Ativan is the brand name for a less potent benzodiazepine, medication called lorazepam which is a schedule iv drug. Lorazepam is primarily used to treat various anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures, and symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.[1] Because Ativan is a central nervous system depressant, it slows down activity in your brain causing feelings of relaxation and sometimes euphoria.

Benzodiazepines like lorazepam are known to be habit-forming and highly addictive when used long-term. Studies have found that up to 17.2% of benzodiazepine users are abusing their medication.[2]

If you or a loved one are addicted to Ativan, your body will begin relying on it to function properly. As a result, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal if you suddenly stop taking Ativan. You should always attend a medical detox program before attempting to quit Ativan or any other benzodiazepine because the withdrawal symptoms can become severe or life-threatening.

Being aware of the Ativan withdrawal symptoms, timeline, and treatment options available to you can help motivate you to seek the help you need.

ativan withdrawal massachusetts

What are the Signs of Ativan Abuse?

Recognizing the signs of Ativan abuse is essential in helping individuals who may be struggling with addiction to this medication.

Ativan, a benzodiazepine with calming effects, can be misused or abused when taken in higher doses or for longer durations than prescribed. One of the key indicators of Ativan abuse is the development of tolerance, where the body adapts to the drug, requiring higher amounts to achieve the same effect. As a result, individuals may start taking larger doses without consulting their healthcare provider, putting them at risk of dependence and addiction.

They may also engage in “doctor shopping” or seek multiple prescriptions from different doctors to maintain their supply, which is another concerning sign of potential drug abuse.

Mood and Behavioral Signs

In addition to tolerance and doctor shopping, changes in behavior and mood can be telling signs of Ativan abuse. Individuals may display secretive behavior, distancing themselves from family and friends, or withdrawing from once-enjoyed activities.

Ativan users may exhibit mood swings, becoming irritable, anxious, or overly sedated. Ativan abuse can also lead to physical symptoms, such as drowsiness, slurred speech, impaired coordination, and memory problems.

In severe cases, individuals may engage in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence of the drug, which poses a significant danger to themselves and others. If you suspect someone you know may be struggling with Ativan abuse, approaching them with empathy and understanding is crucial. Encouraging open communication and seeking professional help can make a significant difference in their journey toward recovery and overall well-being.

signs of ativan addiction

The Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Ativan lorazepam can be effective in providing short-term relief, prolonged or excessive use of Ativan can lead to physical dependence. If you were to quit Ativan cold turkey or rapidly reduce the dosage of Ativan can trigger severe withdrawal symptoms, which can be both distressing and potentially life-threatening. The factors affecting Ativan withdrawal symptoms depend on the severity, duration, and frequency at which you abused the substance.

Symptoms of Ativan withdrawal may include:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Irritability
  • Increased tension and severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors in the hands
  • Excessive sweating
  • Issues concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures or Grand Mal Seizures
Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

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Using Caution in Facing Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome

Acute Ativan withdrawals can cause life-threatening symptoms such as psychosis and seizures so you should never stop taking it cold turkey. Attempting to detox at home could result in several adverse effects, such as relapse, overwhelming symptoms, and life-threatening health emergencies.

Due to the seriousness of these symptoms, it is crucial for individuals who have been taking Ativan for an extended period to work closely with their healthcare provider to gradually taper off the medication under medical supervision. This approach can help minimize the risk of severe withdrawal reactions and allow for a safer transition to alternative treatments or discontinuation.

benzo withdrawal

What is the Ativan Withdrawal Timeline?

Lorazepam has a half-life of 12 hours, which means half of the substance will be eliminated from your body in that amount of time. Because of this short half-life, your withdrawal symptoms could begin as early as 24 hours after your last reduced dose.

An estimated withdrawal timeline is:

24 Hours

The early symptoms of withdrawal may begin 24 hours after you last used the drug. You may experience mild symptoms during this stage of the withdrawal process, including headaches, restlessness, insomnia, and nausea.

1 to 4 Days

Between one to four days after your mild withdrawal symptoms begin, you will experience the most severe symptoms. This acute phase is known as “peak withdrawal” and medical care is the most imperative at this time. You could experience any of the previously mentioned symptoms of Ativan withdrawal, as well as psychosis and seizures.

