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Ativan Detox Centers

Medically Reviewed By: Benjamin Caleb Williams RN, BA, CEN

Written By: Gary Bowers

Article Updated: 01/24/2021

Ativan is a powerful sedative medication of the benzodiazepine (benzo) family of drugs that can be difficult to stop using. Ativan detox centers are here to assist. This guide will help anyone looking for information about the detox process, what medications may be used, and how medical monitoring works. It’s important to remember that recovery is always possible, and Ativan detox centers are ready to help!

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When Is An Ativan Detox Center Recommended?

Ativan detox centers would be highly recommended in any case where Ativan has been abused. Even when used as prescribed, Ativan can be highly addictive. It can be easy to build a tolerance to Ativan, meaning more of the drug is needed to produce the original effect. Excessive use can lead to physical dependency which can result in deadly consequences if someone stops taking Ativan abruptly.

Some situations that might suggest an Ativan detox center is especially recommended can include:

History of Seizures

Ativan acts on the central nervous system, depressing brain activity. The way Ativan works is by altering the way an inhibitory neurotransmitter, namely GABA, works in the brain. This is a calming neurotransmitter that is used, among other things, to change the seizure threshold. Through Ativan addiction, the brain makes changes that reduce the impact of GABA, and when Ativan use suddenly ceases, the seizure threshold becomes lowered, sometimes greatly. This increases the likelihood that a seizure will occur, and if someone had a prior history of seizures, then this risk grows significantly. This effect can result in seizures, and occasionally, death. There can be significant risks if someone attempts to quit taking Ativan without the help of trained medical professionals at Ativan detox centers. The risk of seizure applies to anyone, especially those who took large amounts of Ativan or had a prior history of seizures.

Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues

Ativan detox can also trigger severe psychological symptoms. This can be especially challenging for someone who began taking Ativan as part of mental health treatment. Anyone with the following mental health history will be at high risk during detox and will benefit from the observations and therapy Ativan detox centers offer:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Depression
  • Mood Disorders
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Previous Suicide Attempt

The Intake Process

Initiating treatment is the priority during the intake process at Ativan detox centers. The intake staff will begin gathering information necessary to begin treatment. When providing personalized and specific care is the goal, the more information the staff has, the better.

The intake process can be broken into 3 parts: check-in, health assessment, interview.

  1. Check-In: During check-in, Ativan detox center staff will collect information on the patient. Paperwork and documents will need to be completed. Details on insurance, emergency contact, and current medical care providers will be obtained.
  2. Health Assessment: Initial health assessments will likely be fairly simple. The information gained from the intake assessment will help the staff determine what, if any, detox symptoms are present. Other health concerns will be noted during this time. A quick physical exam would include checking vital signs and drawing blood for routine drug toxicology tests. Excessive Ativan use can cause liver damage, as can many other drugs, so blood work may be done to check liver function to get a clearer picture of the exact risks.
  3. Interview: Intake staff will conduct an interview to assess the extent of Ativan use, other drug use history, mental health history, and a variety of other factors that may contribute to the safety and comfort of detox. Understanding the history of Ativan use can help the staff anticipate symptoms and prepare a treatment plan. The interview would include questions about how much Ativan was typically taken, how frequently it was taken, and for how long. The staff will also need to know if other drugs or alcohol are being used.

Treatment will begin as soon as possible after the intake processes have been completed.

Medical Monitoring of Ativan Detox Related Dangers

Medical monitoring during Ativan detox is a key component of quality care. Ativan detox centers will have staff available 24/7 for monitoring, and visits with doctors, psychiatrists, and detox center staff will be frequent. Detox from Ativan can be deadly if not managed properly, and mental health will be particularly affected. Having staff on hand can dramatically improve both the safety of detox and the outcomes of treatment.

Ativan detox center staff will monitor and treat all detox symptoms, intervening medically when required, and providing support through the entire process. The of Ativan detox are:

  • Seizures: Monitoring and treatment can greatly reduce the risk of seizures or the danger they may pose.
  • Tremors & Shaking
  • Insomnia & Sleep Disturbances
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting & Diarrhea: These symptoms can be dangerous if untreated, especially if there are co-occu8rring health issues like heart disease or diabetes.
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Suicidal Ideation: Close monitoring and psychiatric support can help mitigate and address the initial risks and access to therapy will be provided.

