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Mixing Ativan with alcohol

Are you considering mixing Ativan with alcohol?

We hope that you’ll reconsider. In this article, we revew the risks and dangers of mixing this benzodiazepine medication (which contains lorazepam) with alcohol. Lots of things can go wrong. So serious are the consequences that doctors even suggest that you avoid drinking totally while taking Ativan. But if you still have questions about mixing alcohol and Ativan, we invite you to ask questions about mixing Ativan and alcohol in the comments, at the end.

Ativan and alcohol effects

Ativan is prescribed to help treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Ativan (lorazepam) works by slowing brain activity, causing a calming effect in people with anxiety. Although mixing alcohol with Ativan does not change how long lorazepam lasts, when abused and taken for an Ativan high, lorazepam can also have euphoric effects.

Some people mix Ativan with alcohol to intensify the effects of the drug.  However, the impact on behavior and memory combine to make Ativan and alcohol a very dangerous combination. Even if you don’t experience negative health effects, you’re at a greater risk for accidents. Self-reports include the following effects

  • amnesia
  • difficulty walking or moving
  • loss of inhibitions
  • mood changes
  • self-harming behavior

Dangers of mixing Ativan and alcohol

Ativan and alcohol have some very dangerous side effects when combined, even more so when you snort Ativan and drink. Some potentially dangerous effects of mixing Ativan with alcohol include:

  • coma
  • difficult or shallow breathing
  • drowsiness and dizziness
  • impaired coordination
  • increased risk of overdose
  • loss of consciousness

Plus, Ativan makes alcohol more intoxicating than normal when taken together. The sleepiness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness of alcohol are combined with trouble concentrating, difficulty with coordination and movement, and much slower reactions. These factors all put you at an increased risk of accidents. Not only that, but your alcohol tolerance will be lower, making it dangerous to drink normally when on Ativan. You might drink a normal amount of alcohol and still end up very sick or even cause alcohol poisoning.

Ativan and alcohol overdose

Ativan is easier to overdose on when taken with alcohol. Your tolerance for Ativan will be lower than normal, opening you up for adverse side effects and potential overdose. Sometimes this can be a problem even if you space the Ativan and alcohol several hours apart, because benzodiazepines stay in your system for several days.

Ativan and alcohol deaths

Unfortunately, mixing alcohol and Ativan is all too common. Even a normal Ativan dosage prescribed by your doctor could cause unusual complications when taken this way – and taking a high dose can be deadly. Combining alcohol and Ativan can lower your heart rate or even stop your breathing. Choosing to mix Ativan and alcohol always entails a level of risk.

Is it safe to drink on Ativan?

No, drinking while taking Ativan isn’t safe. Even if you take Ativan according to a doctor’s directions it can be dangerous if you drink alcohol. You can ask your doctor about the safety of spacing your Ativan and alcohol consumption and safe drinking limits, but it’s usually safer to avoid any combination of the two at all.

Mixing Ativan alcohol questions

Do you still have questions about mixing Ativan with alcohol or other substances? Please leave your Ativan questions here. We try our best to answer all questions personally, and promptly. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who can help. Your experiences with mixing Ativan and alcohol are also welcome.

Reference Sources: NIAAA pamphlet: Harmful Interactions, Mixing Alcohol with Medicines
DailyMed: Lorazepam tablets
Medline Plus: Lorazepam

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82 Responses to “Mixing Ativan with alcohol
Teresa Trenholm
11:54 am November 23rd, 2012

My mother has been taking Ativan for a couple of years now and is a heavy whiskey drinker. She has been diagnosed with alcoholism in past years. Recently, she has become angry & negative. She lives alone. Where should I bring her for help? She needs to quit both. I live in Newport, NH, Sullivan County.
Thank you

10:22 am November 25th, 2012

Hi Teresa. I’d suggest that you call the National Drug Abuse hotline at 1-800-662-HELP for free and objective help. It’s a government sponsored hotline, and can refer you to treatment services including rehab and counseling for you and your mother…as well as other support in your area. I hope that this helps!

