Can Benzos Cause Anxiety?

woman wearing a mask looking out of a window

Millions of these drugs are prescribed each year. Classified as sedative-hypnotics, they have an effect on the central nervous system very similar to alcohol.  The withdrawal symptoms and side-effects of benzos are similar to those found with alcohol and barbiturates. The potential for abuse and dependence is very high.

For the past 50 years, benzodiazepines (AKA benzos) have been the premier treatment used for anxiety disorders. Popular benzos include:

• Alprazolam (Xanax)
• Lorazepam (Ativan)
• Clonazepam (Klonopin)
• Diazepam (Valium)
• Temazepam (Restoril)
• Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
• Clorazepate (Tranxene)
• Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)

How Benzos Work

In the simplest terms, benzodiazepines stop the brain from producing fear. They do this by interfering with the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system. This system is a set of chemical receptors in the brain which absorb GABA. When GABA locks into these receptors, they inhibit the ability of the amygdala to generate flight or fight responses. This, in turn, reduces anxiety, creating a sense of calm.

While drugs that interact with the GABA system are very effective at treating problems like anxiety, insomnia, panic and seizures, they also have a wide range of side-effects.

The Dangers of Benzodiazepines

Increased anxiety is one of the long-term problems that come with benzo use. Because these drugs inhibit anxiety in the short-term, they alter the natural brain chemistry of the user. The brain then becomes reliant on the drug to stop the fear reactions, and produces less GABA on its own. With GABA levels reduced, the person needs the drug to regulate their mood, since the brain is no longer able to do it without chemical assistance. The result is a person who requires increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect. Without it, their natural fear levels become overwhelming.

Besides the increase in anxiety, benzos also carry a host of other problems, particularly when abused. They can cause depression, lack of motivation, delirium, aggression, amnesia, hallucinations and paranoia. By inhibiting brain function these drugs also slow reaction times, reduce the ability to think rationally and cause slurred speech. When combined with alcohol or opioids they can suppress the ability to breathe, quickly leading to death.

Dependence, reliance and abuse are also common with benzos, particularly among individuals who already have a tendency to misuse substances. Because the euphoric effects are so similar to alcohol, the allure to use these drugs recreationally is profound.

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is also extremely difficult. Since the drug reduces fear, fits of extreme panic, terror and hostility are common because the fight or flight response is overactive. Sleeplessness, physical discomfort, agitation and a sense of impending doom frequently plague users.

Getting Off Benzos

There are severe emotional aspects of withdrawal. Therefore, quitting benzodiazepines without assistance is not recommended. It is strongly suggested to have a therapist, along with other major sources of support. Medication-assisted treatments (MATs) can help reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms. Anti-depressants are nearly as effective at reducing anxiety, with far fewer difficulties and risks. Consulting with a doctor on the best path to quitting is always helpful.

Anyone who is fighting with benzo addiction should consider a structured environment, such as Partial Hospitalization (PHP) or an Intensive Outpatient (IOP) program. These can help manage the painful mood swings and downright dread that come with stopping. Support and structure are paramount in recovery from benzo addiction. It is impossible to overstate their importance. Don’t try to do it alone.

How Addictive Are Benzos?

benzodiazepine pills on a blue background

Benzodiazepines, commonly called ‘benzos’ are in a class of drugs called minor tranquilizers. The first benzodiazepine developed was Librium, which was developed in 1955. It was followed in 1963 by Valium. It didn’t take long for people to become dependent on this new class of drugs. Encouraged by some doctors who didn’t fully realize the potential dangers, lots of people who had never had trouble with addiction before, found themselves addicted to benzos. The phenomenon was even immortalized in the song “Mother’s Little Helper” by The Rolling Stones in 1966. (1)

How Do Benzos Work?

Benzodiazepines work by acting upon the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA reduces brain activity, producing a calming effect on the brain. (2) While they accomplish this effectively, long-term use of benzo can be problematic and they have a high potential for abuse. Long-term and/or excessive use of benzos has been shown to produce negative effects including:

  • Anterograde Amnesia, affecting long-term memory.
  • Disinhibition, leading to uncharacteristic and high-risk behaviors.
  • Delirium, impaired cognition, and confusion, especially in older patients.

Sadly, it would take years before medical science caught up to what some unfortunate patients already knew. Benzodiazepines are very addictive and easy to become dependent upon. Worse, they are one of only a few classes of drug which can induce deadly withdrawal symptoms, including seizures. The others being alcohol and barbiturates, which are in more limited use today. The popularity of tranquilizers like benzo seemed to peak in the late 1970s to early 1980s. As America became more health-conscious, it was less socially acceptable to drink to excess or pop ‘nerve pills’ in certain circles.

