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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minute read

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

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

83 Comments

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  1. Hello, my son takes 15mg of olanzapine and 2mg of ativan in the evening. Can he have a beer or two with ativan?

  2. 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?

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

  4. 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….

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

  5. 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. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

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

  13. 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

  14. 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

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

  15. 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,

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    Thnxx..

    1. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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?

  20. 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

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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??

    1. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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 drink.how long would you wait too have a drink?

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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

  28. 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?

    1. 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.

  29. 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?

  30. 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?

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  31. 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 🙂

  32. 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

  33. 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?

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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?

  37. 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:$

  38. 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?

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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???

  43. 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?

  44. 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?

  45. 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?

  46. 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.

  47. 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?

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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!

  52. 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

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