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Ativan Withdrawal and Treatment Options

Doctor looking at Ativan prescription bottle

Ativan is a brand name for lorazepam, which belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Ativan is often prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety disorders. 1

People who use Ativan for an extended period may find that they require higher or more frequent doses to achieve the same effects—a phenomenon known as tolerance. Tolerance often leads to an increase in drug use, which can lead to physical dependence, in which the person’s system adjusts to a new level of baseline functioning in the presence of the drug.

People who are dependent on Ativan and stop using it or reduce their dose will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. These often unpleasant symptoms arise while the body works to restore equilibrium without the drug.

Some Ativan withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even life-threatening. Detoxing under the care of a physician or in an inpatient or outpatient program can help prevent serious complications and offer the best chance at long-term recovery.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ativan detox programs, call 1-888-935-1318Who Answers? today.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal Symptoms

Doctor comforting man with headache

During Ativan withdrawal, people might experience anxiety, tremors, seizures, headaches, and abdominal pain.

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When a person stops using Ativan, withdrawal symptoms can occur and may include:

  • Depression.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Paresthesia, or numbness/prickly sensation in extremities.
  • Tremors.
  • Sweating.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Delirium.
  • Seizures.
  • Convulsions. 1

The severity and duration of these symptoms often depend on the dose and the amount of time Ativan was used. Typically, it takes between 4-5 days for withdrawal symptoms to fade. 2,3

Ativan withdrawal treatment in a medically supervised recovery program can ensure safe, successful detoxification.

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Withdrawing from Ativan: Treatment Methods and Options for Help

Doctor with prescription pad talking to patient about Ativan withdrawal Detoxification is the period of time during which a person stops using Ativan and allows their body to completely clear any remaining traces of the drug. Detox treatment programs employ treatment professionals to medically manage Ativan withdrawal symptoms and lower the risk of severe complications, such as seizure.

Some detox methods provide a slow and careful withdrawal from Ativan. Typically, a physician will incrementally reduce the dose to minimize withdrawal symptoms (tapering), or people may be given medication to aid in the process. For example, physicians may prescribe a longer-acting benzodiazepine, such as diazepam (Valium). This medication can stabilize the person and eventually make it easier to gradually taper off benzodiazepines altogether.

In an inpatient withdrawal treatment program, the person can be supervised throughout the entire process to reduce the chances of relapse. These programs may be more appropriate for people with long-lasting dependence or who have medical or mental health concerns. Outpatient treatment programs may be suitable for people with mild Ativan dependence.

Learn more about Ativan withdrawal treatment options and medications.

Detoxing, Addiction Treatment, Rehab, and Recovery

Once Ativan withdrawal symptoms have abated, the person can begin to focus on the psychological part of the addiction. Most rehab and recovery facilities offer individual, group, and family therapy options, as well as 12-step support groups, to ensure successful long-term recovery.

Rehab and recovery from Ativan addiction can be carried out either on an inpatient or an outpatient basis. Inpatient care provides 24-hour support and access to medical care from a team of professionals in a private environment.

With outpatient treatment programs, a therapist or counselor will monitor your progress and offer one-on-one support to help you remain on the path to recovery. Many people who complete inpatient programs go on to participate in some form of outpatient care to support their long-term recovery.

Learn more about substance abuse treatment options.

If you or someone you know is experiencing Ativan withdrawal, consider contacting our helpline at 1-888-935-1318Who Answers? to receive free, confidential, no-obligation information about your treatment options.