Consequences of Long-Term Benzo Use

Today we are living a massive resurgence in the popularity of benzodiazepines. In 2007 over 112 million prescriptions for benzos were written. (2) No one is quite sure exactly when or why it began. A larger proportion of the population is being diagnosed with anxiety than in the past and many people seeking honest relief from the condition choose a pill as the answer. Short-term use of benzodiazepines when prescribed by a physician, for example following trauma, seems to have a much lower risk profile. The problems begin when someone uses benzodiazepines regularly, habitually. Especially if they are being abused.

The changes created in the brain by benzos aren’t fully understood yet. What we do know is that long-term use has long-term consequences. We also know that detoxing off benzos can be extremely dangerous unless it is done under a doctor’s supervision in a clinical environment. The withdrawal effects can be not uncomfortable, but catastrophic without proper medical detox. Fortunately, the field of drug and alcohol treatment is in the midst of a renaissance of sorts. Medical science is bringing new treatments to bear on the problem of addiction every year. Addiction professionals are better equipped than ever before to not only help you detox from benzos but to guide you in the length recovery process that can follow.

Recovery from Benzo Addiction

Millions of people who were dependent on benzos have managed to come out on the other side and remain free of this difficult addiction. One of the most helpful therapeutic tools has been more effective non-narcotic treatments for anxiety. Some in the form of new medications that are not addictive. Others range from the modern, like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR therapy to the ancient, like meditation.

Regardless of your situation, if you or someone you care about is dependent on benzodiazepines, there is help available. Call us today at (844) 746-8836 and we’ll be happy to walk you through the options for care.




Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms

Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms | Recovery in Tune

Updated August 20, 2019

Klonopin withdrawal symptoms are the result of a dependence on the drug and caused by the body slowly becoming accustomed to its absence. When dependence occurs, the body is no longer able to function normally without the substance, and withdrawal symptoms are the unfortunate result.

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine usually prescribed by doctors to treat insomnia, seizures, anxiety, and epilepsy. When withdrawal symptoms manifest, the person experiences what is also known as “rebound effects,” or intensified withdrawal symptoms that often mimic the reasons why Klonopin was prescribed in the first place (e.g., anxiety and insomnia.)

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of the most common physical withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased body temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Poor coordination
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Increased pulse

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical withdrawals are not the only adverse effects that result from Klonopin addiction. Psychological symptoms often begin a few days after physical withdrawal begins, and may include the following:

  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Hostility or aggression
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Intense dreams
  • Drug cravings

Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline

Depending upon the severity and duration of the addiction, the withdrawal timeline for Klonopin will vary for each person. Factors that may affect the detox and withdrawal process include the following:

  • Age
  • Height and weight
  • History of drug abuse
  • The existence of co-occurring disorders such as anxiety
  • If Klonopin was prescribed to treat medical issues such as insomnia or seizures
  • “Cold turkey” withdrawal at home versus a supervised medical detox (preferred)

3 Main Phases Of Withdrawal

1 – Early Withdrawal

During the early withdrawal stage, people often experience the aforementioned rebound symptoms that Klonopin was initially prescribed to treat. This phase usually onsets within a day or two, and for those with severe dependencies, these early symptoms can be quite unpleasant. These symptoms typically abate after about four days, however.

2 – Acute Withdrawal

During the next “acute” stage, people often experience the majority of the physical and psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal. Headaches, confusion, and dizziness are common at this time, and other symptoms may include moodiness, anxiety, and suicidal ideations. This stage can persist for two weeks to as long as three months, depending upon the person’s level of dependency.

3 – Post-Acute Withdrawal

The post-acute withdrawal stage, or protracted withdrawal, will not be experienced by everyone, but when it occurs often includes depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. These psychological symptoms can persist for long intervals of time after Klonopin use has stopped and is most common among those who abused Klonopin at a consistently high level.

In many cases, individuals who experience post-acute withdrawals should seek mental health treatment to help manage these symptoms.

Klonopin Detox

Klonopin withdrawal can be quite dangerous, especially if it is undergone without medical supervision. The danger is a result of the symptoms associated with the detox process. Fortunately, however, there are safe treatment methods to help minimize these highly unpleasant effects.

Detox from Klonopin requires ridding the body of all toxins and enduring withdrawal symptoms, which can start as early as a few days after the last use. Some of these symptoms could persist as long as two years, although the detox process is usually complete within a month or so.

