Last Updated on July 21, 2018 by Morris Green
Ativan is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety. It is part of a drug family known as benzodiazepines. Drugs in this family produce a calming effect by acting on the brain and nerves or the central nervous system. Ativan enhances the effects of GABA, a natural chemical found in the body. While it can be helpful in reducing symptoms of anxiety and treating anxiety disorder, it should be used with caution due to its addictive properties.
How to Use Ativan
As is expected with any prescription medication, it is best to use Ativan as directed by your treating physician. According to WebMD, the drug’s dose is chosen based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. It is recommended to use Ativan regularly to gain the most benefit and to use it at the same time (or times) daily.
In some cases, Ativan may cause addiction. The risk may be higher for people who have a substance use disorder or misuse or overuse drugs or alcohol.
If Ativan is taken regularly for a lengthy period, or in high doses for more than 1-4 weeks, withdrawal symptoms may occur when stopping use. The risk of a withdrawal reaction is higher for people with a history of drug abuse or alcoholism or a personality disorder. A withdrawal reaction may include any combination of the following symptoms:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramps and pain
- Insomnia and/or trouble sleeping
- Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs
- Muscle pain
- Short-term memory loss
- Increased heart rate
- High fever
- Increased sensitivity and reactions to sensory input (noise, touch, light)
Withdrawal symptoms can be reduced and potentially avoided by your doctor reducing your dose gradually versus stopping the medication entirely.
Important Tips to Follow
Ativan can help treat short and long-term anxiety. For some, it’s a game changer. If your doctor prescribes Ativan, follow these tips to help ensure you use it safely:
- Be Open With Your Doctor: If you’ve struggled with drugs or alcohol in the past, or have a tendency to binge on drugs or alcohol, be open with your doctor. It’s better to address a substance use issue before taking a medication like Ativan.
- Always Consult Your Doctor: If you experience any unwanted side effects or feel you can stop taking Ativan, consult your doctor first. Do not stop taking Ativan without first talking to your doctor as your dose may need to be slowly reduced to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Follow Direction: Due to Ativan’s potential to cause addiction, it’s important to follow your medication’s directions exactly. Always read the instructions from the pharmacy and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure of how to follow them.
- Monitor Your Results: Your feedback is a vital part of successful treatment. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens and share any side effects that occur.
What does Ativan addiction look like? Follow us as we delve into the Signs and Symptoms of Ativan Addiction.
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