1:27 am May 30th, 2013

I took an Ativan around 930 pm then had a drink around 1030pm then I had another drink a shot of patron then 2 more drinks in all I had about 6 drinks but only drank a full 4 and a shot I got home around 430 am and fell asleep for 2 hours then at 6 am I felt very sick and started vomiting for about an hour. Could this have been from mixing the 2 substances or coincidence since the lady I work with was also vomiting all night the same night and didn’t do what I did.

10:23 am May 30th, 2013

Hi Megan. It’s hard to tell if vomiting was caused by mixing medication with alcohol or from a stomach virus. I’d suggest that you call your physician and try to figure it out with the help of a medical professional.

8:11 pm July 17th, 2013

Hi my name is Lisa , I took my last 1 mg of lorazepam this morning at 4:30 am. I wanted to go have 2 drinks for happy hour at 5pm . Is this safe.

4:14 am July 19th, 2013

I’ve read that ativan is out of your system within 6 hours. If I take .25 mg of an ativan in the morning and have one or two drinks after the 6 hour period, am I safe to drink?

12:24 pm July 19th, 2013

Hi Lisa. Id’ suggest that you talk with your prescribing doctor or local pharmacist for a go-ahead on taking lorazepam and then drinking.

Hi Eric. Again, I think that you’ll need a medical opinion. Mixing these two chemicals is dangerous.

1:13 pm August 15th, 2013

My sister takes a low dose Ativan every morning at the same time or she gets shaky. Although prescribed to take it twice a day she only takes it once. However, she drinks A LOT of Brandy every night starting early evening. (A lot is a about 1 1/2 of a big bottle every couple of days). She basically passes out every night. She has been on Ativan a couple of years but the brandy habit has been going on for 30 years.
I feel she is shaky because of alcohol withdrawal in the morning and that she is an alcoholic. Is the mix of Ativan and later alcohol dangerous?

10:45 am August 16th, 2013

Hello Pat. The Ativan may be masking her alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It sounds like your sister is well into alcohol addiction and could need alcohol in her system more than she knows or will let on. Have you discussed your concerns with her? Also, yes…it’s dangerous! Can you report your concerns to her prescribing doctor?

Farrell Bushing
9:56 pm September 5th, 2013

I had 1.0 mg Ativan at 6:00 am this morning. I am an infrequent user an this is the first I’ve had in more than two weeks. Is it safe to have a glass of wine at 7:00 pm this evening?

1:10 am September 19th, 2013

My son was prescribed .5 mg ativan for panic attacks he started having a couple of weeks ago. Last night he celebrated his friends birthday and drank until 8 am this morning before he went to bed. It is now 8 pm and he is here for dinner and seems to be starting a panic attack. Would it be alright for him to take one .5 mg ativan to help stop the attack from coming on???

10:51 am September 19th, 2013

Hi JoAnn. This would be a great question for a pharmacist or medically licensed expert. We’re not able to advise on dosing, as we’re mainly a research and information based website.

8:39 pm September 20th, 2013

if i take 2mg of ativan in the morning at 9am and i have a glass of wine at night around 8 or 9 wull i be ok

12:33 am December 1st, 2013

I take 2mg of ativan and called the pharmacist she said it’s not recommended to drink on ativan but a shot and non alcoholic beverages are fine possibly and should not effect me. I was wondering is this just the ativan that people cant drink on because alot of people take all kinds of medications narcotic etc and still drink.

5:27 pm December 1st, 2013

Hello Dave. No, it’s not just Ativan. It’s not recommended that anyone mix prescription or psychoactive drugs with alcohol. Keep in mind that people may not behave in ways that are best for them and that the only interest doctors have in making advice is in the interest of public health.

2:42 pm February 4th, 2014

I have a prescription for .5 mg of Ativan, take 1 up to 3 times a day for panic attacks. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I take 1 befor I go shoot pool for a league. I generally have 3 or 4 drinks. I know that doing so can cause you to stop breathing, my question is does this build up in your system or damage your lungs after doing this for several monthes?

