How to Help a Lorazepam Addict
Lorazepam addiction can be extremely dangerous. Fortunately, a multitude of programs exist for those suffering to find help.
How to Approach a Lorazepam-Addicted Loved One
Few things are more difficult than watching a friend or family member suffer from drug addiction. If someone you care about is abusing lorazepam, you may want to consider ways to support them in seeking treatment. The most important thing you can do is make the person feel cared for and loved, since they are likely going through many emotional and physical challenges related to their addiction to lorazepam.
Approaching the person with compassion can help you understand what they are feeling. Remaining non-judgmental may help them feel safe. While it is important to recognize that you cannot fix someone else’s problems, there are things you can do to help them stop abusing drugs and lead healthy lives.
- Show support: Let your loved one know that it takes courage to seek help.
- Remain positive: Emphasize that people recover from addiction every single day.
- Be consistent: Assure your loved one that you will remain supportive, even if they need to take several attempts at recovery. (NOTE: Support does not equal enabling. Offer healthy support but don’t continue behaviors that help them continue their use).
Resources for friends and family members of addicted individuals include:
- Peer support groups, such as Nar-Anon.
- Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).
- Family-inclusive therapy.
Lorazepam Help Quiz question 1
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Because of the serious withdrawal symptoms, many addicts continue using lorazepam despite negative physical, mental, and social consequences. A structured treatment program can promote successful recovery and relapse prevention by providing supportive and medical care during the process of withdrawal.
In treatment, your dosage of lorazepam will be decreased gradually under medical supervision. It is important to detox under medical supervision given that abrupt withdrawal can cause serious side effects, including seizures.
Treatment does not stop at detox, however. When you enter a treatment program, you will work with the medical staff to develop an individualized treatment plan. For a lorazepam addiction, this should include at least a combination of supervised medical detox and clinical or professional therapy. Ongoing treatment can take place in an inpatient rehab center or through an more flexible outpatient program. Treatment for lorazepam addiction can include, but is not limited to:
- Medically assisted detoxification.
- Alternative approaches and treatments such as yoga and meditation.
- 12-step support groups.
- Sober living facilities.
The severity of your addiction, your commitment to recovery, the support network at home, and your personal responsibilities will all factor into which type of program is right for you.
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Is Lorazepam Addictive?
Lorazepam is the generic name for a drug also sold under the brand name Ativan. Used in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders, some users abuse the drug because it results in calm and mellow feelings. Doctors also prescribe the medication for the treatment of other disorders, including insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and irritable bowel syndrome.
It is part of the benzodiazepine drug family and is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. The drug essentially slows down the nerve signals in the brain, which can lead to feelings of calm and euphoria; these positive effects can lead to the abuse of this drug by those seeking these feelings.
Because lorazepam causes feelings of sedation and relaxation, it can become addictive to those taking it, even when doing so legitimately. A common misconception is that users cannot become addicted to prescription drugs like lorazepam; however, this is not the case and addiction can develop among those with a legitimate need for the drug.
As a user develops a tolerance to the drug, she might take a larger dose or take the medication more often that the doctor prescribes. In fact, most doctors will not prescribe the drug to patients who have a history of past drug or alcohol abuse because this can increase the risk of the patient developing an addiction to lorazepam.
What Are the Signs of Addiction?
When someone takes lorazepam, it causes certain changes in that person's behavior and health. The effects of certain types of medications, particularly psychiatric medication, can compound these changes.
Signs of abuse include:
- Impaired judgment.
- Trouble breathing and swallowing.
- Slurred speech.
- Skin rashes.
- Extreme drowsiness.
- Tremors and confusion.
Abusers of Ativan often feel varying levels of drowsiness and relaxation, which can lead to an addiction. The patient eventually feels like he or she cannot handle daily tasks without using the medication.
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Am I Addicted?
Am I addicted to lorazepam?
- I think about it every day.
- I cannot cope without lorazepam.
- It is the only way I can be happy.
- I cannot sleep without it.
If you have agree with any of the above statements, you may have a substance use disorder.
If you think you have a problem with lorazepam, you should look for some of the common signs of addiction in your own life. Chronic use of lorazepam can cause anxiety, weakness in one or more limbs, fatigue, headaches and insomnia.
In a small number of cases, users suffered from anorexia caused by the medication.
Occasionally, a user might overdose, and signs of overdose include fainting, coma and severe confusion. If you notice one or more warning signs, get help immediately.
If you notice the many signs of addiction in yourself or someone you care about, call 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? to get information about treatment centers that focus on this type of addiction.
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- National Institute on Drug Abuse. National Institutes of Health. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. Third Edition. (December 2012). https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
- Ashton, H. (2005). The diagnosis and management of benzodiazepine dependence. Current opinion in Psychiatry, 18(3), 249-255.