Ativan is the brand name for a benzodiazepine medication called lorazepam. Lorazepam is primarily used to treat anxiety, 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.

The Symptoms of Ativan Withdrawal

The symptoms of Ativan withdrawal largely depend on the severity, duration, and frequency at which you abused the substance. Withdrawal symptoms occur when you suddenly stop taking Ativan after being physically dependent on it and can be severe or life-threatening without proper medical attention.

Symptoms of Ativan withdrawal may include:[3]

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Increased tension and anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors in the hands
  • Excessive sweating
  • Issues concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

Ativan withdrawal 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.

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 dosage.

An estimated timeline for Ativan withdrawal 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 withdrawal, including headaches, restlessness, insomnia, and nausea.

1 to 4 Days

Between one to four days after your withdrawal symptoms begin, you will experience the most severe symptoms. This 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 withdrawal, as well as psychosis and seizures.

10 to 14 Days

After about 10 to 14 days, your withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside. However, some individuals experience something known as protracted withdrawal 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?

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 withdrawal symptoms.[5]

When it comes to managing symptoms, there are several additional medications that may be used for Ativan withdrawal. These include:

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

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 withdrawal are potentially life-threatening without medical intervention. As a result, it’s always best to detox under medical supervision.

At Woburn Wellness, we work with some of the most trusted drug and alcohol detox centers in Massachusetts. Before starting 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. Call today to get started.



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