There are risks in attempting to detox from Ativan without medical supervision. Ativan detox centers will have the capability and expertise to mitigate risk and promote safety.

Ativan Withdrawal Timeline

Medications Used By Ativan Detox Centers

The body – and the brain – will be in a state of change during detox. Ativan detox centers will utilize medications to treat the many symptoms experienced during detox. The needs of the individual will inform the direction doctors take when prescribing medications. Some medications will only be needed in the short-term, used simply to help address urgent symptoms, and restore natural body systems. Other medications may be needed as part of a long-term treatment plan.

There are not any FDA-approved medications specifically for Ativan withdrawal. When complete cessation isn’t possible, doctors will create a tapering schedule, which will provide smaller and smaller doses until Ativan is no longer present in the body.

The following list will provide a sample of the types of medications used during detox. This list isn’t intended to be comprehensive – doctors and psychiatrists will implement a personalized medical treatment plan based on the needs of the individual.

  • Anticonvulsants: Anticonvulsant medications will be used to help restore brain chemistry. A GABA agent such as Gabapentin may be prescribed to serve this function. These medications would likely be part of short or medium-term treatment plans unless the patient has a pre-existing neurological condition such as epilepsy
  • Antidepressants and Non-Benzo Anti-Anxiety Medications: Anxiety and depression can be treated with a variety of medications, most of which will work by affecting brain chemistry. Depression and chronic anxiety are often –treated with well-known medications such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil. These drugs are all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by regulating the amount of serotonin in the brain. These medications work more effectively over time, and would likely be prescribed as part of a long-term treatment plan.

Acute or episodic anxiety will be treated with faster-acting, shorter-lasting medications. Some examples of non-habit-forming anxiolytics would be buspirone and the antihistamine, hydroxyzine. These medications may be part of a long-term treatment plan, but would only be taken as needed.

  • Sleep Aids: Quality sleep is a vital component of overall health. Doctors may prescribe sleep medications to promote better sleep. Sleep patterns will be disrupted heavily during early detox, but will likely improve over time. Stronger sleep medications such as zolpidem (Ambien) may be used early on, with use tapering off in favor of weaker medications.

Therapy During Ativan Detox

The various forms of talk therapy offered by Ativan detox centers will be an important part of the experience. Therapy is crucial to recovery because it addresses the underlying mental or psychological reasons surrounding Ativan use. Access to therapy is an advantage to receiving treatment from an Ativan detox center. Here are some of the most common forms of therapy utilized during detox:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is one of the most effective evidence-based forms of psychotherapy used today. For someone who has struggled with Ativan abuse, CBT can help by uncovering and addressing the deeper psychological reasons for using. Typically performed in a private, one-on-one setting, CBT therapists will help implement tools and actions that can assist in correcting behavior. In addition to addressing the attitudes and behaviors related to Ativan use, CBT can offer valuable lessons on other topics including communication skills, conflict resolution, and risk reduction.

Relapse Prevention Education

Relapse prevention education will offer training on the dangers of relapse, tools for identifying and responding to triggers, and creating relapse prevention plans. Whereas CBT will focus on the deeper levels of decision-making, relapse prevention education will take a more objective approach. Relapse Prevention Education may be administered in group settings, with activities that allow for roleplay and practice. Relapse prevention education can be completed digitally, as well, with apps created for smartphones, allowing someone to take relapse prevention resources with them wherever they go.

12 Step Programs

Though not technically ‘therapy’, 12-step programs can be therapeutic. 12-step programs have been successful in helping people recover from substance use for over 70 years. 12-step programs rely heavily on the mutual support of others in a group setting. People often find comfort and solace in working with others who share a common affliction. Membership is free, and meetings are available during a wide range of hours, and in cities big and small. Ativan use can result in isolation and withdrawal from society, and finding fellowship in a 12-step program can offer a solution through inclusion.

Continuing Ativan Addiction Treatment

Once the detoxification process is complete, the next phase of recovery will require ongoing treatment. Residential Ativan treatment is the next logical step in recovery. Continuing treatment in a residential facility will provide privacy, intensive therapy, and comprehensive care in a distraction-free setting. Stays at residential Ativan treatment centers will typically last 30-90 days. Access to various forms of therapy will provide personal growth. 24/7 medical and psychiatric observation and care will provide safety. Accepting help from a residential Ativan treatment center will provide new opportunities to grow and recover from Ativan use. Recovery is possible, and it’s closer than you think!

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