4:50 am March 27th, 2014

I take like 1mg of ativan or like a .5 a very low doce and i have drank i dont want to like die can someone comfort me:$

1:03 am July 4th, 2014

A friend of mine (and yes, it is a friend and not me) has been going through his monthly supply of Ativan within 10 day periods for about 4 months now (approx. 6mg/day). During this binge, he also drinks the equivalent of about 170oz of alcohol. Me and another friend are surprised he’s not dead yet, between the heavy doses and the self inflicted accidents. He listens to nothing we say. What do we do?

9:55 am July 4th, 2014

Hi Lynn, first of all, your friend is very happy to have friends like you. Maybe, you can set up an intervention along with some other friends and family. Tell him how much you all love him and care for him, but refuse to support his self destruction. Be supportive, intervention doesn’t have to mean confrontation.

3:12 am July 29th, 2014

My girlfriend just overdosed on Ativan just 36 hours ago while heavily intoxicated the ER said she was .2 bac when she got there she is home now and she is really scared on how she is feeling she is seeing double very unstable on her feet and she is full of anxiety she cant sit still she is really scared we were wondering if anyone can tell us is this still the drugs in her system she did have a CAT scan and that came back clear she don’t really remember how many she took but it was a lot

9:31 pm October 1st, 2014

I mixed a small amount of Ativan with a large amount of alcohol and was very ill the following day with what I thought was just a hangover. I don’t drink often so my tolerance for alcohol is quite low. Two days later after feeling somewhat normal I took .5mg of Ativan and was very ill with gastrointestinal issues and extreme vertigo. Could this be due to my alcohol/ Ativan mixing from two days ago?

4:25 am November 29th, 2014

I take 1 mg of lorazepam and I had little sips of vodka and coke but I’m scared to take my lorazepam would it be ok if I took 1 or would it hurt me I’m scared cause I have enough health problems so as it is please help in scared to death

3:32 pm December 3rd, 2014

Hello Ash. Don’t be so scared. Four hours is adequate time to wait and then take the Ativan. The body metabolizes about 1oz of alcohol per hour. So, I believe in about 4 hours there will be no sign of alcohol in your system. Best of luck to you 🙂

9:37 pm March 14th, 2015

If. Take an Ativan at 9am on a Saturday when is it safe to drink?

1:01 pm March 16th, 2015

Hi Casey. When you are taking Ativan if you mix it with alcohol it can increase your risk for serious reactions. generally speaking, you may have to wait for 12 hours after dose of Ativan before you start drinking alcohol. So, never drink alcohol in the same day you took Ativan.

11:55 pm March 21st, 2015

I’ve been prescribed a mild dosage of Ativan, but have yet to take it for my anxity, but I have a reunion tonight, and will want to drink, however I’m having an attack right now, can I take one pill and drink in 5 hours?

2:46 pm March 23rd, 2015

Hi Joe. That’s not a smart idea. You can take your pill to treat the anxiety, but don’t try to drink. You can have juice, soda, water…anything that doesn’t contain alcohol. Please don’t risk it.

4:59 pm April 1st, 2015

I have a question regarding ativan and xanax & hope someone might know the answer. This past year has been one of the roughest, emotionally and with things out of control in my life. The question is: If I take .25mg ativan (yes, half of the tab), and my anxiety doesn’t get better, instead it increases, can I take my xanax later?

3:14 am June 1st, 2015

I had took Ativan this morning, I forgot I took it and I had drink some wine around 5 o clock just a small glass of red wine, and it’s 9o clock, when can i take my ativan, I suppose to take it twice a day for anxiety?

10:17 am June 1st, 2015

Hi Lucy. The alcohol from one glass of red wine should have been eliminated from your system by now. You are safe to take your medication as prescribed.

11:07 am June 15th, 2015

I drink vodka in shots or with coke occasionally but I am not able to sleep properly after that I want to know what can b taken with vodka for a deep sleep of around 5 to six hours

9:54 am June 26th, 2015

I’ve taken a small amount of meth & 3 -1 mg of ativan .. With 2 beers. Will I be ok to take a colonipin

8:49 am June 29th, 2015

Hey all – I’m an alcoholic. I drink around a case of beer per night. To sleep, I chew 1mg of Ativan and fall asleep. By afternoon, I feel like I’m detoxing and I’ll chew another .5mg.. Then I start the circle again. Wish like hell I didn’t have to do that and I don’t wish it upon anybody. However, I guess my point is, after reading some of your posts about having a drink and then taking Ativan hours later, that it’s not that dangerous.

