Ativan: Dangers of Long-Term Use and Addiction

Ativan is a drug in the benzodiazepine class – a group of drugs, including Xanax and Valium that are often used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and sleep issues. Drugs like Ativan tend to be prescribed for short-term use only, as tolerance to the medication happens quickly. However, anxiety disorders and insomnia are not typically short-term problems. And as doctors discontinue prescribing benzodiazepines, like Ativan, many people still battling these mental health disorders try and find ways to continue getting the drugs, often by “doctor shopping” or obtaining Ativan illegally. Others may abuse drugs like Ativan for the high as it can create feelings of peace and even mild euphoria at high doses. Regardless of the reason for the long-term use of these drugs, an addiction disorder is likely to occur, and more studies are now showing increasing long-term health risks from benzodiazepines like Ativan.

Long-Term Risks 

Studies have linked long-term benzodiazepine use with significant cognitive and emotional problems such as impaired attention span and memory, disruption in sleep cycles, and worsened mood disorders. However, more studies continue to find specific long-term effects such as an increased risk of dementia. According to Harvard Medical School and Harvard Women’s Health Watch, “A team of researchers from France and Canada linked benzodiazepine use to an increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, the greater people’s cumulative dose of benzodiazepines, the higher their risk. The study goes on to conclude, “those who had taken a benzodiazepine for three to six months had a 32% greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and those taking one for more than six months had an 84% greater risk than those who hadn’t taken one.”

Ativan Addiction, Withdrawal and Treatment

After learning of the possible health effects of long-term use of benzodiazepines like Ativan, many may want to stop taking it. However, there are serious potential withdrawal symptoms that can appear such as decreased blood pressure, panic attacks, seizures, and a racing heart, especially if a person stops taking a benzodiazepine all at once. Talk to your doctor about slowly weaning you off your medication or contact a drug treatment program to help you safely withdraw from an Ativan addiction disorder. If you or your loved one suffers from prescription drug addiction and mental health disorder, get help now. Both conditions must be treated simultaneously as a dual diagnosis for the best results in recovery. Take the first step toward freeing yourself from the chains of addiction and get help today and contact us at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.