Cirque Lodge > Blog > Addiction > Dangers of Snorting Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan is a central nervous system depressant. This benzodiazepine slows brain activity, calming the user. It is a prescription medication available in tablet and liquid form. When used appropriately, it can help people who have a panic disorder.

Abusing Ativan can cause unpleasant symptoms. If a person snorts Ativan long-term, adverse consequences like damage to the nasal passages and respiratory depression. This behaviour is a form of substance abuse.

Benzodiazepine abuse can lead to substance addiction. Due to its euphoric effects, Ativan dependency may develop making it difficult to quit.

Getting help for substance addiction can be daunting but we can explain the quitting process and what addiction treatment programs are available.

What Is Ativan?

Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam, a medicine primarily used to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, and associated symptoms like panic attacks. Benzodiazepines target the central nervous system (CNS) and produce a tranquilizing effect.

This drug works by increasing GABA neurotransmitters (gamma-aminobutyric acid). These inhibitory neurotransmitters reduce excitability in the nervous system. Ativan intends to balance out the over-stimulation caused by anxiety.

This neurotransmitter serves a dual purpose. GABA combats anxiety in the amygdala and seizure disorders by inhibiting the cerebral cortex.

Snorting is a frequent method of Ativan abuse. It is perceived as an efficient method to experience an intense high due to the short time it takes to feel its effects; one to three minutes. However, snorting any drug is a symptom of substance use disorder.

Misuse of Ativan is common due to the desirability of its relaxing effects. Examples of Ativan misuse includes:

  • Using the substance recreationally to "get high"
  • Using the substance alongside alcohol or other drugs
  • Using the incorrect dose
  • Using a different person's prescription

Effects of Snorting Ativan

Ativan abuse via insufflation can cause physical dependence upon the drug. The brain gets acclimatized to the amount of GABA neurotransmitters in the synaptic gaps of the individual. Therefore, if you abstain from Ativan, you experience withdrawal symptoms.

Snorting too much Ativan can harm your physical and mental wellbeing. The side effects of snorting Ativan include:

  • Mouth Dryness
  • Nausea
  • Appetite change
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Changed frequency of urination
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Blurry vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sexual dysfunction

Why Is Snorting Ativan Dangerous?

Snorting Ativan, lorazepam, or any other benzo is dangerous because it damages the nasal passages and respiratory system. People who snort Ativan are at risk of Ativan dependence and addiction thereby increasing their risk of overdose.

When a person snorts Ativan, the tablet form of Ativan is crushed into a powder then consumed via the nasal passages. Ativan taken this way enters the bloodstream quickly resulting in a fast and intense high.

This differs from the intended method of consumption which involves taking Ativan orally. The drug then slowly distributes throughout the body via the digestive system.

Damage to the Nose

Nose tissue is delicate and can be inflamed by snorting Ativan which can lead to damaged skin, excessive discharge from the nose, nosebleeds and discomfort. Snorting any substance can cause both long and short-term health issues.

Eventually, nasal tissue can aggressively erode resulting in a hole in the nasal septum, which is the gap between the nostrils or the roof of the mouth. The cartilage in the nose may also degrade causing the collapse of the nose. These effects may lead to respiratory depression and difficulty eating.

This trauma can result in necrosis meaning the damaged cells have died prematurely within living tissue. Necrotic tissue is painful and must be removed, if you suspect necrosis you must immediately seek treatment.

Disease Risk

As in the case of snorting other drugs, the nose is made vulnerable to infections. When a person snorts Ativan, they may be using unsanitary paraphernalia like shared papers, contaminated surfaces or tools to crush the drugs.

Bacteria and toxic substances may enter the body if the Ativan has been stored in unsanitary conditions. The substance may be mixed with another drug which could pose a risk to the consumer's health. If you snort Ativan, disease transmission may also occur.

Respiratory problems

The respiratory system refers to organs and structures which enable breathing especially the lungs and nasal cavities. If snorted, Ativan may damage nose hairs which are responsible for filtering microorganisms and bacteria. Consequently, small amounts of Ativan may reach the lungs causing irritation. Respiratory failure and breathing difficulties may manifest as a result.

