As with most prescription drugs Ativan is potentially addictive. Addiction can occur in as little as three weeks.
Signs of addiction or withdrawal may include
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive behavior
- Restlessness or irritability
- Numbness or tingling
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heart palpitations
If you have taken Ativan for an extended period of time and experience any of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately.
A strong indicator of Ativan addiction is an increase in the frequency or intensity of anxiety or panic attacks. If you find that you “need” Ativan more and more often over time, inform your doctor immediately.
While similar in many ways to Ativan addiction, Ativan abuse and benzodiazepine abuse do have some distinct differences.
Abuse is characterized as using amounts, patterns or methods that are not endorsed or recommended by a medical professional. Most commonly, this refers to using Ativan recreationally.
Though not especially prevalent or common, Ativan can induce euphoria. Often times a patient will only experience this once or twice over the course of many doses.
Many people see this for what it is, as just an odd side effect. However, this can cause some people to actively try to reproduce this effect by taking larger and larger quantities of the drug.
This is a textbook case of abuse. People who abuse Ativan and other benzodiazepines are many times more likely to develop an addiction. And also, many times more likely to overdose.
Furthermore, these larger, unapproved dosages cause the body to develop an immunity to the drug incredibly fast. This effectively causes the problem to snowball as the person will take ever increasing amounts of the drug to feel an effect.
Often not realizing that the amount taken has little to do with whether or not they will experience that sense of euphoria.
Often times the paradoxical effect will also play a role in this. Especially when the person attempts to correct this behavior. See The Paradoxical Effect
In many cases, Ativan abuse leads to criminal activity, such as theft and fraud, due to the need for ever increasing doses which are far larger than a doctor will prescribe.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be abusing Ativan, or any other prescription drug, consult a medical professional immediately.