We all feel anxious from time to time.
And you can probably remember plenty of times when you felt an acute sense of anxiety.
Perhaps you had a big test, interview, or audition coming up. Maybe you needed to make a major presentation or give a speech to a full room. Maybe you were gearing up to ask someone out on a date—or working up the courage to propose. Or maybe you were watching your child try something difficult on their own for the very first time.
Many situations can lead to a feeling of anxiety. But, for most people, those anxious feelings subside after the situation is resolved.
But for other people, the anxiety is ongoing, even in the absence of a clear cause. In those cases, a person may be desperate to find some relief and turn to their doctor for help. The doctor may prescribe Ativan, a benzodiazepine (benzo for short) that is effective at calming the racing mind.
That sounds great, right? And it often is. Like other benzos (Xanax, Valium, Librium, Klonopin, and others), Ativan works by reducing the amount of activity in the brain. That slowing of racing thoughts and the anxious feelings that accompany them can result in real relief.
But that real relief can sometimes morph into a real problem.
Aggressively Pursuing the Euphoria of Ativan
When you have been experiencing ceaseless anxiety for a long period, relief can feel like a miracle. A person taking Ativan might feel a sense of euphoria that they have never felt before. And they may be eager to maintain—or even increase—those good feelings any way they can.
That desire can lead to any number of sketchy decisions:
- Taking the drug more often or at higher doses than prescribed
- Visiting multiple doctors (a practice known as “doctor shopping”) to try to acquire more Ativan prescriptions
- Attempting to forge prescriptions
- Stealing the drug from others who have prescriptions for it
- Finding an illicit source for the drug
You might undertake some combination of those behaviors and justify it to yourself in terms of just trying to keep a good thing going. The problem, however, is that the good thing—the euphoria and sense of well-being you have been experiencing—is about to turn bad in dangerous and alarming ways.
Misuse Means Good Feelings Turn Miserable All Too Quickly
The misuse of Ativan can quickly lead to the development of a substance use disorder. As that happens, a range of symptoms—both physical and psychological—will begin to assert themselves:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Confusion and/or hallucinations
- Loss of consciousness and/or sleeping to excess
- Loss of interesting in previously enjoyed activities
- Broken relationships
- Legal and/or financial difficulties related to drug use
Suddenly, Ativan is not so much a balm for anxious feelings. Instead, it is causing plenty of problems for you to feel anxious about. Among those problems: the difficulties of withdrawal.
Stopping Is a Lot More Difficult Than Starting
As you take more and more Ativan, your body and brain become accustomed to having the drug in your system. When you try to stop taking the drug, you are likely to experience a number of intense withdrawal symptoms:
- Increased feelings of anxiety (a cruel irony to be sure)
- Intense cravings for Ativan
- Increased risk of developing a depression-centered mental health disorder
- Abdominal cramping
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate and/or heart palpitations
- Seizures (fortunately, these are rare)
At this point, you may feel trapped. You want to stop taking the drug, but you can’t seem to overcome the withdrawal symptoms. Meanwhile, your anxiety may well have returned in force, making it difficult to determine what you should do next.
What you should do next is this: Get help at a residential treatment facility.
A Decision You Need Not Be Anxious About: Coming to Wooded Glen Recovery Center
At Wooded Glen Recovery Center, we will see you through medically supervised detoxification and a rehabilitation program designed to give you the support, resources, and strategies you need to maintain your regained sobriety. We will address co-occurring mental health disorders—including the anxiety that led to your use of Ativan—because sobriety and mental well-being go hand-in-hand. In conclusion, we are eager to put our expertise and commitment to work for you so that you can take back control of your life.