Ativan (Lorazepam) Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline
Ativan (lorazepam) is a member of a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.1 This class of drugs is primarily used to manage anxiety disorders, to reduce seizures, as sleep aids, and as muscle relaxants. In some instances, they are also used as pre-surgical drugs to relax individuals prior to receiving formal anesthesia.
On this page, you’ll learn about Ativan withdrawal, including the symptoms, timeline, and how to find help to detox from Ativan.
All of the drugs classified as benzodiazepines have been classified as Schedule IV controlled substances by the DEA.2 This classification means that these drugs have a potential for misuse and the development of physical dependence (a syndrome that consists of both tolerance and withdrawal symptoms).
Physical dependence occurs when a person adapts to the effects of a drug because of its continued use. The person needs the drug in order to function normally. When this happens, if the drug is stopped abruptly or the dose is drastically lowered, their body will respond to the absence of the drug with a pattern of withdrawal symptoms.1
Each person’s withdrawal from Ativan will vary. Generally the acute phase of withdrawal occurs over the course of several days to weeks after Ativan use is stopped. However, some people experience protracted withdrawal and in these cases, withdrawal symptoms can be present for many months after stopping Ativan use.1
Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms
Ativan withdrawal symptoms will vary in their intensity depending on how long, how often, and how much of the drug a person uses.4 A person is at risk of experiencing more severe withdrawal symptoms if they have used Ativan for longer periods or taken higher doses of Ativan.1,3
In addition, benzodiazepines are often misused with other drugs, such as alcohol, narcotic pain medications, and even stimulant drugs like cocaine. This type of polydrug misuse complicates the withdrawal process and is associated with an increased risk of serious adverse consequences.1
Symptoms that may present during the acute stage of Ativan withdrawal can include:1
- Involuntary movements.
- Gastrointestinal issues (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
- Increased heart rate.
There is also a potential to develop more serious symptoms during the acute stage of withdrawal, such as:1
- Delirium tremens.
- Suicidal ideation.
When a person experiences protracted Ativan withdrawal, symptoms can include:1
- Cognitive impairment.
- Muscle twitches.
- Tinnitus (a ringing sensation in the ears).
- Paresthesia (tingling sensations in the limbs).
How Long Does Ativan Withdrawal Last?
Much like the symptoms of withdrawal vary from person to person, the Ativan withdrawal timeline also varies. Several factors can affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the timeline. These factors include:3,4
- How long a person has been taking Ativan.
- How much Ativan is being used.
- Co-occurring mental health disorders.
- The presence of other substances, such as opioids, alcohol, or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
Ativan Withdrawal Timeline
A general overview of what the Ativan withdrawal timeline could look like is as follows:3
- Day 1: Around 6-8 hours after the last use of Ativan, withdrawal symptoms may begin.
- Day 2-3: The symptoms of Ativan withdrawal will likely peak around this time.
- Day 4-6: A significant improvement in Ativan withdrawal symptoms occurs.
Get Help to Detox From Ativan
Detoxing from Ativan on your own is not recommended. Instead, a medical detox can help you safely and comfortably withdraw from Ativan. Medical professionals will supervise your withdrawal and help to ease any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
While detox from Ativan is an important first step, in order for recovery to have a chance of being successful and sustained, individuals will likely need to address the underlying reasons for their substance use disorder.5
Participating in continued addiction treatment that includes behavioral therapies can help a person recognize and change harmful behavior and develop new coping skills.5
If you or someone you love is struggling with their Ativan use, help is available. At River Oaks Treatment Center—a drug rehab near Tampa, FL—we offer several levels of addiction treatment and customized care.
To learn more about how our compassionate team can help you or your loved one detox from Ativan and embark on your recovery journey, call to speak with an admissions navigator. We’re available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you start treatment.
Please don’t wait to get the help you deserve. We’re here to support your recovery every step of the way.
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