Health Risks of Snorting Ativan

If you snort Ativan, you may be subject to some health risks.

There are many dangers of snorting Ativan such as:

  • Nasal irritation
  • Nosebleeds
  • Loss of smell
  • Nasal cavity damage
  • Perforation of the septum
  • Sinus infections
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Swelling or pain of the face
  • Nasal discharge
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Damaged lungs
  • Respiratory tract blockage

Ativan Addiction Signs and Symptoms

Taking Ativan can be addictive due to its euphoric and relaxing effects. This Schedule IV controlled substance, as categorized by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), can easily result in a dependency due to the short-term nature of its high. Ativan dependency will cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug.

Ativan addiction is a disease. It can strain relationships and result in dysfunctional behavior. Examples of these issues include:

  • Fractured interpersonal relationships with friends and family
  • Inability to carry out duties in daily life like attend work or care for loved ones
  • Engagement in dangerous behaviors
  • Newfound disinterest in life
  • Socially isolating behaviors
  • Financial problems

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms are experienced when a person with a physical dependence on a drug like Ativan attempts to stop using it. Snorting Ativan may result in particularly bad withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of Ativan withdrawal may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia

These withdrawal symptoms can be a medical emergency and present life threatening consequences. Ativan withdrawal should be overseen by a treatment specialist. Medical detox programs are based in a treatment center and provide a safe space to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Overdose Symptoms

An Ativan overdose is when a person has too much Ativan. Snorting Ativan, lorazepam, or other prescription medicines is a form of drug abuse as Ativan tablets are intended to be taken orally. Misusing pharmaceutical drugs can result in an overdose and may have lethal consequences.

Signs on an Ativan overdose include:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Stupor
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Collapsing

Taking Ativan in combination with other drugs heightens the risk of an overdose. Snorting Ativan in tablet form also poses an increased overdose risk as too much Ativan may be consumed.

(this is a repetetive sentence - you mentioned this before) If you or someone you know experience these symptoms, seek immediate treatment help.

Signs That Someone May Be Abusing Ativan

If someone snorts Ativan it indicates they are engaging in Ativan abuse. As their tolerance builds, they may have to take high doses in order to experience the same high. An Ativan addiction can quickly spiral out of control and cause dysfunction in daily life.

Acknowledging that yourself or someone you know may be engaging in substance abuse can be difficult. Awareness of drug abuse signs can be an encouraging tool to identify when help may be needed. This is an essential first step in addiction treatment.

Some signs that a person may be misusing Ativan are:

  • Upper respiratory problems
  • Damaged nasal passages
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Weak decision-making
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Decreased inhibitions
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Somatic weakness
  • Nasal discharge

Getting Help for Ativan Lorazepam Abuse and Addiction

The first step in addiction treatment is medical detox. It is advised that the treatment process occur in a safe environment like a treatment center where healthcare professionals can help you achieve long term recovery. Treatment facilities can help people with substance use disorders taper off Ativan and manage acute benzodiazepine withdrawal.

Addiction treatment programs also utilise behavioral therapy to help manage substance abuse issues by identifying dysfunctional thinking patterns. Coping mechanisms and craving management skills are also developed.

Addiction Treatment for Ativan at Cirque Lodge

Cirque Lodge is an exclusive, private treatment center which offers an evidence-based approach to treatment for Ativan addiction. This addiction treatment center is a safe space in which your entire self can be healed with individualized treatment plans.

We provide a holistic variety of treatment options in order to treat the mind, body, and soul including:

  • Cognitive therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Support groups
  • Multi-systemic family therapy
  • The Twelve Step Program

Our aim is to support long-term abstinence by helping clients heal in a respectful, supportive environment. We provide a life-affirming experience where you will have the opportunity to grow as a person and develop the tools to repair the harm substance abuse disorder can cause.

Contact us if you feel ready to embark on your recovery journey.

About Cirque Lodge
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