Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms
Ativan (lorazepam) is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It is a benzodiazepine, and it comes from the same family as other prescription drugs like Valium.
Despite being a prescription drug, Ativan is highly addictive. If taken for longer than the prescribed duration, or in greater quantities, it can cause physical dependence and addiction in a very short space of time.
For this reason, people who have been prescribed Ativan for insomnia or anxiety must be very careful to take it exactly as directed.
When someone becomes addicted to Ativan, they may try to wean themselves off the drug, or even stop taking it immediately (‘go cold turkey). This can lead to withdrawal symptoms.
Ativan withdrawal symptoms can be either ‘acute’ or ‘post-acute’/‘prolonged’. We list both below:
Acute withdrawal symptoms associated with Ativan detox:
- inability to concentrate
- nausea and dry heaving
- increased sweating
- hand tremors
- higher tension and anxiety
- stiffness and muscular pain
- panic attacks
- sleep disturbance
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms associated with Ativan detox:
- Mood changes
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Rebound anxiety and insomnia
In some cases, other withdrawal symptoms may occur, such as loss of coordination and memory loss. However, these withdrawal symptoms only occur in a small fraction of people going through Ativan withdrawal.
Rare psychological symptoms of Ativan withdrawal include hallucinations and psychosis. Again, these symptoms are not particularly common and are most likely to occur in those who quit Ativan abruptly after a severe addiction.
What is the duration of Ativan withdrawal?
The acute phase of Ativan withdrawal typically lasts between 10 and 14 days. However, this can vary considerably from person to person.
Someone with a very severe Ativan addiction is likely to experience longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms, whereas someone with a milder Ativan addiction may only have withdrawal symptoms for a week.
It also depends on the person’s body type, whether they were using any other substances, whether they taper or quit cold turkey, and so on.
Ativan withdrawal timeline
In the first three days after the final dose of Ativan, you can expect some withdrawal symptoms, including headaches and nausea. You may also get some rebound anxiety and insomnia if you were originally using Ativan to treat one of these conditions.
From day 4 through to day 7, withdrawal symptoms start to peak. You will face the full range of Ativan withdrawal symptoms listed above, including muscle pain, sweating, loss of sleep, tremors and irritability.
However, after the first week has passed, you should start to see these withdrawal symptoms gradually subside. The same is true of rebound symptoms, which should calm down once your body has got used to not having any lorazepam intake.
After two weeks, most (if not all) of your acute withdrawal symptoms should be gone. However, you may still get some post-acute withdrawal symptoms, such as restlessness and mood changes.
What are the risks of Ativan withdrawal?
The chief risks of Ativan withdrawal are severe withdrawal symptoms that threaten the health of the person in recovery. More severe withdrawal symptoms typically affect those who have been using Ativan for a long time, and then suddenly stop taking it.
Withdrawal symptoms occur relatively quickly due to the fact that Ativan is a medium-acting benzodiazepine.
Severe withdrawal symptoms can include hallucinations and delusions. Someone affected with these sorts of withdrawal symptoms can pose a danger to themselves or others if they are not looked after properly, which is why it is much better to detox from Ativan under medical supervision.
Why do some people get worse Ativan withdrawal symptoms than others?
There are a whole host of factors that can influence the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Ativan is a benzodiazepine, which means that it is fat-soluble. Over time, if someone uses this drug consistently, it starts to accrue in their fatty tissues.
his means they need higher doses of the drug to feel the same effect (in other words, they build up a tolerance). If you inject or snort Ativan, you may develop a tolerance quicker than someone who takes the drug orally.
Those with higher levels of tolerance to Ativan are more likely to get severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug.
Another factor that can influence withdrawal symptoms from Ativan detox is co-occurring mental health conditions. Someone who struggles with anxiety or depression may experience worse withdrawal symptoms when they quit Ativan.
Similarly, someone who uses other drugs in conjunction with Ativan is likely to develop more severe withdrawal symptoms than someone who only uses Ativan.
Ativan withdrawal and addiction treatment
If you are going through Ativan withdrawal, now is the time to detox. You may be tempted to start using the drug again, but this is only a quick fix, and will not help you in the long term. Doing an Ativan detox will help you to get your life back on track.
Ativan detox normally involves tapering off the drug-using longer-acting benzodiazepines. Medical professionals will be able to supervise you during this process if you decide to go through Ativan detox in a rehab. They will help you to deal with any withdrawal symptoms using medication.
After Ativan detox, you have the option of receiving therapy. Therapy is a very effective way of treating the underlying causes of your Ativan addiction. It will help you to understand why you started using Ativan, and equip you with the tools to stay clean in the future.