One of the best ways to prevent extended withdrawal symptoms is through the use of a medical detox program, which often consists of tapering down the drug dosage, rather than attempting a home detox or the cold turkey approach.

Indeed, many medical detox programs that are focused on the safe management of withdrawal symptoms will slowly wean clients off of Klonopin. Although this method is not used for all clients, it is a common strategy. The tapering process may last for months if the client is accustomed to taking high doses of Klonopin or for an extended period.

A typical tapering process decreases doses by 0.5 mg every two weeks. Once patients are taking only 1 mg per day, the dosage can be reduced by 0.25 mg per week. The doctor and medical staff will then focus on completely stopping the dosage

Unfortunately, many people attempt at-home detox plans and try to wean themselves off Klonopin without medical supervision. This method can be hazardous because each person is different and the tapering schedule can vary.

Treatment for Klonopin Addiction

Klonopin addiction is a life-altering condition that can adversely affect the person suffering, as well as those close to him or her, in a myriad of ways. Following detox, people dependent on Klonopin are encouraged to undergo an inpatient or partial hospitalization treatment programs following by intensive outpatient treatment.

All formats include comprehensive, evidence-based therapies and counseling as well as group support. Our professional medical staff specialize in both drug and alcohol addiction treatment and can provide patients with the tools they need to recover and enjoy long-term wellness and sobriety.

Dangers of Mixing Ativan and Alcohol

Ativan and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Ativan (lorazepam) is a prescription benzodiazepine and central nervous system (CNS) depressant intended for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Alcohol is also a CNS depressant that, when abused, can cause profound intoxication and lethal effects.

Because both substances depress activity in the CNS, combining Ativan with alcohol can result in perilously slow breathing and heart rate. Their compounded effects can result in unpredictable complications, as well as a full-blown, life-threatening overdose.

Abuse of Ativan and Alcohol

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that around 88,000 people die each year due to causes related to alcohol. Many of these fatalities are the result of mixing alcohol with other intoxicating substances, including prescription painkillers. What’s more, many people drink alcohol while using sedatives, such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates.

Ativan is one of the most commonly prescribed and abused drugs in the U.S. It is a high-potency benzodiazepine with a relatively short half-life, compared to other benzos. As with many other prescription medications, Ativan is generally only prescribed for short-term use.

When a patient is prescribed Ativan, the doctor should advise against consuming alcohol while using the medication. Unfortunately, many people ignore the warnings and experience tragic consequences. Furthermore, many people find that they have become dependent upon or addicted to this drug.

Large amounts of either alcohol or Ativan can produce effects that can become life-threatening. For example, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), during the seven years from 2005-2011, 943,032 emergency department visits involved benzodiazepines alone or in conjunction with opioid pain relievers or alcohol.

Short- and Long-term Side Effects of Alcohol

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Distorted vision/hearing

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired coordination
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Blackouts/memory loss

  • Unconsciousness
  • Liver disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Increased cancer risk

Short-and Long-Term Side Effects of Ativan

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Impaired coordination

  • Insomnia
  • Impaired memory
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Learning difficulties
  • Mouth sores
  • Abdominal bleeding
  • Kidney problems
  • Headaches
  • Seizures

Ativan and alcohol induce many of the same side effects. Therefore, when the two substances are used in conjunction, the effects can increase exponentially.

Ativan and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Specific Dangers of Mixing Ativan and Alcohol

One of the most significant dangers of combining Ativan and alcohol is the risk of slowed respiration that ultimately results in death. These symptoms occur because both alcohol and Ativan both have sedating properties.

Also, alcohol initially increases dopamine, which can induce effects that feel like energy and well-being. However, over time, continued alcohol consumption produces less stimulating effects, and sedation takes over. If someone uses Ativan with alcohol, the boost in dopamine can temporarily mask the depressant effects that are beginning to occur.

This stimulating effect of alcohol is very dangerous because a person may be at risk for severe CNS depression long before tell-tale signs begin to emerge. Using both substances together can, therefore, end up compounding depressive effects on the CNS, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, including the following:

  • Sluggishness
  • Delusions
  • Mania

  • Respiratory depression
  • Severe confusion
  • Dangerous mood swings

  • Severe depression
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Loss of consciousness

Many people, especially adolescents and young adults, are unaware of the risks involved with mixing prescription medications such as Ativan with alcohol. Moreover, these people may erroneously assume the drugs are safe because doctors frequently prescribe them. Likewise, many people also mistakenly believe that alcohol is safe because it is legal, and almost everyone partakes at some point in their lives.

