Ativan was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1977 as an oral tablet for the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depressive symptoms. It is also prescribed as a muscle relaxant, and to help with symptoms associated with restless leg syndrome, and alcohol withdrawal. Ativan is classified as a Schedule IV Controlled Substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is defined as a substance “with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.” As is true for all prescribed medications, Ativan use should be restricted to those to whom it is prescribed, and if abused can lead to severe short and long-term effects.Benzodiazepines work by acting on chemicals in one’s brain to reduce anxiety. Specifically, Ativan works are by adjusting the chemical in one’s brain and effectively increasing the availability of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in one’s brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks certain brain signals and reduces activity in the nervous system, which in turn produces tranquilizing, calming effects on one’s body and mind. Ativan can cause mild or serious side effects, such as suicidal ideation. An article in the National Library of Medicine explains that “suicidal ideation (SI), often called suicidal thoughts or ideas, is a broad term used to describe a range of contemplations, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide.” As a benzodiazepine, Ativan comes with the risk of abuse, misuse, and with prolonged use can result in physical dependence and addiction. Due to the risk of severe side effects, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that Ativan clearly display a black box warning indicating the possibility of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taken by some individuals under the age of 25.
Further Information and Support
Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process.
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