What is Ativan Detox Like?

Ativan is the brand-name version of lorazepam, a potent benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, seizures, alcohol withdrawal, and nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan increases the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is a chemical that’s produced by the brain and found in certain foods. In the brain, GABA has anti-anxiety and anti-seizure effects. One of the effects of Ativan is that it makes the user feel calm and relaxed.

While benzodiazepines can be very helpful to people struggling with a range of conditions, they are among the most widely abused types of drugs. Ativan is usually prescribed for periods less than four months because it is highly addictive. In fact, some people become physically dependent on it after just a week of use. Addiction can occur in both people who abuse the drug and those who use it as prescribed. However, people who have a history of substance abuse or untreated mental health disorders are more likely to develop an Ativan addiction.

Ativan is usually sold as a quick-dissolve tablet but it’s also available in the form of a concentrated, colorless liquid. Both forms of the drug are supposed to be taken orally. Given the high potential for abuse, Ativan should only be administered intravenously by a healthcare professional, and this is done via IV drip.

Addiction can wreak havoc in your life and affect your job, relationships, and almost every other area. If you have become addicted to this drug, you will need to go through Ativan detox to start your recovery journey.

Side Effects of Ativan Abuse

Since it is legal to use Ativan with a prescription, some people don’t realize they’re abusing it or they don’t think misusing can cause serious harm.

It’s considered Ativan abuse if you:

  • Take the drug without a prescription
  • Use higher doses or more frequent doses than prescribed
  • Take Ativan for longer than prescribed
  • Take Ativan along with other drugs or alcohol
  • Crush the pills and snort the powder
  • Dissolve the powder in water and inject it

When taken in large doses, Ativan causes a short, intense high followed by a much longer feeling of calm. There are both short-term and long-term effects to abusing Ativan. In the short term, you may experience:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Intense euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Decreased motivation

Long-term effects can include:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Increased risk of overdose and accident
  • Physical dependence

Signs of Ativan Addiction

Taking Ativan as prescribed lowers the risk of addiction but tolerance, dependence, and addiction can still occur. Signs of an addiction to Ativan include:

  • Trying to stop taking Ativan but being unable to do so
  • Being unable to function without using Ativan
  • Feeling guilty about your Ativan use or concealing it from your loved ones
  • Isolating from your friends and relatives
  • Neglecting your responsibilities at home, school, or work
  • Experiencing financial or legal problems because you’re abusing Ativan
  • Spending a lot of time getting Ativan, using it, or recovering from using it

The Dangers of Ativan Overdose

People who abuse Ativan may combine it with alcohol or other drugs to make the effects more potent or balance out the sedative effects. When Ativan is paired with alcohol, the resulting high is quick and potent. Since both substances depress the central nervous system, respiratory failure, over-sedation, coma or even death can result.

Some people also use Ativan to boost the effects of Methadone. Again, there’s a risk of fatal overdose due to respiratory failure because both drugs are depressants. Ativan may also be used to help people come down from the high provided by cocaine or amphetamines.

Signs of Ativan overdose include:

  • Slowed speech
  • Depressed breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Lack of energy or weakness
  • Challenges controlling body movement
  • Coma

Severe cases of overdose can lead to death. If you are dependent on or addicted to Ativan, detox is one of the first steps in ending your use of the drug and avoiding the possibility of a potentially fatal overdose.

Why is Ativan Detox Necessary for Recovery?

When a person becomes physically dependent on a drug, they usually have increased tolerance to the said drug. This means the usual dose no longer has the same effect and they need to use higher doses to achieve the same effects. When they increase the dosage, tolerance will again increase after some time driving them to take an even larger dose. The only way to break this cycle is to go through detoxification and then work hard to stay clean.

Detox is when you stop using a drug and allow your body to get rid of the toxins. Detox is usually accompanied by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These occur because your body becomes reliant on Ativan to function and when it’s not available, the brain, nervous system, and organs need to relearn how to function without it.

As you detox, the risk of relapse is high since you’ll want to use Ativan to stop the symptoms from occurring. Ativan detox and withdrawal is difficult, and it can be dangerous so it’s important to be monitored by medical professionals during the process. Detox sets the stage for rehab which often involves both behavioral therapies and the administration of medication.

Ativan Detox

Ativan Detox: Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzodiazepines tend to result in withdrawal symptoms that are both physical and emotionally painful. If you stop using Ativan cold turkey, the symptoms may even be life-threatening. If you have been taking the drug for a long time or you were consuming high doses, your withdrawal symptoms will be worse. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can come and go and the severity and frequency may vary throughout the withdrawal process.

