What is Ativan And Why Should You Avoid It?

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What Is Ativan?

Ativan (generic form: lorazepam) is a prescription medication that belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines, medications that lower brain activity. It’s mainly prescribed to patients to treat the symptoms of disorders like anxiety. It can also treat insomnia and epileptics (a type of severe seizure).

Ativan vs. Xanax

Like Ativan, Xanax is a prescription medication that treats anxiety disorders. While both generally share the same qualities, there are a few differences to note.

  • Ativan has a slower onset of effect. Peak concentrations occur within two hours following administration, compared to the one to two hours of Xanax.
  • Xanax’s duration of action lies between four to six hours, while Ativan’s is eight hours.
  • Xanax’s performance-impairing and sedative effects may happen sooner but end quicker.


What Are The Side Effects Of Ativan?

How does Ativan make you feel? Here are some of the Ativan side effects:

  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of coordination or balance
  • Memory problems
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth


However, this medication may also cause serious side effects.

  • Severe drowsiness
  • Worsened sleeping problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremors
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Vision changes
  • Pain in upper stomach
  • Jaundice or yellowing of eyes or skin
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dark urine
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Sudden restlessness or excitement
  • Change in sex drive or ability
  • Unusual mood or behavioral changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Suicidal or self-harming thoughts
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Overdose


If any of these symptoms, even common ones, intensify or do not go away, see your doctor right away.

Why Is Ativan Dangerous?

Because it slows down brain activity, Ativan affects physical functions and responses. When taken correctly, it can make you feel calm and relaxed. It can also stop painful muscle spasms and prevent severe seizures. Incorrectly using it poses some dangers.

In addition to the side effects mentioned above, Ativan can slow or even stop your breathing. This is especially risky if you’ve recently taken alcohol, opioid medication, or other substances that slow breathing.

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Ativan And Pregnancy

More than that, avoid using lorazepam if you’re pregnant. It falls under Category D of the FDA Pregnancy Categories, which means that there is evidence that the drug is risky for the fetus.

Some documented risks to mother and child are:

  • Some studies show that taking lorazepam during pregnancy can lead to preterm labor and low birth weight in infants.
  • Infants have a higher risk for neurological issues if the mother takes Ativan while pregnant. 
  • Although the risk is small, taking Ativan in the first trimester of pregnancy has been associated with a small increase in congenital disabilities.


Ativan Addiction

As with any drug, there’s a risk for physical dependence and addiction. One situation for these to become outcomes is due to tolerance.

If your body develops a tolerance to the drug, you’ll likely increase the amount you need to consume to get the desired effect. The effects may also wear off quicker, making your dosages higher and more frequent. 

Tolerance can also lead to physical dependence. Ativan enhances the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural chemical that the brain produces that calms brain activity. As you continue taking the drug, your brain relies more on the drug to regulate GABA than doing it on its own, becoming less efficient at it.

Physical dependence may also turn to abuse and addiction– using the drug without regard for your doctor’s instructions. Consequently, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication or lower the amount significantly from what you’re familiar with.

What Are The Signs of Ativan addiction?

Physical symptoms of an addiction to Ativan are often withdrawal symptoms. We’ll get to that later.

On the same note, there are behavioral marks to see if you or someone is addicted to the substance.

  • Getting preoccupied with the drug

From day to night, you’re thinking about the drug. Thoughts like where you can “score” more and when you can take another dose are constantly running through your head. Solely having Ativan on your mind will lead to other social side effects.

  • Withdrawing from loved ones

Since you’d rather spend time with the medication, you’ll isolate yourself from friends and family. 

  • Neglecting responsibilities

Moreover, you’ll ignore or forget life’s responsibilities because you’ll turn all your time and attention to the substance. You might start skipping work or school, underperforming, and getting low grades or low performances.

  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy

Ativan addiction may also lead you to lose interest in things you were passionate about. 

  • Financial trouble

Aside from time and attention, your money gets put into your addiction. Next thing you know, you’re constantly asking friends and family for money to sustain your addiction.

  • Taking more doses than prescribed

If you know someone taking lorazepam as medication, it may be good to know the prescribed dosage and additional instructions. This can help you track whether they are taking more than they should.

  • “Doctor shopping”

“Doctor shopping” means going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions within the same time frame.

If you notice one or more of these symptoms in you or someone you know, it may be time to check into Ativan rehab.

a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa
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What Are Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms occur if you abruptly stop taking Ativan or lower the dosage drastically. Unfortunately, these physical and mental symptoms can potentially be severe and dangerous. That’s why it’s recommended that you taper off the drug gradually and under a physician’s care.

Withdrawal symptoms for Ativan include:

  • High fever
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heightened sensitivity to light, noise, and touch
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Vertigo
  • Anxiety
  • Pain attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures


While prescription medication means to help people and alleviate their symptoms, it can quickly turn into an addiction problem if you misuse them. Misuse and abuse can turn into an addiction, which carries threats and dangers. Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is Ativan?” you can now tread carefully when taking it.

Addiction is a scary thing to go through. If you or anyone you know wants to begin the road to recovery, turn to Restore Health & Wellness Center. You can visit us at 6918 Owensmouth Ave, Canoga Park, CA 91303, contact us at 888-979-4570, or visit our website here.

Disclaimer: This post serves a strictly educational use. It does not reflect the services, products, or therapeutic approaches of this establishment or its healthcare practitioners. This blog aims not to advertise the products, services, or therapeutic approaches of any other establishment that may be associated with this site. On the subject of safe or legal services, products, and appropriate therapies, recommendations ought to be given by a qualified professional on a case-to-case basis.

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