Ativan belongs in the benzodiazepine class of drugs and is prescribed to persons suffering from severe mental disorders such as anxiety. It is highly potent, making it very addictive. The National Institute of Health refers to Ativan as an anxiolytic because its chemical formula is 7-chloro-5-(o-chlorophenyl) 1,3-dihydro-3-hydroxy-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one. This white water-soluble powder is usually ingested in tablets that have 0.5mg, 1mg, or 2mg of lorazepam. Ativan is instantly absorbed into the bloodstream when ingested, causing a tranquilizing sensation in the nervous system.
What Happens When Ativan Is Ingested?
Ativan is highly soluble, so it becomes potent in the plasma within just two hours of ingesting it. A simple 2mg dosage of Ativan turns into a 20ng/ml in the plasma. The effects of Ativan last between 12 and 18 hours, but when injected, its effects last 20% longer.
Ativan usually is available as an oral solution, injectable, or tablet. Since Ativan in its tablet form takes longer to affect the central nervous system, some people opt to crush it and snort it in powder form. Alternatively, others opt for the injectable so as to have a faster and more intense effect of the drug. It is worth noting that snorting Ativan is highly addictive and can cause some severe health issues, especially concerning the respiratory system.
A 2010 study conducted by the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine showed that an estimated 30% of the deaths from abuse and overdose of pharmaceutical drugs could be attributed to benzodiazepines such as Ativan. Additionally, it was confirmed that 70% of the deaths caused by overdosing on benzodiazepines were intentional. This probably comes from the depressive and anxiety-related withdrawal symptoms of Ativan.
How Does Ativan High Feel Like?
Ativan is meant to treat anxiety disorders that come from depression. It provides the user with short-term relief from anxiety disorder symptoms. Therefore, people who use Ativan due to the usual anxiety and stress from their daily routine are abusing it. The short-term relief of Ativan is advised to be at below four months of use. If a patient strictly follows the prescription and directions of the physician, then they will not feel high. The drug will be ingested in a balanced state that will be serving its purpose. It will help in balancing out the unstable nervous system.
The high feeling that comes from Ativan is similar to that of Xanax. They are both benzodiazepines that are used to stabilize the effects of anxiety disorder. The effects of Ativan do not last as long as that of Xanax. However, studies show that if a person who is not suffering from an anxiety or depression-related disorder takes Ativan, they can get euphoric or high feeling within the first thirty minutes to an hour of ingesting it. This euphoric feeling will last as long as five to eight hours, and the person will experience a sedation effect.
Note that Ativan suppresses the activity of the central nervous system and makes it extremely slow. This may not cause long-term effects initially, but with time it can cause permanent effects and severe health issues. Ativan has physical severe side effects, namely:
- Muscle weakness
- Blurry vision
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Decreased or increased urinary frequency
- Increased or reduced appetite
- Dry mouth
- Sleep issues
- Sexual dysfunction
Ativan also has severe behavioural effects that have been known to make the person struggling with addiction destroy their close relationships and fail to fulfill their obligations. It might also cause the person with substance abuse problems to commit serious crimes such as theft, grievous bodily harm, and trespassing to access the drug.
How Does Ativan Cause an Overdose?
If you are worried that your loved one might overdose on Ativan, then you might want to know if they are euphoric (high) or experiencing an Ativan overdose. The sedative nature of Ativan makes it slow down the brain processes, which slows down the body in general. When it is consumed excessively, it will cause an overdose. When a person struggling with addiction is experiencing an overdose, the respiratory system slows down excessively, depriving the major organs and the brain of oxygen. This will lead to death if immediate help is not sought.
When a person has overdosed on Ativan, you need to look out for the first signs such as –
- Memory impairment
- Ataxia (no control over the movement of their body)
- Nystagmus (no control over eye movement)
- Slurred speech
- Reduced brain functioning
If the person with drug abuse problems keeps intoxicated with Ativan, the situation worsens and develops into a full-blown overdose. This is very severe and can cause permanent health issues or death. Full-blown Ativan overdose causes the person with substance abuse problems to be in a coma, severely depressed or anxious, stupor, or even death. Ativan overdose is severe, and it needs to be addressed immediately.
Lack of oxygen in the brain for an extended period is likely to cause brain damage. When a person with drug abuse problems is overdosing, the first thing that the medic will do is to analyze the airway to make sure that it looks normal. If the person with substance abuse problems has breathing complications, the doctor will offer assisted respiration or fix a ventilator to help them breathe as they seek more help.
The person with drug abuse problems will then be treated for cardiovascular issues such as having an irregular heartbeat. Once the breathing issues and cardiovascular problems have normalized, the medic will use activated charcoal to treat the person with drug abuse problems. Activated charcoal binds itself to toxic substances in the body and removes them through the bodily tissues. An alternative treatment option to benzodiazepine overdose is flumazenil, which reverses benzodiazepines such as Ativan. Flumazenil is also referred to as romazicon.
Flumazenil is not a popular treatment option because it is not as effective. Even though it does perform its reversal function, it does not entirely reverse the sedative effects of Ativan. Additionally, it has been known to cause seizures. A person who has suffered Ativan overdose needs to be under constant monitoring and medical care.