10 to 14 Days

After about 10 to 14 days, your withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside after your last dose. However, some individuals experience something known as protracted withdrawal symptoms or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).[4] PAWS causes mild and prolonged withdrawal symptoms that may last up to 12 months.

How is Ativan Withdrawal Treated During Medical Detox?

Ativan, like other benzodiazepines or narcotic pain medications, can lead to physical and psychological dependence when used for an extended period. When an individual attempts to detox from Ativan, they may encounter a protracted withdrawal syndrome, where withdrawal symptoms persist for an extended duration beyond the typical withdrawal timeline. This phenomenon can last for weeks or even months, varying in severity and duration from person to person.

During detox, medical professionals will monitor your symptoms as you remain under 24-hour supervision. The physician may prescribe Ativan at a lower dose, gradually reducing your dose over a series of days or weeks, to taper your body off it. Tapering off Ativan can reduce the intensity of your acute withdrawal symptoms.

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Managing Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

ativan addiction

When it comes to managing symptoms that come with physical dependence, there are several additional medications that may be used for severe Ativan withdrawal symptoms or protracted withdrawal. These include:

  • Antidepressants for symptoms of depression and insomnia
  • Antihistamines for symptoms of anxiety and insomnia
  • Nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytics to treat anxiety

Moving Forward in the Detox Process

These persistent symptoms can significantly impact the individual’s quality of life and make the recovery process more demanding. Seeking professional help during this phase is crucial to managing the symptoms effectively and preventing relapse. Medical supervision and support from addiction specialists can provide personalized treatment plans, therapy, and medications, if necessary, to ease the discomfort of protracted withdrawal and help individuals regain control of their lives as they work toward lasting sobriety.

It is important to note that detox is only the first step in recovering from Ativan addiction. Once you have finished detoxing, a substance abuse counselor will help you create a plan for continued treatment that includes either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Addiction treatment programs offer evidence-based behavioral therapy and counseling that can help you maintain long-term sobriety.

Find an Ativan Detox Center Today

If you or a loved one suffers from Ativan addiction, it’s time to seek help. Ativan addiction can be incredibly difficult to overcome and the symptoms of lorazepam withdrawal are potentially life-threatening without medical intervention. As a result, it’s always best to seek a treatment center or a medically supervised detox.

When seeking out a detox center for addiction treatment, it’s essential to take a careful and thorough approach to ensure you or your loved one receives the best care possible. The first step is to conduct research and gather information about various detox facilities.

Start by looking for local options or centers that have a strong reputation for their addiction treatment programs. Check online reviews and testimonials to gauge the experiences of previous clients. Look for centers that offer specialized treatment for the specific substance or substances involved in the addiction.

Ativan withdrawal treatment

Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment

Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment stands out for its comprehensive and compassionate addiction treatment. Located in a serene and supportive environment, Woburn Wellness provides evidence-based detox programs tailored to individual needs. Our experienced and caring staff members are committed to guiding clients through the detox process with utmost care and professionalism.

At Woburn Wellness, we work with some of the most trusted drug and alcohol detox centers in Massachusetts. Before starting the detox process in one of our treatment programs, our team will connect you with a benzodiazepine detox program that can support your needs, allowing you to start your recovery safely.

Start Your Healing Journey Today

Preventing relapse from Ativan addiction requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of recovery. Additionally, engaging in counseling or therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can help you understand the underlying triggers and behaviors associated with their addiction, empowering them to develop healthier coping mechanisms. Building a strong support network, which may include family, friends, or support groups, can provide essential encouragement and accountability during the recovery journey. Implementing lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy routine, practicing stress-reduction techniques, and avoiding situations that may trigger cravings, can further fortify the individual’s ability to maintain sobriety and significantly prevent relapse from Ativan addiction.

At Woburn Wellness, we are committed to providing quality care to our patients. With an immersive recovery experience that incorporated the 12 steps, physical wellness, individualized care, and more, we are committed to finding the balance necessary for a successful recovery.

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have about our services, staff qualifications, and treatment approach to ensure you make an informed decision about your or your loved one’s journey to recovery. Taking this step could be the turning point towards a healthier, addiction-free life. Contact us today to get started.

Ativan detox center

Payment and Insurance

At Woburn Wellness, we accept most insurance plans. We believe everyone deserves access to treatment and recovery, therefore we also offer consultations for establishing a financial plan for those without insurance. Verify your insurance today.


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