Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, Ativan, and Benzodiazepines

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

By now, you have likely heard that Chris Cornell, a pioneer of the ’90s grunge movement, committed suicide on May 17. The tragedy occurred after a show in Detroit with his longtime band Soundgarden (probably best known for their song “Black Hole Sun”). As shocking and certainly overwhelming for family and friends as this was, Cornell’s wife Vicky was quick to stand firm contending the death was at least partially a result from negative effects of a highly addictive prescription drug called Ativan.

Recalling their conversation from the night, she said, “When he told me he may have ‘taken an extra Ativan or two,’ I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”

Cornell’s widow was aware of the potentially dangerous effects such a drug can have on a person’s body when used in combination with other substances. She was right to take such decisive action, despite the fact that the result ended in misfortune.

What is Ativan?

Ativan, also known as Lorazepam, is typically prescribed for anxiety. It is in the class of drugs known as Benzodiazepines (“benzos”), and these are some of the toughest-to-quit-narcotics on the market. To top it all off, Ativan is one of the most potent. Benzos have the distinct ability to reduce a person to an empty shell of themselves, always looking to scratch their way back to a feeling of normalcy with another fix. As well, the fact that benzos are the most commonly prescribed meds on the market make them first place in the race for most prevalent and most abused substances out there.

So yes, if you or your loved one have been prescribed Ativan, there is reason to tread lightly.

Does Vicky Cornell Have a Point?

The down and dirty of benzos comes from the double-edged sword of accessibility and coupling. Alcohol and Ativan will do double duty of bringing a person’s body down (slowing vital physical and neural processes). This is extremely dangerous. Plus, in this slushy state, a person’s mind mixes its messages. Hazardous situations seem perfectly fine; poor decisions seem like great ideas. This could have contributed to the decision-making that led to Cornell’s death.

What are Benzodiazepines? 

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for insomnia and anxiety, among other symptoms. They have largely replaced barbiturates for short-term suppression of symptoms. When taken alone, there are few dangers with Benzodiazepines, but when coupled with other medications and substances, a toxic effect is likely to occur. Dependence to these drugs varies based on the length of use and dosage.

The typical detox process for addiction to various Benzodiazepines is to use taper medications along with comfort medications. Often someone detoxing from Benzos will experience insomnia, nausea/vomiting, and anxiety, as well as depression, aggression, panic attacks, mood swings, and possible suicide ideation. Needless to say, detoxification from Benzos is an uncomfortable process and dangerous if attempted without professional supervision.

Want to know more about the pharmaceutical drug epidemic? Read about the darker underbelly of big pharma and the opioid epidemic here.

Need Help Now?

Are you concerned about your own Ativan use or if your loved one is in danger of Ativan addiction? The best bet is to call us today: 844-489-0836. Our team of specialists is ready to answer your questions and offer the guidance and information you need to make the best decision for your next step.

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