Ativan (known generically as lorazepam) is a prescription medication used to treat a number of disorders including anxiety, acute alcohol withdrawal and seizures. Part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs, Ativan suppresses the central nervous system, inducing calm and relieving anxiety. It is widely prescribed as a short-term treatment for anxiety, however extended use–more than four weeks–can lead to dependence and addiction. People who abruptly stop taking Ativan after prolonged use often experience painful physical and mental symptoms known as Ativan withdrawal. Without medical help, Ativan withdrawal can be life-threatening. Symptoms include vomiting, tremors, and potentially fatal seizures.

The Risks of Stopping Ativan Cold Turkey

People who become addicted to Ativan may decide to abruptly stop taking the drug (known as going cold turkey). Abruptly stopping Ativan, like any benzodiazepine medication, is extremely dangerous and life-threatening. It is highly recommended that addicted users seek medical help at a detox facility or drug rehab center. There, clients can safely withdrawal from Ativan as medical staff gradually wean them off the drug in a process known as a taper.

Need Help Finding Treatment in Your Area? Drug Treatment Center Finder Can Help

Drug Treatment Center Finder has a database filled with drug rehabs in all 50 states. We can make this process less painful for you or your loved one today. Please call our 24-hour helpline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our agents will assist you with any questions you may have. You can also search for facilities in your area using our Find a Rehab search.

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

When it comes to common Ativan withdrawal symptoms, there is a lot of uncomfortable mental, physical, and emotional pain to expect. Symptoms may vary depending on the dosage taken, as well as the duration of Ativan use and abuse. With the proper professional treatment, symptoms can be lessened and things will get better. Here are some common signs and symptoms to expect out of this discomforting process.

Mild Symptoms

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Hyperthermia
  • Numbness of Extremities
  • Short-Term Memory Loss
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Sweating
  • Tension
  • Irregular Heartbeat

Chronic Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty Concentrating

Severe Symptoms

  • Seizures
  • Death
  • Panic Attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Depersonalization
  • Delirium
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Vertigo

Ativan Withdrawal Timeline

Ativan Withdrawal Timeline

How long and how intense the process will be all depends on the individual’s genetic makeup, the dosage of the benzo, and how long the drug was taken. With the help of one of the medical professionals provided at a treatment center of your choice, this process can be done as painlessly as possible with little to no damage. It is not recommended to go cold turkey. If instantly stopping the intake of Ativan is done, seizures and death may occur. Here is a general timeline that can vary from person to person:

  • 24 to 48 Hours

    Symptoms may begin during or right after the first two days of stopping Ativan intake. Anxiety, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating, are some of the symptoms that occur, and later grow, during and after this time period.


  • 1 to 2 Weeks

    The first two weeks of withdrawal produce symptoms of full-blown insomnia, sweating, muscle pain, tremors, and even nausea. Mental, emotional, and physical pain may be strenuous and even torturous. With time and professional medical assistance, these symptoms will decrease as long as the drug is not picked up again.


  • 3 to 4 Weeks

    Symptoms may persist for a month to many months depending on the amount taken, the milligrams of each pill, and the duration of use and/or abuse. During this time, however, one may be able to better deal with the symptoms as opposed to before.


  • 5+ Weeks

    Those who have a large dependence on Ativan may have a condition called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), where withdrawal symptoms may reappear at random times after the five-week mark and beyond. Withdrawal symptoms may go on for years depending on the person going through this process and their genetic makeup, as well as the extent of Ativan abuse and/or dependence.

Ativan Withdrawal Rebound Symptoms

Ativan Withdrawal and Drugs
Dangers in Mixing Ativan as Substitute for Withdrawal in Other Drugs

After acute benzo withdrawal, common symptoms are rebound insomnia and anxiety. What this means is that there are recurrent symptoms of anxiety and insomnia that aren’t necessarily consistent. It could rebound and reappear for months, or even years, later. A medical professional can help you manage this rough period, as well as your detox and further recovery.

Ativan Detox and Treatment

Ativan Detox and Treatment
Withdrawal Medications

Benzo detox can be hard, but there are some medications that help to ease the symptoms that can be painful and even deadly. People who are addicted and are dependent on benzodiazepines benefit greatly from medically assisted detox and limit the amount of mental, emotional, and permanent physical damage to major organs and the brain.

For further help and guidance to the process of detox and recovery, call us at (855) 619-8070 and we can answer any further questions about how to get through the tough and painful withdrawal symptoms of Ativan and other drugs.

Ativan Withdrawal Frequently Asked Questions

Ativan Withdrawal and Drugs
  • Is Ativan addictive?

    Yes. For more information on benzodiazepines, click here!


  • What is a benzodiazepine?

    A benzodiazepine, or benzo, is a class of pills that serve as anti-anxiety tranquilizers. These narcotic drugs include many brands and different pills, such a lorazepam (Ativan), Xanax, and more.


  • How quickly can you become addicted to a benzo?

    Benzo addiction can happen quickly and without even noticing it. This frequently prescribed class of drugs is a highly popular drug that doctors can prescribe you with, but its highly addictive qualities can be a slippery slope for those who are potentially addicts or can grow to have addictive qualities through dependence on this drug.


  • What is a half-life and how can that effect benzodiazepine dependence?

    A half-life is what determines how long the drug takes to leave your body in number form. A half-life is a range. For example, Ativan has a typical half-life of 10-12. Overall, however, a half-life cannot ultimately determine whether withdrawal symptoms will be prolonged or not. Everybody is different. Your best option is to seek a medical professional’s help.


  • What are factors that determine how severe my benzo withdrawal will be?

    There is no way to determine how long a withdrawal process may take. Depending on the dosage taken, the duration of use and/or abuse, and the individual’s bodily makeup, it can greatly differ from person to person. For information on how to get through the withdrawal process and how to acquire professional medical assistance, click here!