How to Stop Abusing Ativan and Alcohol

Long-term abuse of alcohol places a person at risk of severe withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to discontinue use. Similarly, a person who tries to stop using Ativan abruptly will also experience symptoms comparable to alcohol withdrawals.

Ativan withdrawal symptoms can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Tremors
  • Intense cravings
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

  • High blood pressure
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Cramps
  • Seizures

Getting Treatment for Addiction

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol or Ativan addiction, please seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Research has shown that the best approach to successfully overcome an addiction is through the use of long-term, comprehensive, evidence-based treatment.

Our outpatient programs include services such as behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, group support, and much more. We help clients develop the coping skills they need to deal with stress and triggers without resorting to the use of addictive substances.

To learn more about treatment options for drug or alcohol addiction, contact Recovery in Tune today! We are dedicated to helping people reclaim the healthy, fulfilling lives they deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Klonopin Overdose

Klonopin Overdose

Klonopin Overdose | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Klonopin Overdose – Klonopin (clonazepam) is an anti-anxiety medication used to treat panic disorder and some seizure disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Klonopin Overdose

Signs and symptoms of a Klonopin overdose may include the following:

  • Altered mental status
  • Paradoxical excitement
  • Markedly slurred speech

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Ataxia

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma

A Klonopin overdose is rarely lethal, so if you or someone you know has overdosed on the drug, try to remain calm and call 911 as soon as possible. If it is someone else who is overdosing, check if they are breathing and move their body into the recovery position until help can arrive. Once the person has made it to the emergency room, medical staff will provide supportive care and supervision to ensure he or she is safe.

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which work on the brain by attaching to GABA neurotransmitters. GABA functions to block impulses between nerve cells, and as a result, this action decreases activity throughout the central nervous system.

For those who consume it, Klonopin helps to calm and mitigate the symptoms of conditions such as anxiety. Although benzodiazepines have a legitimate medical purpose and are legally prescribed, heavy or chronic use can lead to abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Klonopin Overdose Facts

Overdose deaths from benzodiazepines are becoming increasingly common. This increase is due in part to their widespread use and because people tend to use Klonopin in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol and opioids. Between 2002-2015, there was more than a four-fold increase in the number of deaths related to the use of benzodiazepines.

The safest way to avoid a Klonopin overdose is to use it only as directed by a physician. If you believe that your Klonopin use (or that of a loved one) has advanced into abuse or addiction, seeking treatment as soon as possible can help you prevent an accidental overdose. Overdoses are much more likely to occur when substances are combined. Many people overdose when they use it with alcohol or opioids.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, combining benzodiazepines with opioids or other CNS depressants can cause many adverse reactions, including the following:

  • Slowed or labored breathing
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Respiratory arrest

  • Profound dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness/unresponsiveness
  • Death

If you or someone you know is using Klonopin with other drugs and are concerned that an overdose may be occurring, you should seek medical help immediately.

Klonopin Overdose | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Risk Factors

It is impossible to determine the exact amount of Klonopin that will lead to overdose due to factors specific to the user, such as tolerance, weight, age, genetics., etc. Research does show that children and pregnant/nursing mothers are at an increased risk of overdosing on Klonopin.

Also, Klonopin is contraindicated (use if advised against) for people who have the following medical conditions:

  • Acute narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Acute intermittent porphyria

  • Allergies to other benzodiazepines
  • Liver disease

Before using Klonopin, you should disclose your full medical and psychological history to your health provider to reduce health risks, including the possibility of overdose. If you have any of the following conditions, make sure to check with your doctor before using Klonopin:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • A history of drug dependence
  • A history of stroke

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis/emphysema

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Severe depression
  • Myasthenia gravis

The following substances, when used in conjunction with Klonopin, may increase the risk for an overdose:

  • Alcohol
  • Sedatives or sleeping pills
  • Other benzodiazepines
  • MAO Inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants

  • Cordarone (amiodarone)
  • Norvir (ritonavir)
  • Tegretol (carbamazepine)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Theo-Dur (theophylline)

  • Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • Antabuse (disulfiram)
  • Prilosec (omeprazole)
  • Macrolide antibiotics
  • Oral contraceptives

Tolerance and Dependence

Klonopin abuse can rapidly lead to the development of tolerance, which is a condition characterized by a diminished drug response at doses that were once effective. Tolerance, once it has developed, often leads to progressive drug abuse, which can accelerate the development of physiological dependence.

Dependence results in the onset of withdrawal symptoms when the user tries to quit or cut back. In some cases, a person may develop significant Klonopin dependence after only a few weeks of use. After dependence, the last step is addiction itself, which is further characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences to one’s health, life, and relationships.