Ativan Information at a Glance
Medication Name, Costs Class of Medicine
Generic Name: Lorazepam
Brand Name: Ativan
Cost/Price: $1- $3 1
Function or Use at Low Dose: Anxiolytic
Function or Use at High Dose: Sedative, hypnotic, anticonvulsant
Type of drug: Central nervous system (CNS) depressant/benzodiazepine
Form, Intake, and Dose Interactions and Complications
Drug Forms: pill or liquid 1
Administration Routes: oral, intravenous
Dosage: varies from 1mg to 10mg 2
Overdose: usually occurs in combination with alcohol or other drugs 2
Overdose symptoms: drowsiness, mental confusion, lethargy, loss of control over body movements, low blood pressure, cardiovascular depression, respiratory depression, coma, death 2
Alcohol interaction: can produce increased CNS depressant effects (lower breathing rate and blood pressure) with alcohol and lead to overdose 2
Prescription medication interactions: increased CNS depressant effects when combined with clozapine, barbiturates, antipsychotics, sedative/hypnotics, anxiolytics, antidepressants, narcotic analgesics, sedative antihistamines, anticonvulsants, and anesthetics 2
Contraindications: In patients with hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines or to any components of the formulation and/or patients with acute narrow-angle glaucoma 1
Effects and Adverse Reactions Substance Abuse
Short-Term: Sedation, weakness, unsteadiness, amnesia, disorientation, vertigo, headache 2
Long-Term: change in appetite, change in libido, memory impairment, tolerance, dependence, addiction 2
Risk of Substance Abuse: Yes 2
Signs of Abuse: Cravings, preoccupation with the medication, poor performance at school, general apathy, financial problems because money is spent on pills
Signs and Symptoms of Withdrawal Dependence and Addiction Issues
Withdrawal Syndrome Onset: 6 to 8 hours 4
Withdrawal Symptoms: headache, anxiety, tension, insomnia, convulsions, tremors, abdominal and muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, anxiety, hallucinations, vomiting, sweating, seizures 2
Physical Dependence: Yes 2
Psychological Dependence: Yes 2
DEA Drug Scheduling
Controlled Substances Act Classification: Schedule IV  3

Questions and Answers (FAQ)

How Long Does Ativan Withdrawal Last?

Typically, symptoms develop within 24 hours, peak around the second day, and improve by the fourth or fifth day.

The duration of withdrawal from Ativan varies depending on the length of time and severity of the substance abuse or addiction.

Typically, symptoms develop within 24 hours, peak around the second day, and begin to improve by the fourth or fifth day. 3 However, some users may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms such as depression, cognitive problems, and irritability for weeks or even months. 4

Do You Have a List of Popular Slang or Street Names for Ativan?

Common street names for Ativan and other drugs that depress the central nervous system include:

  • Benzos.
  • Downers.
  • Nerve pills.
  • Goofballs.
  • Heavenly blues.

Are There Any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

Doctor comforting man in hospital bed It is very risky to detox from Ativan using home remedies. As mentioned above, some of the withdrawal symptoms are potentially life-threatening.

Even though it may seem easier to detox through alternative methods or natural medicine, you are likely to have the safest and most comfortable withdrawal under the direction and help of a medical professional.

Physicians and other healthcare professionals are trained to help ease withdrawal symptoms and can cope with physical and mental challenges as they arise.

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Ativan?

From start to finish, the Ativan detox timeline may vary based on the severity and length of use as well as the method of detoxification. A detox may take anywhere from 4-5 days or longer. 2,3Contact one of our recovery support advisors for detox treatment options at 1-888-935-1318Who Answers?.


[1]. Food and Drug Administration. (2007). Ativan (lorazepam).

[2]. Herron, A. and Brennan, T.K. (2015). The ASAM Essentials of Addiction Medicine: Second Edition. Wolters Kluwer.

[3]. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

[4]. UCLA Dual Diagnosis Program. (2016). Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).

[5]. Ashton, H. (2005). The diagnosis and management of benzodiazepine dependence. Current Opinion in Psychiatry 18:249-255.

Ativan Information at a Glance Sources

[1]. DrugBank. (2016). Lorazepam.

[2]. Food and Drug Administration. (2011). Ativan.

[3]. Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.). Drug Schedules.

[4]. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ). Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.