Ativan, as prescribed by a physician, comes in tablet form and oral administration is the most common method of abuse. However, Ativan can also be crushed into a powder that a user can ingest nasally, an action that results in expedited transit to the brain and nervous system.
Ativan (lorazepam) is a prescription benzodiazepine (benzo) drug that is indicated for the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. Like all benzos, Ativan has a strong potential for misuse and addiction.
After Ativan has been inhaled, rapid absorption of the drug produces a rush of GABA that initiates the user’s desired euphoric “high” and activates its addictive potential.
Dependency, Tolerance, and Addiction
Ativan is addictive because it impacts the center of the brain responsible for reward, specifically the neurotransmitter GABA, a chemical that is involved with feelings of relaxation and well-being.
Signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction include, but are not limited to the following:
- Continued use of the drug despite negative physical and psychological effects.
- Loss of interest in activities and interests once considered important or enjoyable.
- The use of Ativan in dangerous or inappropriate situations.
- Adverse changes or problems in other areas of life such as work, school, relationships, and finances.
- General malaise, lethargy, or sedation.
Regular intranasal use of Ativan can lead to tolerance and dependency. When dependency manifests, the user experiences highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when he or she attempts to quit using or cut back.
The onset of withdrawal effects is a tell-tale sign that the user’s system has become comprised and less capable of functionally properly without the drug’s presence. These mental and physical symptoms often persist for several days after the user’s last dose.
Symptoms of Ativan withdrawal may include but are not limited to the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Insomnia/sleep disturbances
In addition to dependency, long-term Ativan abuse will lead to tolerance – a condition in which the chemicals in the brain become desensitized to the drug and increasing amounts are required to achieve the euphoric high.
Unfortunately, this cycle of accelerated use and reduced response can result in a rapid worsening of the addiction and ultimately, life-threatening complications.
However, dependency and tolerance are not the only critical health conditions that can manifest from this means of delivery—snorting Ativan can also produce nasal infections and cause irreversible damage to the septum and surrounding tissue.
Other possible side effects and dangers of snorting Ativan include:
- Heavy sedation
- Blurred vision
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle fatigue
- Changes in appetite
- Skin rash
Snorting Ativan and Overdose
Snorting Ativan, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol can lead to life-threatening central nervous depression, overdose, and death.
Symptoms of an Ativan overdose include:
- Pale, bluish skin or lips
- Shallow or labored breathing
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Impaired motor skills
- Respiratory depression
From Detox to Addiction Treatment and Beyond
Ativan abuse is a dangerous habit that can result in a myriad of adverse effects, yet many people who are dependent on prescription drugs such as Ativan negate the seriousness of their condition. Refusal to seek help can be life-threatening, and seeking treatment in any phase of dependence is crucial to recovery.
Medical treatment for Ativan dependency begins with our detox program, a clinical process in which the patient is closely supervised around-the-clock and withdrawal symptoms are addressed to minimize pain and discomfort.
To minimize withdrawal symptoms, weaning is advised for most Ativan users in which a physician gradually lowers the dose of Ativan over a period of time, until the drug can be stopped without compromising the patient’s health or wellness.
Following detox, patients are urged to undergo admission to one of our evidence-based addiction treatment programs. Formats include both residential stay (inpatient) and intensive outpatient therapy.
Treatment for Ativan Addiction
Ativan dependency is grave and potentially life-threatening disease that requires long-term treatment and support. While there are no cures for substance use disorders, they can be treated. Those who seek help and enter recovery can regain their lives and ultimately experience long-term sobriety and well-being.