Treatment for Klonopin Addiction

Although Klonopin is not as dangerous as many other drugs, long-term use or abuse can result in dependence and addiction.

Recovery in Tune is a specialized addiction treatment center that offers comprehensive programs in intensive outpatient and outpatient formats. Services include those proven to be beneficial for the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and much more.

If you or someone you know is dependent on Klonopin, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the chains of addiction for life!

Related: Ativan Overdose

Ativan Overdose

Ativan Overdose | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Ativan Overdose – Ativan (lorazepam) is a short-acting benzodiazepine (benzo) that functions in the central nervous system (CNS) by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA works to reduce or depress activity in the CNS and induces a tranquilizing effect on the mind and body. An overdose of Ativan can occur if a person uses too much of the medication, abuses it by tampering with its form and/or altering the route of administration, or takes it in combination with other drugs or alcohol.

Ativan is commonly prescribed to treat common symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, agitation, and restlessness. It can also be used for the treatment of seizures, muscle spasms, alcohol withdrawal, or insomnia.

Signs of an Ativan Overdose

Ativan is considered to be a relatively safe drug when used as directed by a physician, but taking large doses place the user at risk of an overdose, which may result in coma or even death. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug overdose fatalities involving benzos increased from 1,135 in 1999 to 11,537 in 2017.

When taken alone and used as prescribed, Ativan rarely results in serious complications like unconsciousness, coma, or death. High doses of Ativan, however, can be lethal, especially when it’s used in conjunction with other substances that also depress activity in the CNS. Many overdoses, whether intentional or not, have been linked to the concurrent consumption of alcohol, prescription painkillers, other anti-anxiety drugs, or other sedative/hypnotic medications.

Signs of an Ativan overdose include the following:

  • Pale, bluish skin or lips
  • Shallow, slow breathing
  • Oversedation or drowsiness

  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired memory

  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness

An Ativan overdose is a medical emergency that may result in death if the person doesn’t receive prompt medical attention. Someone who has overdosed on Ativan should never be left alone to recover, and emergency medical assistance should be sought right away.

Side Effects of Ativan

By reducing activity in the CNS, Ativan also impacts physical functions and responses. Other potential side effects include the following:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Low energy levels
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of pleasure in daily life

  • Depression
  • Learning difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Blood in stool or urine

  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Chills
  • Involuntary movements

Ativan Overdose | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Addiction and Withdrawal

One of the most severe side effects of Ativan use is the potential for developing an addiction. Ativan addiction is most prevalent among users who use too much of the drug, who abuse it for recreational purposes, or who take it with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol, prescription painkillers, and sleep aids.

After using Ativan for more than 2-3 weeks, the CNS adapts to the effects of the drug, and many people will require higher doses to relieve their symptoms. This condition is known as tolerance, which may also contribute to physical dependence. If the user continues to abuse Ativan, or the dose is not reduced, these two factors can lead to addiction—a chronic, progressive disease also characterized by a compulsion to seek and use a substance despite the incurrence of negative consequences.

Hallmark signs of Ativan addiction include the following:

  • Restlessness, irritability, or depression when the drug becomes unattainable
  • An obsessive interest in obtaining the drug
  • A lack of control over how much Ativan is used at a given time
  • Withdrawal from friends and family as a result of drug use
  • A decline in the quality of one’s performance on the job or at school
  • Neglectfulness in physical appearance and grooming
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued

Benzo withdrawal can result in serious symptoms, including seizures, extreme agitation, and hallucinations. When a person is abruptly deprived of the drug, they may also encounter headaches, nausea and vomiting, sleeping problems, excessive sweating, and restlessness.

A drug taper is usually recommended for most benzo users to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. During this process, a healthcare provider gradually reduces the dose of Ativan over a prolonged period, until the drug can be safely discontinued without compromising the patient’s health.

Seeking Help for Ativan Abuse

Many people erroneously believe that prescription medications, including Ativan, are less dangerous or habit-forming than illicit drugs, such as meth, cocaine, or heroin. This is not necessarily the case, though, especially in situations where a person is abusing more than one substance at a time. Also, people who become dependent on Ativan may be more likely to suffer from mental health conditions that can get worse if the drug is misused.

Recovery in Tune is a specialized treatment center that offers integrated programs that treat addiction as well as co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. Our programs feature services vital for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, support groups, aftercare planning, and more.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to Ativan, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the cycle of addiction for life!

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

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:

  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Mood swings

  • Impaired concentration
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Hand tremors
  • Sweating

  • 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

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

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!