Lorazepam is the generic name for Ativan, a drug also sold as Lorazepam Intensol, according to the US National Library of Medicine. A benzodiazepine, Ativan is mostly prescribed to treat anxiety. The drug slows brain activity and can provide a feeling of calm. This feeling of relaxation is often addictive. Consequently, teens who experiment with the drug develop a dependence that can destroy their lives.
Why Is Ativan Prescribed?
Ativan is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and other ailments, including:
- Agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal
- Irritable bowel syndrome
When taken for an extended period of time, the body develops a tolerance to the drug. Consequently, higher doses become necessary to achieve the same level of relaxation and relief. Because of this, patients are advised to:
- Follow the doctor’s prescription exactly
- Avoid taking Ativan for longer than four months
- To not stop using the drug suddenly due to the withdrawal symptoms
- Talk to a doctor if you have concerns about developing dependence or addiction.
Prescription Drug Use Can Be Dangerous
Use is dangerous due to the number of side effects. It’s not uncommon to experience fatigue, weakness, dry mouth, diarrhea, constipation, and more.
More serious side effects can include tremors, an inability to sit still, fever, skin rash, yellowing skin or eyes, and more. These can be worse in adolescents. Hence, if teens take too much of the drug or combine it with another illicit substance, overdose can result.
Myths Related to Teen Ativan Abuse?
Some of the most common myths related to teen drug abuse include:
- “My child doesn’t have access.” Every teen has access to drugs. Even if there is no prescription in your home, they might find them in a friend’s medicine cabinet.
- “It’s okay for my teen to use drugs or alcohol at home.” A permissive attitude to drug use opens the door to early use. Teens believe drugs and alcohol are safe if adults give them the impression that it’s okay to use them.
- “Teen drug use and experimentation is normal.” A teenager’s brain is developing. Any use of drugs and alcohol can be devastating and limit growth.
- “If my teen abuses drugs, there’s nothing I can do about it.” Studies show that teens respect their parents’ opinion. They are more likely to avoid drug use or limit their experimentation if their parents are against it.
- “If I restrict my teen it will only make him break the rules even more.” Children need structure and boundaries. Teens are still children. Allow them to earn privileges by making responsible choices and following the rules.
How Do Teens Abuse Ativan?
There are different ways teens abuse prescription drugs like Ativan, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for Teens. Few teens are prescribed Ativan but some do have a prescription. Furthermore, other teens may access their family members’ prescriptions or get the drug from friends. Most relevant, we must realize kids can always access drugs.
Ativan abuse occurs when your teen:
- Takes the drug without a prescription
- Fakes symptoms to get pills
- Takes more than prescribed
- Uses the drug in combination with other substances like alcohol or marijuana
- Crushes the pills before swallowing them
- Crushes the pills and turns them into liquid to inject the drug
Those who use the drug for a certain feeling or to escape are more likely to develop an addiction. Consequently, it is important to monitor teens closely.
Why Some People Develop an Addiction to Ativan and Others Don’t
If your teen experiments with Ativan it doesn’t mean it will lead to addiction. Some get lucky and can walk away–many do not. Because of the dangers, it is always wise to seek other types of treatment for anxiety.
The factors involved in the development of an Ativan addiction can include:
- Regular abuse of Ativan or other benzodiazepines
- A co-occurring mental health disorder
- Continued, easy access to Ativan and similar drugs
- Environmental approval of drug and alcohol abuse
- Self-esteem issues
- Problems at home (e.g., to a move, a divorce, etc.)
Problems like these can increase chances of dependence. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant.
If My Teen Is Abusing Ativan, What Can I Do?
If your teen is abusing Ativan, you have options. You can:
- Talk to teens about drug use
- Make it clear that you do not support it
- Set boundaries. Make it clear that using drugs and alcohol for any reason is against the rules. Let them know what the consequences will be and always follow through
- If your teen continues to break the rules or experiences a medical, legal, or academic issue due to drug abuse, seek treatment.
Where Can I Find a Teen Rehab Program?
At Newport Academy, we offer inpatient and outpatient drug abuse treatment. We offer a wide range of treatment options. In conclusion, we can help your teen build a strong foundation in recovery.
We help the entire family in healing from a teenager’s drug and alcohol abuse and help everyone involved to move forward. Therefore, we teach parents new communication skills and how to be supportive without enabling. As a result, we have created a very successful teen rehab program. Contact us at Newport Academy today to learn more.