The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 88,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes. Many of the deaths are the result of a combination of alcohol mixed with other substances. The most popular combinations are alcohol and prescription painkillers. However, many individuals drink alcohol while using cocaine, sedatives, marijuana, ecstasy, and more. For this discussion, let’s look at the prevalence and dangers of mixing Ativan with alcohol.
Ativan (Lorazepam) is one of the most widely prescribed and abused drugs on the market today. In fact, in one year alone, approximately 15 million prescriptions were written for this drug. Ativan is a benzodiazepine and is prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures, and sleep disorders. Of course, as with many other prescription drugs, Ativan is intended for short-term use only. However, most people ignore this advisory and find that they are dependent on or addicted to the drug.
Why You Shouldn’t Mix Ativan and Alcohol
When prescribing Ativan, the physician will advise against drinking alcohol while using the drug. Unfortunately, far too many people ignore the warning and suffer terrible consequences.
What happens when mixing Ativan and alcohol? First of all, both Ativan and alcohol are central nervous system depressants. Therefore, they make a person feel relaxed, happy, and sleepy. However, with large amounts, the effects can become life-threatening. For instance, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reports that in six years, about one million emergency room admissions involved a combination of benzodiazepines and alcohol, opioids, or both.
Side Effects of Alcohol:
- Slurred speech
- Upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea
- Distorted hearing and vision
- Impaired judgment, driving while drinking
- Poor coordination, injuries
- Breathing difficulties
- Alcohol poisoning
- Unconsciousness, blackouts, memory loss
- Liver disease, nerve damage, heart disease, sexual dysfunction
Side Effects of Ativan:
- Tiredness, drowsiness
- Dizziness, headache
- Muscle weakness
- Poor coordination
- Nausea, vomiting, poor appetite
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
Surprisingly, alcohol and Ativan produce many of the same side effects. Therefore, when the two substances are taken simultaneously, the effects can increase dramatically.
Side Effects and Dangers of Mixing Ativan and Alcohol
One of the most significant dangers of mixing Ativan with alcohol is the risk of suppressed respiration that ultimately leads to death. This happens because alcohol is a depressant, and Ativan is a sedative.
Therefore, using both substances together can affect the central nervous system causing a variety of symptoms such as:
- Sluggish reflexes
- Delusions. mania
- Respiratory depression
- Severe confusion
- Dangerous mood swings
- Suicidal ideation
- Cutting disorder
- Loss of consciousness
Generally, teens and young adults are often unaware of the dangers of mixing prescription medications with alcohol. They think the drugs are safe because a doctor prescribed them. Furthermore, most people in this age group mistakenly believe alcohol is safe because it is legal and almost everyone drinks. As a result of their lack of knowledge or their willingness to ignore the facts has led to far too many overdose deaths.
How to Stop Abusing Alcohol and Ativan
Prolonged abuse of alcohol puts a person at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to get sober. Also, a person who tries to abstain from using Ativan will suffer a range of symptoms that are similar to alcohol withdrawals.
These symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Intense cravings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Agitation, anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
Of course, these symptoms can force a person to seek more of the substance. For this reason, please seek professional help right away. Also, the best option for successfully overcoming this addiction is an inpatient facility that offers a comprehensive approach to treatment.
What to Expect in an Inpatient Facility
Specifically, the program should offer a secure, comforting environment where patients can relax and focus on healing. Next, the staff should show respect to patients at all times and be available when needed. Also, since everyone responds to treatment differently, the program should be open-ended, allowing patients to take the time they need to heal.
It’s also important that the program is flexible enough to allow patients to create an individualized treatment approach. Why is this necessary? Studies show that recovering addicts respond best to a program they feel comfortable with. For instance, a person who has strong religious convictions will benefit more from a faith-based program. Conversely, others may prefer to undergo treatment in a secular program.
Some of the treatment options you can expect include, but are not limited to:
- Group and Individual Counseling
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Moral Reconation Therapy
- Music and Art Therapy
- Nutritional Guidance
- Life Skills Training
- Communication Skills
- Anger Management
- Relapse Prevention
To learn more about treatment options for someone who is mixing Ativan and alcohol, contact addiction recovery specialists.