Ativan can be a game changer for people suffering from anxiety, but it can also be addictive. The risk of Ativan addiction hinges on numerous factors. A previous history or current issue with substance abuse increases your risk. In addition, an addictive personality and other mental health issues can increase your risk of addiction. In this blog, we’ll cover the signs and symptoms you need to be aware of if you’re taking Ativan.
Normal Ativan Side Effects
Always consult the warning section of your prescription to be aware of possible side effects. Ativan can cause the following side effects, which should be quickly reported to your doctor:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of coordination
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sexual interest or ability
More severe side effects that should cause you to contact your doctor immediately include:
- Changes in mental health and mood including depression, thoughts of suicide, and hallucinations
- Slurred speech or difficulty talking
- Memory problems
- Unusual Weakness
- Trouble walking
- Signs of infection including a fever and persistent sore throat
- Yellowing eyes or skin
- Slow or shallow breathing
Symptoms of Ativan Addiction
Ativan addiction does not occur after just one or two uses of the drug. It generally emerges after regular abuse or misuse or during a withdrawal reaction. Misusing Ativan often results in the same symptoms as the drug’s possible side effects, but they amplify over time and the abuser’s mental state changes.
The most common indicators of Ativan addiction are behavioral. Significant signs to be on guard against include:
- Asking friends, family, neighbors, or even strangers for Ativan tablets
- Searching the Internet for Ativan
- Actively looking for ways besides the doctor to score Ativan
- Consistent visits to places where Ativan is available, such as medical offices and emergency rooms
- Lying about how much or how often they are taking Ativan
- Hiding Ativan
According to the American Addiction Centers, Ativan can be a preferred drug for people who exclusively abuse benzodiazepines or as part of “polydrug abuse.” Benzodiazepine abuse is a widespread problem in the United States due to how readily available these drugs are and the calming effects they provide. It’s common for people who abuse drugs in this family to swap from drug to drug, but the signs listed above will persist regardless of which benzodiazepine they are trying to score.
Ask for Help
While it is rare for Ativan abuse to cause severe illness or death, unless combined with other drugs or alcohol, it is still a type of substance abuse (and potential addiction) to take seriously. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that benzodiazepines impact the brain much like marijuana and opioids to cause addiction.
If you think you’re developing (or have) an addiction to Ativan, don’t keep it quiet. Talk to your doctor about getting help. Not only can they help by slowly reducing your prescription dose, but they can connect you with the right support for overcoming a substance use issue.