Lorazepam or Ativan is a benzodiazepine drug mainly used to treat anxiety disorders. It is also used to manage chemo-induced vomiting, nausea, seizures, epilepsy, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome. This medication is fast-acting and typically available as an intravenous injection or a pill. Taking this drug for longer than one month increases the user’s risk of becoming physically dependent on it.
Ativan comprises a strong chemical composition of tranquilizers and sedatives that generate a calming effect on several physiological functions and the brain. This medication is categorized as a Schedule IV substance but has a high potential for abuse and addiction. This is why Ativan is typically prescribed on a short-term basis of two to four weeks.
As a highly addictive drug, Ativan produces significant psychological and physical changes in the user’s body when abused heavily. Anyone can develop an Ativan addiction and will require detox and professional rehabilitation assistance. Addiction to this drug requires proper medical care and early intervention to get the best outcome from the overall treatment program.
If you or someone you know is abusing or addicted to Ativan, it is crucial to contact a substance abuse professional as soon as possible to start the detox process. It can be hard to take the first step towards recovery, but the results down the line are worth it.
Withdrawal Symptoms during Ativan Detox
Ativan suppresses the user’s central nervous system, which makes it particularly addictive to individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. When you use this medication improperly or even as prescribed in some cases, you start becoming psychologically and physically dependent on it.
After developing Ativan dependence, you will eventually start experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever you reduce the dosage, delay your intake, or stop using it entirely. Unaware users might even do well when they begin using Ativan, only to be increasingly preoccupied with wanting increased doses within short periods later on. In such situations, the user develops a pathological compulsion to use the drug.
Studies indicate that short-term users of this medication are less likely to get intense withdrawal symptoms than long-term heavy users. Individuals taking Ativan for longer than six months or even four months, in some cases, will experience more severe withdrawal symptoms that will be harder to manage.
Factors such as a genetic predisposition to addiction and a prior personal and family history of substance abuse will determine the severity and risk of withdrawal symptoms.
Ativan has a short half-life of approximately 10 to 12 hours, so mild withdrawal symptoms can occur within 24 hours of stopping one’s use. Dependence on this medication will produce a wide variety of psychological, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurological symptoms during Ativan detox as follows:
- Suicidal ideation
- Heart palpitations
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Weight loss
- Trouble with concentration
The duration of withdrawal during Ativan detox will depend on each individual. However, research shows that these symptoms typically start within the first week of stopping use and can persist for 5 to 28 days afterward. Ativan withdrawal symptoms usually peak within the second week of detox.
Going Through Ativan Detox the Right Way
Some individuals might experience protracted withdrawal, which can persist for months or years. During this time, the symptoms might gradually become less intense and come and go in waves. Symptoms to expect during protracted withdrawal include gastrointestinal problems, tremors, weakness, muscle pain, tinnitus, cognitive impairments, depression, insomnia, and anxiety.
You should never try to detox at home or cold turkey by yourself for any reason. An at-home Ativan detox significantly raises the risk of experiencing precipitated withdrawal. This is the dangerous intensification and acceleration of withdrawal symptoms, resulting in unexpected health complications. Precipitated withdrawal also lowers your chances for recovery from Ativan abuse and addiction while leading to death, coma, or a heart attack in some cases.
Ativan recovery also results in psychological withdrawal symptoms such as feelings of self-harm and depression. This means there is a very high risk of the user unintentionally or intentionally harming themselves. If you have medical supervision from addiction treatment professionals, they can monitor you to prevent this from happening.
Furthermore, there is a higher chance of relapsing if you try to detox from Ativan unsupervised at home. You will not be able to deal with the underlying problems that caused your substance abuse disorder in the first place, so it will be like doing zero work.
Medically Managed Ativan Detox
Due to the severity of Ativan withdrawal syndrome and the risk of developing seizures, it is highly advisable to go on a tapering schedule in a medically supervised detox program if you want to quit this drug.
A qualified medical professional can handle the withdrawal symptoms using a tapering program or appropriate medications. Tapering involves giving the patient gradually reducing doses of the drug as it is slowly eliminated from their system. This method of weaning off Ativan decreases cravings and withdrawal symptoms for the individual.
One of the many perks of medical Ativan detox is that seizures can be addressed immediately, and you can safely receive treatment to prevent any serious medical complications.
When starting an Ativan detox, you’ll be put on a tapering schedule over a specific period, depending on your condition. As part of this treatment plan, your physician might also swap out Ativan for a long-acting benzodiazepine. Doing this allows your body to transition more smoothly and comfortably while preventing severe withdrawal symptoms.
Overall, the best way to significantly reduce or avoid all the possible risks associated with Ativan detox is to go through a medical detox program, follow up with professional counseling, and have strong support throughout the process.