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Does Ativan Help With Depression

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Pregnancy And Breastfeeding While Taking Ativan

Ativan and Ativan withdrawl

It may not be safe to take Ativan while youre pregnant or breastfeeding. If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk with your doctor. They can answer any questions you may have about using Ativan during these times.

Misuse and addiction can also lead to overdose and, in some cases, death. Risk of these events is higher when Ativan is used with opioids and alcohol.

If youre concerned about your risk of misuse and addiction with Ativan, talk with your doctor. Theyll watch for signs of these conditions before you start taking the drug. And theyll continue checking your risk periodically while youre taking Ativan.

Side Effects In Children

Ativan is not approved for use in children under age 12 years.

Side effects of the drug in children who take it are generally similar to those in adults. One difference is that Ativan may cause certain unexpected reactions more often in children. An example is anxiety, which is unexpected because Ativan is used to treat this condition.

Most of Ativans side effects in older adults are expected to be the same as the side effects for younger adults.

But older adults may have an increased risk of certain side effects from Ativan, including:

  • drowsiness
  • loss of balance or coordination
  • unexpected reactions such as anxiety, which is unexpected because Ativan is used to treat this condition
  • respiratory depression*

* To learn more about this side effect, see the Side effects explained section below.

To lower their risk of these side effects, older adults may be prescribed lower doses of Ativan than usual.

If you have questions about your risk of side effects from Ativan based on your age, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Ativans side effects.

Physical Effects Of Ativan Use

Ativan may cause the enzymes in the liver to increase, which is often an indication of inflamed or damaged liver tissue. Jaundicea yellowing of the skin or eyes frequently related to liver damagemay also result from Ativan use.

Changes may occur in a persons appetite, weight, and sexual desire. The sedative effects of Ativan can lead to vertigo , weakness of the muscles and loss of coordination or bodily control.

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Is Ativan A Narcotic

Although it is a controlled substance, Ativan is not a narcotic. Narcotics reduce a persons perception of pain, while benzodiazepines have calming effects. Both narcotics and benzodiazepines have the potential to be habit-forming. Although medical practitioners consider Ativan safe and effective when used as directed, physical dependence can develop as quickly as two weeks, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness .

Is Ativan Used For Depression

How Long Does Ativan (Lorazepam) Stay in the Body?

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Find Freedom From Ativan Addiction

The first step toward freedom from Ativan addiction is detoxification. Our medically supervised detox program for benzodiazepine addiction monitors individuals closely through the withdrawal process to ensure their safety. After the drug is eliminated from their body, treatment for addiction can begin.

At Addiction Campuses, we believe that every person struggling with a substance use disorder is unique. We work with individuals to create treatment plans based on their needs. The most effective treatment for addiction is not one type of therapy, but rather a variety of methods that examine the many issues surrounding substance use.

Addiction is a disease that takes over the mind. Evidence-based treatments like counseling and behavioral therapy can help recovering individuals regain control over their thoughts and actions.

Our residential addiction treatment facilities provide a safe and comfortable environment for recovery. The inpatient setting is substance-free and offers around-the-clock support. This intensive level of care allows us to get to know each recovering individual personally and address their physical, mental and spiritual needs more fully.

For more information regarding Ativan addiction and treatment options, reach out to one of our specialists today. Freedom is only a phone call away.

This page does not provide medical advice.

What To Ask Your Doctor

Ativan is a short-term treatment option for anxiety and seizures. The drug is also used to help produce sedation in adults before receiving anesthesia for surgery.

If youre considering Ativan as a treatment option, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about its possible side effects. Here are a few questions you may want to ask:

  • How can I manage the side effects I might have with Ativan?
  • Am I at a higher risk of certain side effects from Ativan?
  • Could taking expired Ativan cause certain side effects?

If you use Ativan for anxiety, sign up for Healthlines anxiety newsletter to get first-person stories and helpful tips.

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Ativan Abuse And Substance Use Disorder

Benzodiazepines, including Ativan, are schedule IV controlled substances as listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This is because of the potential for abuse and because they are habit-forming. Misusing Ativan, such as taking more than recommended or using it for a longer period of time than recommended, can lead to dependence. Even using the drug as directed, but for a long period of time, can cause dependence.

The action of benzodiazepines in the brain makes them habit-forming. They activate parts of the brain that produce a pleasant feeling and a sense of relaxation and well-being. This acts like a reward, encouraging a person to use the drug again and again. Over time, tolerance may develop and eventually withdrawal. At this point it is very difficult to stop using the drug without help. As a schedule IV drug, the potential for causing a substance use disorder is not as high for Ativan as it is for many other prescriptions, especially opioids, but the risk is there.

