Ativan Side Effects
Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem across America. Ativan, a benzodiazepine drug known generically as lorazepam, is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. According to an article published by Nevada Public Radio, the number of outpatient physician visits in the U.S. that led to a prescription for a benzodiazepine doubled between 2003 and 2015.1 top However, prescribing rates in Nevada stayed relatively constant between 2013 and 2017, according to the most recent reports available from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.2 p.10
People who take Ativan should understand the potential side effects and dangers of using the drug, including the risk of addiction. This article will provide education on the side effects of Ativan and the negative ways the drug can impact your physical, social, and mental health. It will aim to answer important questions such as, “Does Ativan cause depression?” Can Ativan cause seizures?” “Can Ativan cause hallucinations?” “Can Ativan cause constipation?” and “Can Ativan cause suicidal thoughts?” Lastly, it will explain how you can find help for Ativan addiction so you can take back control of your life.
Why is Ativan Prescribed?
Ativan is mainly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, but it is also used for other conditions, including insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy, nausea and vomiting from cancer treatment, and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Ativan works by slowing down the activity of the central nervous system, resulting in increased feelings of calmness and relaxation. These effects also make you feel drowsy and sleepy.3 why prescribed and 4 #2
Ativan usually begins to work within 20 minutes of taking it. The effects typically last up to 8 hours.4 2
What are the Side Effects of Ativan?
As with other medications in the benzodiazepine class, Ativan can cause short-term side effects. Some tend to be mild, while others may be more serious. How long do Ativan side effects last? There is no set time frame; it usually depends on individual factors such as how much Ativan you used, how long you used it, and your unique physiological and psychological makeup. You should call your doctor if you experience side effects that do not go away.
The most common side effects of Ativan are drowsiness, sleepiness, an inability to concentrate, and impaired coordination.5 possible side effects Nausea and dizziness are other possible side effects. While these side effects can cause discomfort, they are not typically seen as dangerous.3 side effects
MedlinePlus reports that other potential Ativan side effects can include:3 side effects *I did not find any references about “Ativan hot flashes”, only anecdotal reports, so I am including that by “fever” in the serious side effects section
- Ativan hot flashes.
- Dry mouth.
- Appetite changes.
- Feeling restless.
- Problems urinating.
- Painful urination.
- Blurry vision.
- Changes in libido.
- Changes in your sexual abilities.
In some cases, people can suffer from more severe side effects. If you experience the following, it is important to contact your physician as soon as possible.3 serious side effects
- A shuffling walk.
- A persistent tremor.
- An inability to sit still.
- Fever, which can feel like Ativan hot flashes.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- A severe skin rash.
- Yellowing of skin or eyes (jaundice).
- An irregular heartbeat.
Ativan can cause other potential side effects not listed here, so if you experience any unusual or troubling symptoms while using this medication, seek immediate medical attention.3 side effects bottom
Ativan & Mental Health
Some people say, “Ativan makes me depressed.” Others have heard that some people experience Ativan hallucinations. You may be wondering if these are common mental health symptoms of Ativan use. While feelings of depression, hallucinations, and suicidal thoughts or actions are rare with Ativan use, they are serious and require prompt medical intervention. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that some people who use Ativan may also experience irritability, a low mood, or a “lack of interest in life,” which is known as anhedonia.5 possible side effects
NAMI states that some people have reported serious memory impairment from Ativan use, especially if they are using it to help them sleep. They have experienced uncontrollable behaviors while they are either almost asleep or already sleeping, such as driving, making phone calls, or preparing and eating food. Upon awakening, they have no memory of those events. These potentially harmful behaviors can be distressing to those taking the medication and the people who live with them.5 possible side effects
One serious behavioral consequence of Ativan use is the effect it can have on your ability to drive. Taking Ativan, even if used as prescribed, can severely impact your decision-making abilities and reaction time while driving. A clinical review published in 2014 in the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy reported on two studies that demonstrated the potentially dangerous mental health effects of Ativan on driving abilities and cognition. One study showed that using benzodiazepines like Ativan can double your risk of a motor vehicle crash, and the other reported that Ativan use can have a “more than a two-fold higher risk of automobile collision.”6 under table 1 psychotropic medications: benzodiazepines