1:06 am July 17th, 2015

I know its not good to mix ativan with alcohol.but my question is if you took a ativan at 2:30pm and than decide you want to have long would you wait too have a drink?

4:03 pm July 21st, 2015

Hi Mitzi. When taking Lorazepam it’s not safe to drink any alcohol for the next 12-24 hours after your last dose.

7:48 am July 17th, 2015

Hi, i have used the substance called lorazepam with alcohol about six years ago. It all started when i used to drink nearly everyday those days then I started to have breathing problems for not eating healthy which made me lose alot of vitamins and ofcourse that made me lose breath, at the begining i thought it could be becuase i have asthma and probebly just need my inhaler but that didnt help so i decided to go to the hospital. When i got to the hospital the doctors mentioned that its possibly anxity, therefore they percribed me lorazepam not sure how many mg but what i know it was a bottel with 40 small pills and told me to take a pill every 8 hours with no alcohol. Ofcourse out of stupidity i didnt obey what said so i mixed the pills and alcohol and thats when my life turned into hell. Ever since i cant breath, exercise, work, talk loud or talk long,and cant sleep.if anyone can help please let me know it would be most appreciated. Thnx

Me depresses ex
7:55 am August 5th, 2015

4 Ativan & 3 screwdrivers- effect?

2:37 pm August 5th, 2015

Hello me depresses ex. Not a smart idea to mix alcohol with Ativan. They intensify each-others effects and can significantly slow down your respiration and make you extremely drowsy.

6:51 am August 21st, 2015

My husband just took .25mg of ativan because he was having a panic attack, he then had a shot of alcohol mixed with sprite about an 1/2hour since he took it, it’s been a few hours and he says he feels completely fine, should I be worried though??

8:42 pm August 27th, 2015

Hello. I have a friend who take as Ativan as needed and is on Celexa. She likes to drink. I was wondering how much of the Ativan and alcohol would be considered lethal to her.

8:29 am September 7th, 2015

I take lorazepam for anxiety. The last dose of 1 mg was Friday at 10 pm. We went to a party last night and through the course of the evening I drank 2 bottles of wine and ate lots of food and took no lorazepam. It is almost 24 hrs later…is it safe to take my 1 mg? I am med paranoid!

5:47 am October 7th, 2015

I am taking 5mg eactalopram 25mg Amitriptyline on morning and at evening to control my panic attack and clonazepam sos lorazepam 1mg when I trouble to sleep and some times I drink 2bottal of bear its OK or something goes rong

9:11 am October 11th, 2015

Im taking 2mg of ativan and having 2 beers. Is that a huge issue…or what ive read above doesn’t really explain dosage/intake amout. Ex:taking 4mg and drinking 6 beers?

11:03 pm October 23rd, 2015

6 hours ago I took ativan 1 mg (was going for a medical procedure. Is it now ok to have a glass of wine or should I wait another 2-3 hours. Thanks

1:07 am November 3rd, 2015

how bad would mixing a half quart of vodka and 10 2mg of lorazepam be ?

5:26 am November 20th, 2015

Hi,I consumed alcohol with ativan for 2 months period.combining the two substances effect my breathing for 6 years now, and I been having pain in the left side beneath my chest ribs. I noticed when the pain increases my breathing gets worse.i did x-rays ct scan, but all tested Norma.doctors don’t know the cause and they,re pushing it towards anxiety.please, if anyone can help email me what i should do to be able to breath normal once again.


11:43 am November 20th, 2015

Hi Mickey. Seems to me like you need to ask for more tests and examinations from the doctors. There must be a reason why the pain and breathing problems are occurring, and it needs to be found for doctors to be able to address it. Maybe you should consider telling them that mixing ativan and alcohol has lead to these symptoms. It might lead them in the right direction.

