewards for achieving predetermined recovery goals.
  • MI: MI (motivational interviewing) is a technique to address any ambivalence towards treatment and enhance engagement in recovery efforts.

Those abusing benzos like Ativan often contend with the abuse of other substances like alcohol. They may also have co-occurring mental health conditions. In these cases, treatment is more nuanced and typically involves the dual diagnosis treatment of both conditions simultaneously.

While Ativan addiction is incurable, it is a progressive but treatable condition, so do not delay engaging with the help you need to kickstart your recovery.

an image of Gratitude Lodge's detoxing from adderall treatment center

Get Treatment for Ativan Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

At Gratitude Lodge in Southern California, we are dedicated to helping you overcome addictions and address mental health concerns. Our rehab centers, located in pet-friendly environments in Newport Beach and Long Beach, CA, are focused on comprehensive well-being and whole-body recovery.

Our closely monitored medical detox program offers the safest and most seamless path towards detoxification and sustained recovery. Once your body is freed from addictive substances like Ativan, you can move directly into a 30-day inpatient treatment program. All Gratitude Lodge treatment programs incorporate the following interventions:

To navigate the journey from active addiction to enduring recovery, you can trust in Gratitude Lodge. For admissions, call 800-994-2184 today.

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Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
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Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
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Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
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Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
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Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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