Another more serious mental health effect of Ativan was demonstrated in a study published in 2006 in the journal Anesthesiology. This study examined the effects of lorazepam on “mechanically ventilated patients to determine the probability of daily transition to delirium.” Delirium is a potentially dangerous and lethal brain condition that causes confusion, disturbances in consciousness, and problems with cognition. This study showed that participants using lorazepam were found to be at a significant risk of “transitioning to delirium,” one of Ativan’s most potentially dangerous long-term side
Ativan’s Effect on Your Heart
People often wonder, “Is Ativan bad for your heart?” In fact, benzodiazepines can affect the heart. In some cases, these medications may be used to treat different heart conditions and their associated symptoms. Two papers published in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychodynamics state that “low-to-moderate doses of adjunct benzodiazepines seem to be helpful in silent myocardial ischemia, angina, essential hypertension, and CHF, especially in patients with comorbid anxiety.”8 conclusion
However, people should be aware of the adverse effects of benzodiazepines like Ativan and the ways these side effects can mimic those found in certain cardiac conditions. According to a clinical review in the Journal of Clinical Medicine,these symptoms can include bradycardia (slow heart rate), tachycardia (fast heart rate), hypo- or hypertension (high or low blood pressure), and fever. They may also be associated with disorders that Ativan is prescribed to treat, like posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and somatic disorder (a disorder that involves placing extreme focus on physical symptoms to the extent that they actually become problems).9 table 2
People who are dependent on Ativan—meaning they need it to function and feel normal—can experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using it. Withdrawal from Ativan can result in overactivity of the central nervous system, resulting in cardiac symptoms like sweating and tachycardia.9 table 4 Other cardiac issues during withdrawal may include heart palpitations, changes in blood pressure, or a rapid heart rate.5 what is the most important information 4th paragraph and 10 paragraph above “what are they”
Combining medications can be especially dangerous for your heart. One study published in the Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry found that combining lorazepam and clozapine (a type of antipsychotic) can result in sudden cardiac death. The journal Drugs: Real World Outcomes published another study reporting that high doses of benzodiazepines may be associated with an increased risk of cardiac arrest.11 intro and 12 conclusion
Long-Term Side Effects of Ativan
Ativan is not intended for long-term use. Using it longer than prescribed may have negative consequences to your physical and mental health. Not only can you develop dependence, but you can also suffer from tolerance, meaning that you need to use more Ativan to experience previous effects. These two conditions do not necessarily cause addiction, but they can contribute to its development.5 are there any long term risks
Long-term Ativan use can cause neurocognitive impairment, meaning symptoms that affect your brain functioning and cognition. According to a study published in the Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, long-term benzodiazepine use can cause “negative effects for the cognitive domains of working memory, processing speed, divided attention, visuoconstruction, recent memory, and expressive language.” People who successfully stopped using Ativan after long-term use were also found to suffer from negative effects to their “recent memory, processing speed, visuoconstruction, divided attention, working memory, and sustained attention.” These problems can persist even after you stop taking the drug.13 results and conclusion
In addition, withdrawal can be a problematic long-term side effect of Ativan. Along with the cardiac symptoms mentioned above, withdrawal symptoms may include:14 top
- Rebound anxiety.
- Sleep problems.
- Hand tremor.
- Panic attacks.
- Problems concentrating.
- Weight loss.
- Muscle pain.
- Changes in perception.
Social Effects of Ativan Addiction
Ativan addiction harms not just to the person who abuses the drug, but also those in their social circle. According to a paper published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, the social problems of addiction may include relationship distress and family problems—divorce, abuse, financial hardship, home loss, job loss or job performance issues, and legal consequences including incarceration and criminal behaviors, to name a few.15 #1 and #2
It’s important to keep in mind that people who are addicted to Ativan are no longer in control of their substance use. They cannot just stop using once the cycle of addiction has begun. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that causes a person to continue drug use despite the negative physical, mental, and social consequences.16 what is drug addiction
Finding Help for Ativan Addiction
If you or someone you love is addicted to Ativan, you should know that professional rehab can help you take back control of your life and stop the cycle of drug abuse before it’s too late. American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of Ativan addiction rehab services in Nevada and nationwide. We offer personalized treatment plans that take into account all of your unique needs, including treatment for dual diagnosis (a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression or bipolar disorder) or other physical and mental health problems. Our compassionate staff wants to help you (or your loved one) recover from substance abuse so you can lead a happier, healthier, and more productive life. If you’re ready to reach out, please call our free, confidential helpline any time of day or night and speak to a Treatment Advisor who can help you get started on the path to recovery.