Side Effects of Lorazepam Abuse
Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine drug that is typically used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and seizure disorders. It is also sold under the brand name Ativan. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. They are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. Other benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and clonazepam (Klonopin).
Learn more about the short- and long-term effects of lorazepam, and how to get help if you are struggling with benzo addiction.
Zinnia Health has a team of experienced counselors who can help people overcome a lorazepamsubstance use disorder. Our counselors work with you to develop an addiction treatment plan that includes detox, therapy, and support groups. For support, call (855) 430-9439.
What Are Common Side Effects of Lorazepam?
Some of the most common side effects of Ativan include:
- Drowsiness: This can make it difficult to concentrate or stay awake. Drowsiness can also lead to accidents or injuries. If you are taking lorazepam and feel drowsy, do not operate heavy machinery or drive a car.
- Dizziness: This may make you feel lightheaded or unsteady on your feet. If you experience dizziness while taking lorazepam, sit or lie down until the feeling passes. Do not stand up quickly, as this may cause you to faint.
- Nausea: Nausea may occur if you take lorazepam on an empty stomach. If you experience nausea, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat small, frequent meals.
- Constipation: If you experience constipation, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat a high-fiber diet. You may also need to take a laxative.
- Blurred Vision: This side effect is most common when lorazepam is taken in high doses. If you experience blurred vision, be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible.
What Are the Short-term Side Effects of Lorazepam?
Lorazepam can also cause short-term side effects, such as:
- Changes in appetite
- Frequent urination or difficulty urinating
- Decreased sex drive or sexual dysfunction
While most side effects from medications are minor and temporary, some can be more serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment right away:
- A shuffling walk
- An irregular heartbeat
- Persistent trembling or inability to sit still
- A severe skin rash
- Yellowing of skin or eyes
These may be signs of a more serious reaction to the medication.
Is Lorazepam Addictive?
Use of Ativan can lead to psychological and physical dependence. The risk of addiction is highest in people who have a history of substance abuse, but anyone who takes lorazepam for an extended period of time is at risk.
Signs of Ativan abuse include:
- Doctor shopping (going to multiple doctors to get multiple prescriptions)
- Forging or altering prescriptions
- Taking higher doses than prescribed
- Taking lorazepam for reasons other than those for which it was prescribed
If you think you may be addicted to lorazepam, it’s important to seek professional help. Treatment for lorazepam addiction typically includes tapering off the drug under medical supervision, as well as therapy and support groups.
Zinnia Health can provide the support and resources you need to overcome addiction and start on the path to recovery. We have a proven track record of success helping people overcome Ativan addiction and offer comprehensive treatment programs. To get help for you or a loved one, call (855) 430-9439.
What Are the Long-term Side Effects of Lorazepam?
Lorazepam works by tranquilizing the brain and nervous system. While it is effective for many people, there are some potential risks associated with long-term use.
These risks include:
- Tolerance (needing higher doses to achieve the same effect)
- Becoming dependent on it (needing to take the drug just to feel normal)
- Withdrawal (experiencing uncomfortable symptoms when stopping lorazepam use)
- Mental health issues like Increasing anxiety levels
- Cardiovascular problems
- Liver damage
- Increased risk of leukemia
- Elevation of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
It’s important to monitor your respiratory and cardiovascular status, blood pressure, heart rate, and symptoms of anxiety while taking this medication. You should also have your CBC, liver function tests, and LDH checked regularly by your healthcare provider.
Does Lorazepam Affect Your Personality?
Generally, lorezepam does not cause behavioral changes. However, there are certain groups which may be more likely to become more aggressive or experience other behavioral changes.
This includes individuals who are under age 18 or over age 65, as well as people:
- Living in chaotic environments
- With poor impulse control
- With borderline personality disorder or other mental illness
- With a history of behaviorial problems
- With a cognitive impairment
- With autism
- With a brain injury
If you fall into one of these groups, it is important to be aware of the potential risk for benzodiazepine behavioral side effects. However, this does not mean you will necessarily experience these side effects. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking lorazepam before making a decision about treatment.
What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Lorazepam?
Lorazepam can increase the risk of serious or deadly breathing issues, sedation, or unconsciousness if used along with certain prescription drugs, substances, and supplements.
Medications and substances that lorazepam may interact with include:
- Opiate medications for cough, such as codeine or hydrocodone
- Opioids for pain, such as codeine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, and tramadol
- Muscle relaxers
- Illicit substances
What Happens if You Take Lorazepam Every Day?
While they can be effective at treating anxiety and sleeping disorders, benzodiazepines are also highly addictive. One of the main reasons for this is that they work by affecting the brain’s neurotransmitters. These chemicals play an important role in regulating mood, and when they are imbalanced, it can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression.
Benzodiazepines work by increasing the level of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has a calming effect on the brain. However, over time, the brain becomes less sensitive to GABA, and higher doses of benzodiazepines are needed to achieve the same effect. This can lead to addiction and benzodiazepine dependence.
Additionally, stopping taking benzodiazepines and Ativan withdrawal symptoms can be very challenging, and withdrawal should always be done under medical supervision.
Zinnia Health can help people who are addicted to benzodiazepines by providing them with a safe and effective detoxification program. The program includes a variety of tools to combat drug abuse including inpatient and outpatienttreatment options.