2:10 pm December 21st, 2015

can u stop the side effects when both drugs are mixed? How long does the amnesia last for?

12:36 am January 18th, 2016

I ve had panic attacks in the past and have been diagnosed with depression for about 3 years. I take ativan before going to bed and weebutrin and fluoxitine in the morning. I was also diagonesed with an eating disorder…binge eating which came upon me when I got depressed. Since taking the pills and binge I ve put on weight and I cant accept this fact. I feel so fat yet at times eating gets out of control. But the worst thing is that for a couple of years Ive been drinking whisky at night because it helps me sleep when taken with the pills. I know its bad but Im out of control because Im very sad.

1:16 am February 13th, 2016

2 Ativan taken several hours ago for MRI, plus a glass of wine now. Would that be dangerous?

8:28 am February 24th, 2016

I am using 3mg Ativan daily for sleeping disorders, But weekly one or days i drink alcohol, But i will not consume Ativan Tablets, It is dangerous or no problem, but never intake Ativan When i drink Alcohol, please advice me,

11:32 am February 26th, 2016

What about taking Ativan the next day after drinking??

Struggling guy
3:01 am March 3rd, 2016

I have had a few whiskeys can I take or snort my prescribed ativan 1mg to calm down. My gf is in hospital and I need to calm down

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:44 pm March 7th, 2016

Hi Struggling guy. I’m really sorry about your girlfriend. Please consider that mixing Ativan with alcohol may cause serious damage to your health.

11:57 pm March 15th, 2016

How long do you have to be off Ativan, to safely have a glass of wine?

9:05 pm March 16th, 2016

What are the effects of taking .5 and 1mg ativan and drinking alcohol. Beer etc. Does it increase the blood alcohol and by how much? Or factor if for example if you drank regular beer everyday? Thanks

5:21 am March 18th, 2016

How long after 11/2 beers is it ok to take an Ativan…… 2 hrs long enuf

3:29 am April 5th, 2016

Can you drink beer while on Ativan spaced apart

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:53 pm April 8th, 2016

Hi Lisa. Please keep in mind that it is illegal to consume medications other than prescribed, and you put yourself at risk.

4:10 am April 28th, 2016

I quit taking ativan with alcohol about 3 years ago. But I must have combined both for about 10 years total. I am 74. I would take 2 ativans at night to sleep but drink heavy before. They state that memory can be worse. I find that I am forgetful and it seems to be worse since one month. Are ativan with alcohol memory loss reversible or not? And it so, how?

10:50 pm April 29th, 2016

Would would happen of I took 1 and a half to 2 mg of lorazepam then 3 shots of alcohol with 20 minutes?

3:27 pm May 3rd, 2016

I took 7mg of lorazepam and 5 shots of whisky i dont remember a thing but would this have any affect on my health and it was only my second time using it.

4:01 pm May 15th, 2016

I’m a 14 year old with a mom (46) who has Marfan Syndrome and COPD(which she had been hiding from me and my dad until we over heard her doctor talking about it this year) She takes ALOT of different meds,she has to have a oxygen tank,ect.But last monday my mom mixed Ativan and her drink,(and she was chain smoking at the time). She said she was going to the store but didn’t come back ,i had to call her and persuade her to come home.My mom smokes almost a pack a day,along with her health conditions,and doing this.Could she get killed?Worsen or health?Is this a sign of pill addiction?What should me and my dad do?

4:14 am May 29th, 2016

Question :
I was given a shot of ativan around 3pm to help my debilitating anxiety and insomnia. (It’s been a horrible week and a half and no meds have worked) It made my body feel great and relaxed and so ready to sleep! It felt wonderful! I almost succeeded at falling asleep until my mind kicked it up a notch and filled my head with intense anxiety. No sleep again!

It is now 9pm and my mom suggested drinking scotch to help make me sleepy (im not a big drinker anymore, and always hated scotch, but why not? Wish it was bourbon!) So, I drank most of a glass of scotch and ginger ale. Heafty pour of scotch in there.

What is the risk? I made the mistake of not looking any information up before just doing it.

