Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms – Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Ativan withdrawal can cause symptoms such as anxiety, nausea, irritability or agitation, headaches, insomnia, and cravings to use more Ativan.
Those who are physiologically dependent on Ativan will experience withdrawal when they discontinue using the drug or markedly reduce their dose. Even those who have strictly adhered to a prescription and only take the recommended dosage can experience withdrawal symptoms, and this can occur in some cases in as little as one week.
Withdrawal occurs because a user’s body becomes dependent on Ativan to function normally. When Ativan is discontinued, the brain and nervous system must go through a period of adjustment as they reestablish balance and once again become able to function properly.
During this time, a person may encounter varying degrees of physical and emotional discomfort through the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms. The duration and intensity of many of these symptoms will be largely based on how much of the drug was used on average, how frequently, and for how long.
Symptoms of Ativan Withdrawal
Doctors often suggest tapering off of Ativan versus stopping “cold turkey,” as this can be hazardous. Those who quit using Ativan without weaning themselves off first may encounter severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis.
There are two stages of benzodiazepine withdrawal – acute and protracted.
Acute withdrawal involves both physical and psychological symptoms, including the following
- Irritability and agitation
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Impaired concentration
- Hand tremors
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Blood pressure changes
- Rapid heart rate and palpitations
Protracted withdrawal, also referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), is the persistence of symptoms, mostly psychological, after acute withdrawal is over. Not every person will experience PAWS.
Common Ativan protracted withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Anxiety and depression
- Drug cravings
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory impairments
- Impaired concentration
- Constant fatigue and lethargy
- Reduced interest and motivation
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
- Inability to feel pleasure
Rebound Anxiety and Sleeping Problems
Rebound symptoms commonly occur during Ativan withdrawal. Rebound symptoms are temporary, but possibly intensified return of the symptoms, such as anxiety or insomnia, that compelled the person to take Ativan initially. Rebound anxiety or insomnia usually occur two or three days after the acute withdrawal phase begins.
Many people relapse due to their incapacity to manage this rebound anxiety. As many as one-third of individuals who discontinue Ativan use will experience rebound effects. Employing a tapering schedule can help manage rebound symptoms until an alternative treatment can be identified.
Duration of Ativan Withdrawal
The duration of Ativan withdrawal varies between individuals and depends on a multitude of factors. Typically, those who use higher doses more frequently and for longer periods suffer from a longer, more intense, and uncomfortable withdrawal.
As an intermediate-acting drug, Ativan remains in an individual’s system for an average of 12 hours. Acute withdrawal typically onsets within 10-24 hours after the last dose is taken, but this period may be shorter or longer for some.
Full-blown acute withdrawal symptoms may continue for 10-14 days and subside over the next couple of weeks. In more extreme cases, symptoms can persist for several months or longer.
Ativan Withdrawal Timeline
- Days 1-3—Acute withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and nausea, usually begin within the first 24 hours after discontinuing use.
- Days 4-7—Symptoms of acute withdrawal usually persist during this period. Symptoms and severity vary by between persons but may include tremors, drugs cravings, anxiety, and agitation.
- Days 8-14—Symptoms of acute withdrawal, including rebound symptoms, usually start to subside during the second week.
- Days 15+—Acute withdrawal symptoms should mostly be absent. Any lingering symptoms should be mild, but protracted withdrawal symptoms may onset for some former Ativan users.
Treatment for Ativan Addiction
Professional, comprehensive addiction treatment offers those who are dependent on Ativan or other substances the best chance at long-term recovery. Recovery in Tune programs include evidence-based services such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and group counseling, peer support, and more.
We employ caring addiction specialists who render services with expertise and provide clients with the tools and support they so urgently need to achieve abstinence and long-term wellness. We are dedicated to ensuring that every client we treat receives professional, compassionate, and customized care designed for his or her unique needs and goals.
The relationships built and skills learned during treatment can help recovering Ativan addicts restore mental and physical well-being and regain the chance to lead a full, happy and substance-free life. Contact us today to discuss treatment options and find out how we can help you or a loved one begin the journey to recovery!