Lorazepam (Ativan) Withdrawal Symptoms

Lorazepam (Ativan) is a powerful benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction as a result of the physical and psychological dependence it can cause. When someone has developed a physical dependence on Ativan, stopping or reducing its use can lead to uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal.

These withdrawal symptoms can impede a person’s ability to stop taking Ativan, even when they want to. Knowing that a dosage of the drug will stop uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms is a powerful motivator to continue using. This is why many people who try to quit on their own struggle and often fail. A medically supervised detox can help individuals overcome their dependence by helping them safely manage withdrawal without the use of Ativan.

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Lorazepam withdrawal generally involves two distinct stages, each bringing about a discrete set of symptoms. These are acute withdrawal symptoms and prolonged withdrawal symptoms.

Ativan (Lorazepam) Acute withdrawal symptoms

Acute symptoms of Ativan withdrawal may include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Increased anxiety and nervousness
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry heaving
  • Muscular pain
  • Muscular stiffness
  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating

Ativan (Lorazepam) Prolonged withdrawal symptoms

Prolonged Ativan withdrawal symptoms can persist after the drug has been metabolized out of one’s system. This is also known as protracted withdrawal syndrome (PWS). These symptoms include:

  • Rebound anxiety
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Depression and other mood changes
  • Anxiety-induced psychosis or hallucinations
  • Tinnitus
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Memory loss
How Long Do Ativan (Lorazepam) Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The duration of the withdrawal period depends on the severity and duration of Ativan use. Generally, acute symptoms of withdrawal may begin one to three days after the last dose. These symptoms may include headaches and nausea. Rebound symptoms may begin at this time. These include any symptoms or conditions the Ativan was used to treat like anxiety or insomnia.

Acute withdrawal symptoms may be at their worst four to seven days after the last dose. Generally, these symptoms will begin to resolve around two weeks after the last dose. After the first two weeks, prolonged withdrawal symptoms, also known as protracted withdrawal syndrome (PWS), may present. These can last for months.

Potential Dangers Of Lorazepam (Ativan) Withdrawal

Ativan is a short-acting benzodiazepine so it is eliminated faster from the body. As a result, withdrawal can cause severe and even potentially life-threatening symptoms. Withdrawal onset can be fast and can lead to blackouts or memory loss.

Because benzodiazepines are fat soluble, Ativan can build up in the body over time in fatty tissue. As such, people who have used Ativan for six months or longer or those who abuse Ativan in conjunction with other substances are at risk for more severe and unpredictable withdrawal symptoms.

Factors That Influence Lorazepam (Ativan) Withdrawal

Withdrawal duration and severity depend on several factors that can affect the withdrawal period.

Dose and frequency of use

Individuals used to taking larger doses of Ativan or doses at higher frequencies are at higher risk for severe Ativan withdrawal. Withdrawal may also last longer for more severe cases of addiction.

Duration of Ativan use

Since Ativan can build up in the body, how long someone takes the drug affects the duration and intensity of withdrawal.

Individual factors

Co-occurring disorders, physical attributes, and other individual differences may play a role in the severity and duration of withdrawal. For instance, individuals who have a history of addiction or take other medications or substances along with Ativan may suffer from more intense withdrawal.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal is best managed by tapering off use instead of quitting cold turkey. By slowly getting the body accustomed to less and less Ativan, withdrawal will be milder. Some clinicians also prescribe longer acting benzodiazepines that are eliminated more slowly from the body. In either case, you should consult a doctor to determine the safest way to withdraw from prolonged Ativan use.
Medical Detox
Medical detox is recommended in many cases where discontinuing Ativan use may be difficult without assistance. Medical detox can prevent potentially life-threatening symptoms and alleviate uncomfortable symptoms that may make it more likely that an individual will relapse. The process enables the person to safely wean off the drug in the comfort of a secure environment where symptoms are continuously monitored. In many cases, medical detox is the first step in an in-patient treatment program.

Lorazepam (Ativan) Withdrawal FAQs

Ativan (Lorazepam) Withdrawal Treatment at Riverwalk Ranch
A Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area Addiction Treatment Center

Riverwalk Ranch provides withdrawal treatment for Ativan and other benzodiazepines as part of our comprehensive addiction treatment services. Our medical professionals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area use a variety of research-based interventions to treat withdrawal along with other substance use issues and co-occurring disorders. Among other supportive peers and addiction experts, you will find a safe and comfortable place to undergo medical detox.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Ativan abuse or addiction, contact our addiction treatment center today at (877) 863-3869. Whether you call Texas home or you’re looking to start anew in a different setting, Riverwalk Ranch can provide a therapeutic and supportive oasis for you. Everyone deserves a happy and healthy life free from the clutches of addiction, and overcoming withdrawal is the first step in getting there.

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