Ativan Intravenous Use (IV): Dangers And Side Effects Of Injecting Lorazepam

Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine with powerful sedation properties. Injecting Ativan can lead to infection, blood clots, and exposure to blood-borne illnesses. I.V. Ativan abuse also increases a person’s risk of addiction and overdose.

Ativan (lorazepam) is a central nervous system depressant, typically prescribed for seizures and anxiety disorders. Ativan relaxes the body and brain, and can lead to dependence and addiction — even when taken as prescribed.

Injecting lorazepam can cause significant, long-term health risks. When a person injects Ativan, they risk exposure to blood-borne illnesses such as HIV and hepatitis C.

Intravenous Ativan use can also cause damage at the site of injection, including infection or a collapsed vein. Injecting Ativan can ultimately lead to conditions such as blood clots, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.

What Is Ativan (Lorazepam)?

Ativan is classified as a sedative-hypnotic and may cause people to feel extremely drowsy. Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan interacts with GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain. This medication slows neuron transmissions and reduces anxiety and panic in the body.

When a person injects Ativan, the tranquilizing effects of the drug cause the entire body to relax. This extreme sedation contributes to rising rates of benzodiazepine abuse, along with the drug’s hypnotic qualities.

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Why Do People Inject Ativan (Lorazepam)?

Ativan causes a person’s nervous system to slow and their muscles to relax. Some people may crush and inject an Ativan tablet, to intensify the drug’s sedative effects. People who enjoy this sense of calm may also ingest more than prescribed, in order to amplify the drug’s effects.

Many people that begin taking Ativan may notice they no longer get the same feeling with a low dose. This is called a tolerance when the body and brain require a higher dose in order to elicit the same physical response or “high.” This can lead people to further abuse lorazepam.

When a person abuses Ativan, they may also experience a physical dependence on the drug. When a person is dependent on Ativan, their brain requires the substance in order to release certain neurotransmitters.

Dependence can lead people to take large amounts of the drug or to explore other methods of ingestion. Some may choose to crush and snort Ativan, while others dilute the powder and inject the drug intravenously.

What Happens When A Person Uses Ativan (Lorazepam) Intravenously?

Injecting Ativan causes the drug to hit the bloodstream right away, without having to be passed through the digestive tract.

Injecting Ativan causes a person to feel a rush of euphoria, followed by a period of deep relaxation. A person may feel extremely drowsy or appear to be semi-conscious. People that are high on Ativan may temporarily lose consciousness or “nod out.”

Using Ativan intravenously can also lead to an increased risk of overdose. Anytime a needle is used for recreational drug use, the risk of overdose spikes. It’s difficult to accurately gauge a dose when injecting, and people can easily inject too much of the drug.

Side Effects Of Injecting Ativan (Lorazepam)

Most people that abuse Ativan often inject the drug in order to get a faster, stronger, and more pleasurable high. While injecting Ativan does cause an intense rush, this method of use can lead to dangerous health conditions.

Side effects of injecting Ativan (lorazepam) include:

  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • sluggishness
  • restlessness
  • excitement
  • difficult or frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • dry mouth
  • nausea, diarrhea, or constipation
  • changes in sex drive or ability
  • increased risk of diseases like HIV and hepatitis C

A person who injects Ativan is also at risk for additional health concerns, including skin infection and abscess. Infections are especially common when a person uses unsterile injection equipment or injects in an unhygienic environment.

People who inject drugs long-term also increase their risk of blood clots and stroke. Additionally, the trauma from repeated injection can lead to collapsed veins and capillaries.

Dangers Of Ativan (Lorazepam) Overdose

Benzodiazepines like Ativan usually come with strict instructions, in order to ensure a safe and accurate dose. When a person injects Ativan, it is difficult to monitor the exact dosage that enters their bloodstream.

Because of this, injecting Ativan comes with a heightened risk of overdose. Benzodiazepine overdoses are on the rise and were linked to nearly 12,000 deaths in 2017.

Ativan overdose can be extremely dangerous. If a person overdoses on Ativan, they are at risk for permanent brain damage and even death.

Signs of Ativan (lorazepam) overdose include:

  • slowed or stopped breathing
  • passing out
  • low blood pressure
  • collapsing
  • seizure
  • coma

Signs Of Ativan (Lorazepam) Abuse

If you are concerned that someone close to you is struggling with intravenous Ativan use, it’s important to know the facts about this drug. Be aware of the signs of Ativan injection, in order to best help your loved one.

Signs and symptoms of intravenous Ativan abuse include:

  • anxiety
  • extreme drowsiness (“nodding out”)
  • change in personality
  • wearing long sleeves and pants to cover injection marks
  • isolation and social withdrawal
  • possessing needles or other injection equipment
  • missing money or valuables
  • legal problems
  • memory problems
  • poor decision-making
  • euphoria
  • loss of family, friends, or job

If the person you love has a legal prescription for Ativan, it may be difficult to talk to them about addiction. They may not recognize the scope of their dependence, because they view the drug as their medicine.

However, rates of Ativan abuse and addiction are continuing to rise. Knowing the risks and dangers of intravenous Ativan abuse can help your loved one find the help they need.

Treatment For Intravenous Ativan (Lorazepam) Abuse

More than 115 Americans die from prescription overdoses every day — and benzodiazepines like Ativan are present in nearly a third of these cases. Fortunately, effective treatment for Ativan addiction can be found throughout the U.S.

Inpatient treatment programs offer on-site detox programs and recovery therapies. People struggling with intravenous Ativan addiction can safely withdraw from the drug in a stabilizing environment. Once detoxed, patients engage in individual therapy and 12-step support.

For more information about the dangers and side effects of injecting Ativan, or to find a rehab center near you, reach out to one of our specialists today.

MedlinePlus - Lorazepam

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Benzodiazepines and Opioids, Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction, Overdose Death Rates

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