Symptoms usually appear within one to four days after discontinuing use and they can last for up to ten days. Ativan detox withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Heightened tension
  • Restless
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Problems concentrating
  • Changes in perception
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscular stiffness or discomfort
  • Hand tremors
  • Ativan cravings

Some people also suffer post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) which can continue for six months or longer after stopping the use of benzodiazepines. Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Chronic insomnia
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Difficulty performing complex tasks
  • Persistent anxiety
  • Loss of sex drive

Can Ativan Detox Be Dangerous?

Detoxifying from benzodiazepines results in some physical withdrawal symptoms which can indeed be dangerous. While rare, some people experience severe Ativan withdrawal symptoms including fever, increased heart rate, hallucinations, and potentially life-threatening seizures and convulsions. There is also an increased risk of psychotic behaviors and suicidal ideation.

Detoxification can also be dangerous because of the risk of relapse. Some people are so distressed by withdrawal symptoms that they feel compelled to return to the drug. People are especially likely to relapse when detoxing from benzodiazepines because the withdrawal symptoms often include insomnia, rebound anxiety, and the return of the condition that Ativan was being used to treat. When these symptoms are severe, some people use Ativan again just so they can escape them.

Medically supervised detox goes a long way in preventing relapse. Experienced professionals are on hand to provide psychological and medical support to relieve the worst of the symptoms. This can help you to make it through detox without going back to Ativan. Also, if a medical emergency arises or you try to harm yourself, you’ll be able to access prompt attention.

Medical professionals can also help you detox slowly over a period of time. People who attempt Ativan detox at home often try to stop using the drug cold turkey and this increases the risk of relapse. The withdrawal symptoms will also be worse. This is why the Food and Drug Administration recommends tapering off the use of Ativan over time instead of abruptly ending use.

Healthcare professionals adjust the dosage based on the individual’s history of drug usage and their overall health. Weaning off Ativan makes it easier to tolerate the withdrawal symptoms. People who get treatment in a professional detox facility are more successful with their treatment and more likely to stay off Ativan in the long term.

What Happens During Medically Assisted Ativan Detox

Some people manage well with a gradual tapering off of Ativan and they don’t need any other intervention. However, some need medication to reduce their withdrawal symptoms. Doctors may prescribe Flumazenil which is a benzodiazepine antagonist. It blocks Ativan from binding to the GABA receptors and this negates the drug’s effects on the brain.

Flumazenil can also prevent a deadly overdose and speed up the detox process since it forces the individual into almost immediate withdrawal. However, it must be used with caution since it may increase the risk of seizures.

Psychological and psychiatric therapies should also be used. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often highly recommended since studies show that it can help patients to stay off Ativan. Psychiatric treatment may also be necessary for patients experiencing psychological symptoms as a result of Ativan withdrawal.

Some of the psychological symptoms may be quite like those you experienced before starting to use Ativan. This is because the drug is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety. In severe cases, doctors prescribe antidepressants. Otherwise, therapy is effective in reducing the symptoms.

Meanwhile, Pregabalin or Valproate may be prescribed to relieve neuropathic pain, prevent seizures, and treat other severe physical symptoms.

What’s a Typical Ativan Detox Timeline?

Detoxing from Ativan can take between four and ten weeks. The duration of the program depends on the tapering schedule your doctor recommends and whether you enroll in inpatient or outpatient treatment. Depending on how much Ativan you’ve been taking, your doctor will reduce the dosage by a specific amount each week until you can go off the drug completely. You may also be prescribed medications to help control your symptoms and you may be offered therapy to help control your cravings. Outpatient programs tend to be on the longer end of the spectrum.

What Happens After Ativan Detox?

Detox is just the start of the recovery process when you have any type of substance addiction. People who complete the detoxification process are more likely to achieve long-term sobriety if they progress through rehab, sober living, and aftercare programs. Going to rehab helps you to learn more about addiction and get to the bottom of your struggles. You also learn to identify and modify the behaviors that contribute to addiction and develop strategies to prevent relapse.  Rehab includes opportunities for individual, group, and family therapy. Treatment lasting 90 days or longer is usually most effective.

Many people opt for inpatient rehab because it offers fewer distractions and temptations than their home environment. However, some people with mild addictions opt for outpatient treatment. This allows them to continue with their regular work or school schedule while also getting the help they need. You should talk to the staff at the detox facility about which option best suits your needs, preferences, and lifestyle.

Let the Experts at Divine Detox Help You!

If you are struggling to control your use of Ativan, talk to the addiction treatment professionals at Divine Detox. We offer medically supervised Ativan detox programs that are customized to meet the needs of each individual. We provide a safe space in which you can get the drug out of your system and learn how to stay clean in the long term. Our highly trained medical personnel will ensure you’re as comfortable as possible during the detox process and we will provide the medications and therapy you need. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer at our luxury detox facility and how you can get started on the journey to recovery.