Mixing Ativan with alcohol

Mixing Ativan and alcohol can impact your mood, memory and induce self-harming behaviors. More here on the harms and warnings for mixing Ativan with alcohol. And why it’s never safe to drink while you’re on Ativan.

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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
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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