Chris Cornell’s Death Prompts Questions About Ativan
Ativan is mostly prescribed for short-term use
(press release: summitbehavioralhealth) // New Jersey // Maria Ulmer MA, LMFT, CAADC | Chief Clinical Officer
Music fans around the world mourned recently when legendary singer Chris Cornell died at just 52 years of age. The singer was known for heading up the major 1990s grunge bands Soundgarden and Audioslave and was widely recognized for his songwriting talent, stage presence, and instantly recognizable voice.
A recent report states that Cornell’s family is disturbed by findings that Cornell died by hanging himself. Specifically, the media has reported that Cornell’s widow doesn’t believe he was suicidal. The night of his death, he reportedly told her he had taken more than his usual dose of Ativan, a drug prescribed to treat anxiety.
Cornell’s wife also reportedly stated that he was slurring his words over the phone and that she called security to check on him because he didn’t sound like himself. Reports also state that Cornell was a recovering drug addict.
What Is Ativan?
Ativan is prescribed to treat a variety of anxiety-based conditions, such as agoraphobia (the fear of crowds and large spaces), panic attacks, seizure disorders, anxiety, and even drug withdrawal. Ativan is the brand name for the drug lorazepam, which belongs to the drug benzodiazepine drug family — commonly known as “benzos.” Potential side effects include depression, shifting moods, unusual behavior, and suicidal thoughts.
Ativan is mostly prescribed for short-term use, as users can develop a dependence on the drug. In the short-term, Ativan and other drugs in the same family can help people with anxiety. Taken too long, however, they can be extremely addictive and deadly. In fact, Ativan can be so addictive that some have called it and other benzos “the world’s deadliest drug.”
Other benzos include Valium, Restoril, Xanax, and Klonopin. Several high-profile deaths have been linked to various benzos. Actress Margaux Hemingway committed suicide by overdosing on benzos. Hollywood producer Don Simpson died of an unintentional benzo overdose. Acclaimed writer David Foster Wallace was taking Klonopin before he died by hanging himself.
According to a Rolling Stone report, public health experts don’t recommend Ativan for individuals who suffer from depression, psychosis, lung or breathing problems, or addictive disease.
The problem is that the brain will eventually build up a tolerance to Ativan. Over time, a person must take more and more of the drug to obtain the calming effect it’s supposed to produce for those with anxiety and related conditions. As one physician put it, “When the brain pushes back, what that essentially means is that after the drug wears off, you’re more anxious, more irritable, more distressed, and more uncomfortable than you were, to begin with.”
Summit Behavioral Health offers both inpatient and outpatient programs to help people overcome prescription drug addiction, alcohol abuse disorder, and co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression. Our programs are medically supervised and designed to fit your specific needs and goals. Call our behavioral health professionals today at 1-855-855-9199 to speak to a substance abuse expert about treatment options for you or someone you love.