Ativan Symptoms and Warning Signs

Modified: 10th Jul 2019

Last updated on July 10th, 2019 at 10:24 am

Approximately 31.1 percent of adults in the United States experience symptoms of an anxiety disorder at any given time. To help them find relief from their symptoms, many of these individuals turn to prescription anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan.

When people rely on Ativan for anxiety for too long, many people end up becoming dependent. This commonly occurs with not only Ativan, but with other substances under the Benzodiazepine drug group.

If you have a loved one who has been taking this drug for an extended period of time, there’s a possibility it’s harming them more than it’s helping them.

Listed below are some important Ativan symptoms and warning signs for which you ought to be on the lookout.

Symptoms of Addiction to Ativan

If an individual is addicted to or abusing Ativan, they will likely experience a number of physical, behavioral, and emotional symptoms. Some common symptoms associated with Ativan addiction include:

  • Slowed response times
  • Diminished coordination and motor skills
  • Decreased breathing rates
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Diminished memory
  • Decreased interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Mood swings, irritability, or aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Isolating oneself from their family or friends 

People who are addicted to Ativan may also find that they experience financial problems or legal problems related to their prolonged Ativan use. 

Warning Signs a Loved One May Be Abusing Ativan

The symptoms listed above are some general symptoms someone might experience when they are addicted to Ativan.

At the same time, though, there are also some more specific symptoms a person might experience based on their age.

For example, a child who is addicted to Ativan will behave differently than a parent who is addicted to the drug.

Is My Child Using Ativan?

If your child is addicted to Ativan, they may begin to exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Sudden, inexplicable changes in grades and academic performance
  • The development of a glazed expression
  • Abandoning friends or beginning to hang out with a new friend group
  • Abandoning social activities they once enjoyed
  • Evasively answering questions about where they’ve been or what they’ve been doing 
  • Mood swings or sudden behavioral changes
  • Memory problems or difficulty focusing
  • Money missing from your wallet or items missing from around the house
  • Weight loss and/or appetite changes

It’s also common for teens to get sick more frequently when they abuse drugs. This is because many drugs, when taken long-term, suppress the immune system.

Is My Parent Using Ativan?

If your parent is addicted to Ativan, you may notice some of these signs or symptoms:

  • Losing track of time (forgetting what day it is, what time of day it is, etc.)
  • Sudden decrease in coordination (unsteady walking, falls, etc.)
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Mood swings or changes in personality
  • Decreased energy levels

When older adults are abusing medications like Ativan, it’s easy to miss. Many people brush off the signs of drug abuse or addiction as mere signs of getting older.

It’s important to take a close look at your parent, though, to make sure any changes they’re going through are not actually a sign of drug abuse.

It can be hard to address these symptoms, especially when it’s your parent who is exhibiting them. But, if you notice them, it’s important to encourage your parent to get help. Sometimes, the best way to do this is by arranging an intervention.

Intervention for Ativan Abuse

An intervention can be a very powerful tool when you’re trying to communicate with a loved one about the ramifications of their drug use (both to themselves and others in their lives). 

There are a number of benefits that come with arranging an intervention, including the following:

  • A structured opportunity to show support and encourage your loved one to accept treatment
  • Time to provide your loved one with specific examples of their destructive behavior
  • A group approach can be more motivating than a one-on-one discussion
  • An opportunity for everyone to get on the same page so the healing process can begin

In order to reap the benefits of an intervention, though, it’s important to make sure you organize it properly. Keep the following guidelines in mind when arranging your intervention to increase the likelihood of it being a success:

  • Choose your group appropriately — involve friends and family members who have your loved one’s best interests at heart and will stay calm during the meeting
  • Arrange it at the right time — ideally, it will be during a sober moment when they can think clearly and be more receptive to others’ perspectives
  • Arrange it in a private location — it’s best to hold an intervention in someone’s home, rather than in a public place
  • Hold rehearsals and put together a script (don’t let emotion take over in the heat of the moment)
  • Develop a backup plan in case your loved one is not as receptive as you would like

Finally, remember to be patient. Don’t give up your loved one, even if they are not receptive right away. Let them know that you love them and are there for them when they’re ready to change.

Watch Out for These Ativan Symptoms and Warning Signs

Now that you know more about some common Ativan symptoms and warning signs, it’s time to take a look at your loved one’s life and ask yourself whether or not they’re in need of an intervention. 

If your child, parent, or another loved one is abusing Ativan, it’s important to encourage them to seek help as soon as possible.

Are you unsure of how to proceed with an intervention? Are you unsure of the best type of support for your loved one?

It’s normal to be confused or frustrated in these situations. If you’re not sure where to turn, we can help at Addiction Treatment Services.

Contact us today online or by phone to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and resources.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.