Menu Close

Ativan and Other Benzos: How They Work and Why They Are Abused

a person holds their head on a bed wondering how ativan works

Addictions to prescription medications continue to spike across the country. Likely most well-known is the opioid epidemic. However, other drugs are gaining traction and causing people to fall down the slippery slope of substance abuse and addiction. Benzodiazepines, or benzos, like Ativan, carry similar addiction potential to opioids. Unfortunately, many people who rely on drugs like Ativan also struggle with a mental health disorder, making treatment for the addiction more complex.

At Northpoint Seattle, our benzo addiction treatment programs provide outpatient support for people on the road to recovery. It is never too late to start the journey to a happier, healthier future. Our medical professionals and recovery specialists know how important it is to receive compassionate support to build the foundation for a sober future. Call 888.483.6031 to get started.

What Is Ativan?

Ativan is the brand name for the prescription medication lorazepam. Doctors use the drug to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. The medication works by slowing down the nervous system. As a result, people who take Ativan feel more relaxed. However, the drug also comes with a long list of side effects, including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Unsteady walking
  • Blurred vision

This medication is just one of the many benzos that physicians use to help their patients find relief from mental and neurological disorders.

How Do Benzos Work?

Benzos increase the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This neurotransmitter slows down communication between neurons, which has a calming effect on people. GABA also helps to prevent seizures.

The calming effect of the drugs is one of the leading causes of benzo abuse. Additionally, some people may misuse the drug to manage anxiety or cope with stress. However, benzodiazepines are only intended for short-term use due to the high risk of developing an addiction.

People who abuse benzos may:

  • Take larger doses than prescribed
  • Use the drug more often than directed
  • Crush and snort the pills
  • Mix them with alcohol or other substances
  • Use them without a prescription

What Makes Benzos So Addictive?

People become addicted to benzos mainly because they begin to build up a tolerance to the drug. When this happens, people need higher doses of the medication to achieve the same effects. As people continue to increase their dosage, they eventually become dependent on the drug.

Dependence occurs when the brain can no longer function properly without the drug. People who are dependent may display other signs of addiction, including:

  • Preoccupation with using the drug
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Continued use despite harmful consequences

When people try to quit taking benzos cold turkey, they may experience such severe withdrawal symptoms that they feel like they need to keep taking the drug just to avoid feeling sick.

Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from benzos can be difficult and uncomfortable. However, it is important to remember that withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening. With the help of a medical professional, you can detox safely and comfortably.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with benzos include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you or someone you love is struggling with benzo addiction, please call us today at Northpoint Seattle. Our caring and compassionate team can help you on the road to recovery.

Benzo Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Seattle

If you or a loved one is struggling with benzo addiction, there is no better time to find help than now. We offer comprehensive outpatient treatment programs to meet your unique needs. Our programs include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Aftercare planning

Regaining control of your life does not have to be isolating. With the help of a compassionate, supportive team, you can break free from the grips of addiction. To learn more about our benzo addiction treatment programs, call us today at 888.483.6031.