10:02 pm June 10th, 2016

My doc prescribed lorazepam for a short term sleeping solution .5mg 1/2 hour before sleeping. He only gave me 10. I took the first 6 and got a refill for another 10. I have essentially 7mg. If I am a 180 lb male and I took all 14 pills, approximately how much alcohol would I have to consume for it to be lethal.

5:29 pm June 27th, 2016

To avoid addition, would taking ativan 3 nights a week for insomnia be okay? 1 mg.

2:13 am July 5th, 2016

My friend doctor gave him ativan 14 hours ago is it OK to have one beer

6:34 am November 14th, 2016

Hello every one!! Please read this very carefully!! I am an alcoholic in active addiction and I take attivan to control the alcohol withdrawals. In March of 2015 I was drinking and overdosed on a large amount of ativan and I barely survived. I was in a coma for 23 days and had to have physical therapy to learn how to walk again!! I am currently a closet drinker and have convinced my Doctor that the only way I can get through the day is to have my Ativan. My doctor also thinks I am taking Antabuse as a pre-req for me to get the ativan.

My strong advice to anyone that might read this….First of all PLEASE don’t even start drinking and if you do be careful. Second never take a BENZO of any kind if you can help it and most importantly PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE never mix the two. I know you think you are not a candidate for addiction but trust me….I NEVER ASKED FOR THIS EITHER

12:37 am March 9th, 2017

I’ve been down the drinking road many times with multiple relapses, usually the benders would last a few days to weeks. Doctor prescribed antivan to curve the withdrawals symptoms. Well I have abused antivan in the past – took about 7-8pills while drinking and doing cocaine, to top it off smoked weed that night and drank more. Then I only took antivan for the next few days, and boy was I in for a treat. Trouble breathing, halucinations, at one point something in my head told me to take all the pills at once – never before had I had a suicidal thought it my life. I was afraid of alcohol and cocaine because I knew it would bring the end to me but having taken 1 pill today…I’m reminded why I don’t take this junk and why I stopped drinking like a fish. If you happened to mix the two, you might be better off in the hospital. A good psychologist can do wonders to fix anxiety, pills aren’t always the answer – worked for me.

11:49 pm March 9th, 2017

I had some drinks earlier today. I have high BP now rx ativan.. i had my last drink at 330 pm ativan is the only thing lowering my bp. When can i take ativan??

6:04 am April 29th, 2017

if i take ativan 2mg of8 tablets in one time with the1 glass of alchole after that what happen is this cause death or some other problems….

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:54 pm May 4th, 2017

Hi Aashma. Please use your medication only prescribed by a doctor. Don’t put yourself at risk.

10:20 am May 29th, 2017

Had a few beers last night and wondering if it’s ok to take lorazepam this morning . Woke up feeling anxious for some reason.

12:51 am June 20th, 2017

How many hours after drinking is it safe to take lorazapam

4:40 pm August 23rd, 2017

How long should I wait to drink after quitting ativan ? I’m only taking .5 mg and only been on it a week.

9:41 am December 7th, 2017

I have drank like half a 5th of whisky and popped 1.0 mg of Ativan i will let you all know if i am alive tomorrow.

5:01 am December 24th, 2017

I drank very heavily the night before I took the Ativan the next day around six pm will I be okay

Maria @ Addiction Blog
1:23 pm December 25th, 2017

Hi Chyna. Ativan and alcohol have some very dangerous side effects when combined. Ativan makes alcohol more intoxicating than normal when taken together. If you do not feel well call 911 immediately.

3:03 am January 28th, 2018

I drank 4 glasses of wine before dinner at a party between 5-7pm then 2 glasses of wine during the meal. After the meal I had a half glas of wine around 11pm afterward we talked until 1am. I couldn’t sleep so I took a 1mg lorazepam. But I completely forgot that I’ve been drinking today. Is there still a chance of a serious interaction?

2:06 am August 9th, 2018

I took a .5 mg of ativan not thinking about it i had three mixed drinks. Will i be ok?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:52 pm August 9th, 2018

Hi Brittany. If you don’t feel well, call 911 ASAP.

1:21 am October 19th, 2018

I going on my first flight what can I get to help me relax and stay com

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