Lorazepam use, abuse, and addiction

Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine medication and is one of the most addictive drugs in this category. The brand name for Lorazepam is known as Ativan. It must be prescribed by a physician and is used to for short term treatment for disorders, such as anxiety, insomnia, and acute seizures.

Most people do not abuse Lorazepam medication; however, there are some that do. People who abuse this drug are at risk for developing an addiction if they do not quit. Lorazepam or Ativan, activates the brain’s reward systems and then chemically alters the normal functioning of these systems by slowing them down. The effects of Lorazepam include: sedation, hypnotic like feeling and a muscle relaxant.

Accidental Addiction

Oftentimes, people who are prescribed this drug, accidently develop an addiction to it. This is because the more a person uses, the more of a tolerance to the drug they will have, as they increase their use and dosage, their body will become dependent and they will soon have an addiction.

How Can a Person Use or Abuse Lorazepam

The drug comes mainly in a pill form; however, it can come in a solution to inject, a skin patch, or in a drinkable liquid. When it is orally taken, it takes between 90 and 120 minutes to feel the full effects, when injected it takes about 10- 15 minutes. Lorazepam lasts between 6 and 12 hours; therefore, doctors normally recommend no more than 2 doses per day.

Short Term Prescription

Lorazepam or Ativan, is a short term prescription, after 4-6 months of regular use, the efficiency dramatically decreases and the user may feel like they are not feeling the effects. They may begin to increase their dose, causing risk for abuse, addiction, and even overdose.

Lorazepam Abuse

Before a person abuses Lorazepam or Ativan, they may have originally begun using it on the advice of a doctor. Once they begin to abuse it they may visit multiple doctors in different hospitals or clinics, or buy it off of the streets.

What does Lorazepam abuse mean?

Lorazepam or Ativan abuse means to take more than the recommended amount. Most abusers will take it either because they feel like their prescribed dose is not working or they want to feel more of the effects. People who abuse Lorazepam are putting themselves at risk for developing serious health, family, and work related problems. If they do not quit abusing this drug, an addiction will be very quick to follow.

Effects of an Addiction

An addiction to Lorazepam or Ativan will be present in a user who has overused, abused, and developed a dependency to the drug. People who have an addiction will continue to take it no matter what the consequences are.

It is a Dangerous Drug

In general, benzodiazepines can be very dangerous. With prolonged use or abuse of Lorazepam, the user can develop long term or even permanent cognitive damage. Lorazepam or Ativan, reduces the user’s level of consciousness; this can harm their thinking ability and their awareness of their surroundings.

Physical Symptoms of an Addiction

A Lorazepam addiction can have severe effects on the user’s central nervous system and overall physical health.

Physical Symptoms

  • Unsteadiness
  • Visual and memory problems
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Abnormal temperature regulation

Other Signs of Abuse or Addiction to Lorazepam

  • The user has developed a tolerance
  • Doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions
  • Forge prescriptions or stealing prescription pads
  • Experience withdrawal signs and symptoms when it is not taken


Overdoses caused by Lorazepam or Ativan use, abuse, or addiction can lead to varying degrees of consequences. When taken with other drugs or alcohol, the consequences become even more dangerous.

Overdose Symptoms

  • Dizziness
  • Ataxia
  • Nausea
  • Impaired motor functions
  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Mental Confusion
  • Coma


In some cases, an overdose due to Lorazepam use, abuse, or addiction can slow the central nervous system down to the point of death.


Withdrawal symptoms can occur after heavily using or abusing Lorazepam for as little as one week. Withdrawal from Lorazepam can cause severe and fatal symptoms including: seizure, respiratory depression, and even death. Therefore, the use of this drug should not be stopped all at once. Instead, it should be reduced slowly in a medically supervised environment to ensure the person’s safety.

Lorazepam or Ativan is physically, emotionally, and psychologically addictive. This means that the withdrawal process can be very unpleasant.

Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal

  • Headaches
  • Tension
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Panic attacks

Treatment for Abuse and Addiction


A person who abuses or has an addiction to this drug should never abruptly stop taking it. This can put their body into shock and cause serious problems. The person should go through a detox. Here they can be weaned off of the drug under medical supervision. This will help reduce their withdrawal symptoms and allow them to be in a safe and controlled environment.

Residential Treatment

Once the person has finished detoxing, they should go to a residential rehab where they can learn about their addiction, the various methods to deal with it, and at the same time get help for the underlying problems. If you or someone you love is abusing or addicted to Lorazepam or Ativan, contact The Cabin Chiang Mai today.

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