Is Lorazepam an Addictive Drug?

Written by Will Long

Lorazepam, a prescription medication sold under the brand name Ativan, is commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizures. It is part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which work by affecting the brain and central nervous system to create a calming effect. While lorazepam can be highly effective when used as directed, it also has the potential for addiction and abuse.

How Lorazepam Works

Lorazepam works by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA helps reduce anxiety, stress, and brain activity, resulting in a sedative effect that promotes relaxation and sleepiness. This calming effect can be very beneficial for those suffering from anxiety or sleep disorders, but it can also be habit-forming, especially when used for an extended period or in higher doses than prescribed.

Lorazepam’s Potential for Addiction

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies lorazepam as a Schedule IV controlled substance, recognizing its accepted medical use but also its potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Studies have shown that long-term use of lorazepam, usually exceeding 4 weeks, significantly increases the risk of developing a physical dependence and addiction.

Factors that can contribute to lorazepam addiction include:

  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Using lorazepam more frequently or for longer than prescribed
  • Combining lorazepam with other substances, such as alcohol or opioids
  • Using lorazepam recreationally to get high rather than to treat a medical condition

Signs and Symptoms of Lorazepam Addiction

Individuals who have developed an addiction to lorazepam may exhibit various signs and symptoms, including:

  • Strong cravings for the drug
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose or using it for longer than recommended
  • Spending significant time obtaining, using, and recovering from the drug’s effects
  • Developing a tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop or reduce use
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home due to drug use
  • Continuing to use lorazepam despite negative consequences on health, relationships, or finances
  • Inability to quit or cut back on use despite the desire to do so

Risks and Consequences of Lorazepam Addiction

Lorazepam addiction can have severe consequences on an individual’s physical and mental health, as well as their personal and professional life. Some of the risks associated with lorazepam addiction include:

  • Impaired cognitive function and memory loss
  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries due to sedation and impaired coordination
  • Worsening of pre-existing mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety
  • Strained relationships with family and friends
  • Job loss or academic failure
  • Financial difficulties related to obtaining the drug
  • Legal problems resulting from drug-related behaviors

Withdrawal from lorazepam can be difficult and potentially dangerous, with symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and hallucinations. Attempting to quit cold turkey without professional help can be risky and is not recommended.

Treatment for Lorazepam Addiction at JourneyPure At The River

Overcoming addiction is challenging, but with the right support and treatment, it is possible to achieve lasting recovery. At JourneyPure At The River, we offer comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for individuals struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Our expert team of addiction specialists provides compassionate care in a serene, luxurious facility located on the banks of the Cumberland River. Treatment begins with medically supervised detox to help clients safely withdraw from lorazepam and manage withdrawal symptoms. Following detox, clients participate in individual and group therapy sessions to address the underlying causes of their addiction and develop coping skills for long-term recovery.

Our holistic approach to treatment addresses the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of addiction, promoting whole-person healing. We offer a range of evidence-based therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and trauma-focused therapies, as well as experiential therapies like art and music therapy.

Get Help Today

Lorazepam, while an effective medication for treating anxiety and other conditions, carries a significant risk of addiction, particularly when used long-term or in higher doses than prescribed. Recognizing the signs of addiction is crucial for seeking timely help and support.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, know that you are not alone, and there is hope for recovery. At JourneyPure At The River, we are dedicated to helping individuals break free from the grip of addiction and build a foundation for a healthy, fulfilling life in recovery.

Take the first step towards healing today by calling JourneyPure At The River at 615-410-9260. Our compassionate admissions team is available 24/7 to answer your questions, provide information about our addiction treatment program, and help you begin your journey to lifelong recovery.