Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, Causes and Treatment
- Causes, Signs and Symptoms of Ativan Withdrawal
- Symptoms of Ativan Withdrawal
- Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms
- Treatment for Withdrawal from Ativan
- Inpatient and Outpatient Programs
- Help Someone Cope with Withdrawal
What is Ativan? Are There Withdrawals from Ativan Use?Ativan is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety disorders but may also be used to treat someone during alcohol withdrawal.
It can be an addictive medication when taken over long periods of time or when it is used recreationally, outside of prescribed dose regulations.
Causes, Signs and Symptoms of Ativan Withdrawal
Withdrawal from Ativan may occur if you suddenly stop taking it, so it is important you talk with your prescribing physician for the safest plan to taper off of it. High doses of Ativan place you at risk for severe and even deadly symptoms of withdrawal.
If you have been taking Ativan for a prolonged period, you increase your risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms as you start to become physically and psychologically dependent on it.
High doses of Ativan place you at risk for severe and even deadly symptoms of withdrawal and can make tapering off of it a lengthier process.
Benzodiazepines can lead to blackouts and memory loss, so if you notice your prescription is running out, it is possible that you are taking more and do not remember.
This can place you at risk for withdrawal if you run out before it is time for your refill.
Ativan is a short-acting benzodiazepine, which means that it is eliminated from the body much faster than longer-acting benzodiazepines, and this rate of elimination also increases the chances of developing withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of Ativan Withdrawal
Initially when you are coming off Ativan, you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Increased heart rate and breathing.
- Muscle cramps.
These acute symptoms lessen over time, but you may continue to experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) for a longer period. PAWS symptoms include:
- Rebound insomnia.
- Changes in mood.
Difficulty concentrating, incoordination and slight tremors may last for weeks while PAWS may continue for months.
Some research indicates that there is a high dropout rate for patients who are in the process of tapering or have tapered off benzodiazepines due to lengthy withdrawal and cravings, which inevitably lead one back to active use.
Severity of Withdrawal Symptoms
If you have been using Ativan for 6 months or longer, it may be more difficult to abstain.Research reports that short-term benzodiazepine users are more likely to experience mild symptoms of withdrawal.
If you have been using Ativan for 6 months or more, you are likely to experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms, making it more difficult to come off of it safely.
Additionally, a family history of addiction and/or a profile of drug use may increase your likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, due to a shared environmental and genetic etiology.
Treatment for Withdrawal from Ativan
Since Ativan is a short-acting benzodiazepine, pharmacological treatment for withdrawal can include using longer-acting benzodiazepines such as Valium or Librium.
Inpatient and Outpatient Programs
Help Someone Cope with Withdrawal
It is important to be supportive and compassionate so that your loved one doesn't feel worse than they are already feeling.
If they are taking medications for withdrawal, they may need help with everyday tasks, such as picking up a prescription or eating meals, because of troublesome symptoms like tremors or difficulty concentrating.
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