Lorazepam, more commonly known as Ativan, is a prescription drug used to treat mental disorders such as panic and anxiety. Ativan is also used to help insomniacs and as a sedative. The drug is a relaxant; it works by repressing brain activity and slowing down the nerves, hence calming down processes within the body. It usually is not indicated for a long term use, the prescriptions are usually limited to several weeks only. The neurotransmitter, GABA, is repressed with slows down the central nervous system and brings about a calming effect. The drug enforcement administration has reported that over 20 million people have abused drugs like lorazepam in their life.
Various side effects are often seen among patients who continue the medication over long periods of time. The drug is a nerve depressant and hence slows down mental functions. The user experiences a feeling of peace and calmness. Drowsiness, hallucinations, and dizziness are common side effects. Once the user starts increasing the intake, however, the negative effects begin to show.
Often, patients themselves begin to increase the dosage of the drug in order to attain the feeling the drug brings, another major issue arises when the prescribed dose does not provide the expected relief and patients in that case also begin to take a higher dosage of medication. Users of Ativan experience euphoria, physical and mental peace and relaxation. The breathing rate and pulse slow down and the body relaxes control of the limbs. The user lacks coordination and is drowsy and unable to concentrate over long periods. However, as the high comes down, the user is enticed to take more of the drug to recreate that feeling and hence, becomes addicted. With the passage of time, the compulsive cycle of drug abuse and intermittent withdrawal may lead the person to a state of increased depression and worsened anxiety.
Over prolonged use, these side effects no longer remain temporary and become a part of the person’s daily life and they begin to feel unable to function without the drug. The slow breathing and heart rate leads to the risk of heart disease and brain damage. The user becomes forgetful and succumbs to memory loss. There are impairments in the thinking process of the user. The user experiences depression and paranoia and is prone to violence and sudden mood swings. Serious cases of abuse may lead to kidney failure, extreme depression, and kidney failure. The body might even slip into a coma.
Ativan is an addictive drug; however, the addiction takes the time to develop. It happens when the user takes high doses over long periods of time. Even patients who are using the drug under prescription develop the tolerance for it over time. This leads to them taking higher doses every time they use the drug in order to produce the same effect. As the intake increases, so does the addiction until the user is completely taken over by the drug.
Addiction to Ativan results in the complete ruin of a person. As dependency on the drug increases, the user begins to neglect work and family. They often end up in financial despair as most of the money is spent to buy the drug. Some extreme cases also find themselves toeing the law due to actions taking while under the influence of the drug. The whole life of the user begins to revolve around the drug.
In order to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, agitation, anxiety, and convulsions, the user must seek professional help when reducing intake. A careful detox procedure is to be followed and overlooked by medics to reduce withdrawal symptoms and bring the person back on track. Detoxification generally describes a process where patients are gradually seen to withdraw from the drug while they are being professionally supervised and people may begin to feel more comfortable. The need of this supervised detox arises when people become physically dependent on the drug and their bodies fail to function without it.