Managing Anxiety And Ativan Dependence

Can Ativan treat insomnia?

It is tempting for someone who struggles with anxiety to misuse drugs like Ativan. It feels like relief to relax and stop worrying, but using the drug is only a short-term solution, and it is not uncommon for patients to end up with two co-occurring disorders: anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder. The best solution in this situation is to address and treat both conditions at the same time. If one is addressed and the other ignored, both are likely to recur.

Treatment for anxiety and addiction typically involves a combination of therapies and medical treatment along with holistic care, alternative therapies, lifestyle changes, family involvement and education, nutrition and exercise, and group support. These can be delivered in an outpatient setting, but residential treatment for mental health and substance use disorders gives a person a unique, safe setting in which to really focus on care and making positive changes.

While using Ativan is safe under the right conditions, anyone who struggles with anxiety needs to understand the risks of trying to misuse this drug. A major risk is ending up with two mental health conditions that require treatment. Instead of looking for a quick fix, it is important to get a well-rounded, holistic treatment plan to manage and control anxiety that may include medications.

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Common Side Effects Of Ativan

Ativans side effects tend to be more severe with higher doses. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth

Decreased blood pressure is a side effect of Ativan, but it is not prescribed for lowering blood pressure, explains Amanda Brown, NP, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and associate at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Ativan can also cause sleep disturbances, erectile dysfunction, and changes in appetite.

Ativan works by calming the nervous system to balance activity in the brain, promoting a relaxing, calming effect. It also raises dopamine, and when taken in high doses, feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain increase, causing a euphoric feeling, which is one of the reasons it is addictive.

Ativan Dependence And Withdrawal

Over time, the body becomes tolerant to benzodiazepines like Ativan . For the drug to have the same effect, a higher dose is required. Tolerance to hypnotic effects that aid in sleep occurs first and tolerance to anti-anxiety properties follows.

As an individuals tolerance grows, they continue to need larger amounts of Ativan. Because tolerance develops quickly, American Family Physician states that there is little evidence to indicate that benzodiazepines retain their efficacy after four to six months of regular use.

Instead, it is likely that someone will develop a physical dependence on Ativan with prolonged use. When this happens, they experience withdrawal symptoms like sweating, vomiting, abdominal cramps, tachycardia or seizures if they suddenly stop taking Ativan.

Doctors advise tapering off of Ativan slowly in order to limit or avoid withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from Ativan may be life-threatening because it can disrupt brain activity and cause seizures. Tapering allows the body to adjust more slowly and effectively, which can help prevent the development of addiction.

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How To Avoid Ativan Side Effects

Side effects, such as tiredness, usually start shortly after taking the medication, often within 30 minutes of taking the medication. They generally lessen as the effects of the drug decrease, typically between six and eight hours after taking it. Some people also notice that side effects decrease as they continue taking the medication, and their body adjusts to it, for example, they might not feel as tired after taking it regularly for several days or weeks.

Lorazepam May Cause Side Effects Call Your Doctor If Any Of The Following Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:

Ativan Addiction, Abuse, Detox and Rehab
  • drowsiness
  • yellowing of skin or eyes
  • irregular heartbeat

Lorazepam may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .

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Older Adults Taking Ativan

The side effects of Ativan are often more noticeable in older adults. To limit these effects, your doctor may need to adjust your dosage. This information is intended to provide a general overview of the use of Ativan for panic disorder. Any questions or concerns you may have about your prescription should be addressed with your doctor or pharmacist.

Severe Side Effects Of Lorazepam

Though it can be effective for therapeutic treatment in most patients who take the drug for a short period of time, Ativan can trigger a host of serious side effects, especially if it is used outside of a doctors prescription. That is, if used in higher doses than prescribed, more frequently than prescribed, in combination with other substances, or without a prescription, the risk of serious side effects may be greater. These effects include:

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Characteristics Of The Included Studies

The initial search identified 10,355 reports . After adjusting for duplicates, the abstracts and titles of 2,190 reports were screened for a first evaluation. Of these, 2,120 did not meet the inclusion criteria and were excluded. Main reasons for exclusion were: language , sample characteristics , type of document , another primary diagnosis , and the experimental condition . The full texts of the remaining 70 studies were then analyzed, with the additional elimination of 32 studies. Eight of these concerned subjects < 18 years of age or did not report any information about age, 7 compared BZD with ECT, psychotherapy, drug combinations or nonantidepressant medications, 1 did not evaluate the antidepressant effects of BZD, 3 were renamed copies of the same study and did not satisfy the blinded randomization criterion, 2 reported data on a subsample of subjects that were included in the main study, and 11 included subjects with anxiety or bipolar disorders in the total sample without a separate analysis of results.

