- PrintArticle Summary
- Treatment Options
- Withdrawal Medications
- Tapering Off Ativan
- Detoxing Cold Turkey at Home
Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Users can become physically dependent on Ativan and develop withdrawal symptoms in as little as 1 week of use. 7
Withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and duration. Some people might feel physically ill, while others might suffer from more severe symptoms, such as seizures or hallucinations.1
Detox centers, inpatient rehab programs, and outpatient programs can provide varying levels of treatment for Ativan withdrawal and addiction. Healthcare providers in these programs may prescribe medications, such as long-acting benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and over-the-counter medications, to help manage symptoms.
Seeking Ativan withdrawal help in a detox program provides you with support to deal with any physical or mental symptoms. Detox is the first step of recovery, and many who complete it continue their path to sobriety with the help of an ongoing treatment program.
Withdrawal treatment options include detox, inpatient, and outpatient.
Several Ativan withdrawal treatment options are available to help you start living a drug-free life. Some of the more common treatment options include:
- Detox. Detox centers provide medical supervision, medications to manage Ativan withdrawal, and professional support to help you gradually reduce your dose and minimize accompanying withdrawal symptoms.
- Inpatient. After detox, many people continue their recovery at inpatient treatment programs. You live at a residential recovery center and receive 24/7 care and services, such as group and individual counseling, to help fortify sobriety and enable you to live without the drug. Many inpatient programs also offer detox at the start of treatment.
- Intensive outpatient. In this recovery program, you live at home, but attend treatment between 3 to 5 days per week for several hours per day.2 Group counseling, individual therapy, medication management, addiction education, and relapse prevention skills are the main components of this type of treatment. These programs may prescribe and monitor an outpatient detox protocol for people with milder Ativan dependence.
- Partial hospitalization. A partial hospitalization program offers a high level of support and care. You live at home, but attend treatment in a medical facility for around 20 hours per week and receive professional supervision, counseling, and addiction education. You also receive medications to help manage Ativan withdrawal symptoms, if necessary. Partial hospitalization is often used as a step-down program from inpatient treatment and is especially useful for those who have a high risk of relapse.3
You may receive medication during detox and treatment to help manage withdrawal symptoms. Some of these medications may include:
- Other benzodiazepines, such as diazepam. Diazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine that is used to manage withdrawal from short-acting benzodiazepines such as Ativan.4 It can help people stop using benzodiazepines gradually while avoiding severe withdrawal symptoms. Other longer-acting benzodiazepines that may be used for Ativan withdrawal include chlordiazepoxide or clonazepam (Klonopin).
- Antidepressants. If you suffer from depressive symptoms or anxiety, you may receive antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).5 SSRIs include medications such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or paroxetine (Paxil).
- Over-the-counter medications. Physicians may prescribe these medications for headaches, diarrhea, stomach pain, or other mild symptoms.
Other medications or supplements that may benefit benzodiazepine withdrawal are still in the experimental phases of research. These medications and supplements include melatonin to help alleviate insomnia and flumazenil to help stabilize other withdrawal symptoms.5
Tapering Off Ativan
Your dose of Ativan may be gradually reduced or tapered over time to help minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. The exact dose depends on your individual needs and the dose that you are taking. The safest and most advisable way to reduce your use of Ativan is to work with a healthcare provider, who can offer a customized tapering schedule.
In some cases, you will be switched over to diazepam. You will receive an equivalent amount of diazepam, which is then gradually tapered off, usually over the course of 7 to 10 days. However, the tapering off period may be longer depending on your symptoms or if you have been taking Ativan for several years.6
Detoxing Cold Turkey at Home
Dangers of Quitting Cold Turkey
Although the urge to get well as soon as possible is certainly understandable, quitting drugs without the help of trained medical professionals can be dangerous at best and fatal at worst.
You might be tempted to try to detox cold turkey at home. But this approach has a number of potential drawbacks.
Some of the effects of Ativan withdrawal are potentially serious and severe. They include:1
- Stomach or muscle cramps.
- Strange behaviors.
You may also have an increased risk of relapse due to a lack of professional support. Some people suffer increased anxiety or depression or experience an exacerbation of any existing mental or physical health conditions during benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Detoxing in a treatment program offers a safe and effective method of coming off the drug and provides professional guidance for dealing with Ativan withdrawal. In addition, you have access to the expertise of qualified medical staff, who can address any additional medical or mental health symptoms.
Call our helpline at 1-888-935-1318Who Answers? to speak to a recovery support specialist about Ativan withdrawal help and treatment options that can help you start the road to a clean and sober life.
. Mayo Clinic. (2015). Lorazepam (Oral Route).
. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
. John Hopkins Medicine: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and Research. Treatment Settings.
. World Health Organization. (2009). Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Press.
. Lader, M. and Kyriacou, A. (2016). Withdrawing Benzodiazepines in Patients With Anxiety Disorders. Current Psychiatry Reports, 18(1), 8.
. Miller, N. and Gold, M. (1998). Management of Withdrawal Syndromes and Relapse Prevention in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. American Family Physician, 58(1), 139-146.
. Food and Drug Administration. (2007). Ativan (lorazepam).