Therefore, a total of 38 studies met the criteria for inclusion. Three compared BZD and placebo, 13 compared BZD and tricyclic antidepressants and placebo , and 21 compared BZD and TCA for the treatment of depression with or without comorbid anxiety. Only 1 study concerned newer AD. All these studies will be summarized and critically reviewed.

Dangers Of Ativan Addiction


Many peopledoctors includedbelieve that the effects of anxiety on the mind and body can be more dangerous than the side effects of the drug that relieves it. What they may not consider is that benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan can actually worsen anxiety symptoms if used in excess.

When Ativan is used to regulate brain function for an extended period of time, the brain stops controlling GABA and allows the drug to take control. If a person stops taking Ativan, their brain activity surges, causing intense anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. These unpleasant and over-stimulating effects lead the individual to take more Ativan for relief.

This mental dependence is very difficult to overcome. As tolerance grows, a person takes more and more Ativan. They become consumed by thoughts of obtaining and taking the drug. They cannot control their drug use, and continue taking Ativan even when it becomes the cause of their problems, rather than the cure.

Addiction is the most devastating side effect of long-term Ativan use and abuse. It can lead to strained relationships, depleted finances, unemployment, loss of child custody, and an overall unhealthy and meaningless life. But addiction doesnt have to be the end of the story.

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What Are The Signs Of Addiction

When a person struggles with addiction to any substance, including Ativan, they are likely to display behavioral changes, including drug-seeking behavior, compulsively ingesting the substance , and becoming defensive or lying when questioned about the substance abuse.

Ativan is a short-acting benzodiazepine, so it begins to work on the brain almost immediately, but the half-life is two hours after four hours, the major psychiatric effects have dissipated. Short-acting benzodiazepines are often a target of abuse because the euphoria associated with taking them takes hold very quickly.

Withdrawal symptoms can occur in people who take Ativan as prescribed, but they are more likely to occur in people who struggle with Ativan addiction. This is because the body is used to a certain level of the drug to produce GABA neurotransmitters and reduce anxiety or panic. Psychological side effects, like rebound anxiety and insomnia, depression, and cravings, are more likely to occur during withdrawal among people who struggle with Ativan addiction.

Intoxication is a sign of Ativan abuse, and if a person regularly appears to be intoxicated, this may be a sign of addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Slurred speech
  • Respiratory depression, or shallow or irregular breathing
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Paradoxical excitement, including aggression, anxiety, and mood swings
  • Changes in vision

Is Ativan A Controlled Substance

Yes, Ativan is a controlled substance. Its classified as a Schedule four prescription drug. This means that it has an accepted medical use but may also cause physical or psychological dependence and be may be abused.

The government has created special rules for how Schedule IV drugs can be prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a pharmacist. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more.

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Rated For Insomnia Report

First… Everyone responds differently to these types of medications… I took Ambien and had horrible memory loss, irritability, and some depression. Xanax did nothing to calm me down. Generic Ativan worked OK, but I significant withdrawl symptoms compared to the Name Brand Ativan, which works perfectly for me. I take .05mg at bedtime and it allows me sleep peacefully and as close to normally as I used to. I’ll take 1mg if I really want to sleep in the next morning You must be careful with this drug…if you have significant withdrawl symptoms or side efects, it is definitely not for you… try something else.

Ativan Abuse And Overdose Risk

Ativan Addiction

A person can overdose on Ativan by taking too much at once or having it build up in their system. A build-up can occur if another dose of Ativan is taken before the previous dose has been processed.

Benzodiazepines are stored in body fat, which means they remain in the body for a decent length of time. If too much accumulation occurs, the levels of Ativan in the body can reach toxic levels.

It is more likely, however, that overdose will occur when Ativan is taken with another substance. A study published in American Family Physician found that 80 percent of benzodiazepine abuse occurs as polysubstance use, most notably with opioid drugs.

Combining Ativan with central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol, opioids, and other benzodiazepines intensify sedation. This can cause severe respiratory depression that may result in loss of consciousness, coma or death.

Mixing Ativan with stimulant drugs can also be dangerous, as the differing substances counteract each other. A person under the influence of both a depressant and a stimulant may feel less impaired than they would under the influence of just one drug.

This can cause them to take more of either substance in order to increase its effects. Since the drugs interfere with one another, it can be very hard to gauge how much is safe, which makes overdose a significant risk with any type of polysubstance use.

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