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Ativan Withdrawal

Has Your Body Become Reliant On Ativan?

Ativan is a benzodiazepine drug that works by increasing the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA. By increasing the GABA activity, the whole brain activity slows down, but it also causes changes in the body’s essential systems.

Withdrawal is the result of daily dosing of Ativan over a period of a few weeks, or more. Essentially, you become dependent on Ativan. When dependent on Ativan, you need it for regular function. So, when you no longer use Ativan, your brain, nervous system and organs must go through a period of adjustment as they relearn to function properly without it.

The process of withdrawal is accompanied by a variety of physical and psychological symptoms which often times tend to be painful and discomforting. This is why taking chronic high doses of Ativan can cause a variety of health problems. We invite you to continue reading and look into the details of Ativan withdrawal and learn more.
Feeling insecure and afraid of going through withdrawal alone?
Talk to our admission specialist about a medically guided detox.
Ativan withdrawal symptoms can be eased with professional help.

When Does Ativan Withdrawal Start?

Ativan users quickly develop tolerance and start needing increasingly larger doses to achieve the initial effects of the medication. Because of this, doctors only prescribe Ativan for a short-term use and advise not to use it for more than 2-3 consecutive weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms usually start to occur soon after the last administered dose of Ativan. Ativan stays in your body for approximately 12 hours. This medicine’s half-life is between 12-18 hours, and it affects how soon the signs of withdrawal may appear. The expected time for users of short acting benzos, such as Ativan, to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms is around 2 days. This varies in different individuals and is influenced by the amount and time Ativan was taken.

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

According to researchers, between 50% and 80% of people who use benzodiazepines for about 6 months or more will experience at least some withdrawal symptoms after cessation of use. Here is a list of typical Ativan withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiousness
  • Changes in sensory perception
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia and sleeping problems
  • Panic
  • Paranoid thoughts
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Shaking and spasms

How Long Does Ativan Withdrawal Last?

Ativan withdrawal symptoms may persist for a few days or weeks after the last administered dose. However, some people may continue to feel the symptoms anywhere from several months up to a year, or even longer.

Ativan withdrawal symptoms last differently for everyone. Usually, the most intense withdrawal occurs for:

  • People who take higher doses of Ativan
  • People who use the drug more frequently
  • People who use it for longer periods of time experience longer

The first withdrawal symptoms are felt 10-24 hours after you take your last dose. However, the amount of time varies by person. Fully developed withdrawal symptoms usually last 2 (two) weeks. For chronic users with severe health problems and co-occurring disorders Ativan withdrawal symptoms may last for several months.

What Can Help ?

Ativan withdrawal is dangerous and risky when done without the adequate medical monitoring and assistance. Seeking help from a detox facility is the best solution to have a safe, comfortable withdrawal and to treat the severe withdrawal symptoms. Doctors can prescribe medications during this stage of recovery.

Still, here is a list of ideas for how to minimize or address symptoms:

Ask your family and friends for help and support. Having support is very important throughout the withdrawal process. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a doctor, or even a support group. Having someone to talk to openly about how you’re feeling can help to relieve the physical and psychological struggles that might lead to relapse.

Hydrate often. Drink lots of water and eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies. Due to frequent vomiting and diarrhea your body will lose significant amount of water. Make sure to drink a lots of water and other fluids to avoid dehydration.

Keep a recovery diary and chart the progress. This way you’ll have the opportunity to see how far you’ve come. Additionally, writing your experience might also help others and will keep your attention focused on recovery.

Learn Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques in group or individual sessions, or through books. These techniques can help you learn how to establish control over your thoughts and stop responding to impulsive reactions.

Stay away from drugs and alcohol. Make sure you are in a sober and drug free environment. This is very important when you begin detox. Licensed detox clinics are provide a drug-free environment with 24/7 day care.

Exercise as much as you can. A healthy lifestyle will not only change your body, but will also change your mind and your mood.

Minimize the stress in your life. Relax, rest, meditate and practice mindfulness. There are many activities which can help you relieve the constant stress in your life. These techniques are only a few. You can either try learning and implementing them in your life, or you can look for something else that calms you.

Ativan Withdrawal Medications

Ativan withdrawal symptoms are most successfully managed by medical professionals in a licensed detox clinic. Detox programs are usually supervised by a physician. Your doctor will slowly taper down the dosage of Ativan. This way you can minimize the withdrawal symptoms. During the whole process your doctor will follow the progress and be available in case any difficulties or complications arise.

In case you are unable to deal with the pain, or other discomforting symptoms, your doctor will prescribe you with some medications to facilitate the process. For easing Ativan withdrawal discomfort medical professionals usually prescribe:

  • Antidepressants for depressive symptoms or anxiety.
  • Flumazenil is helpful in preventing fatal overdose. This drug blocks benzodiazepine binding at the GABA receptor, making Ativan ineffective. However Flumazenil must be administered with care since it may increase the risk of seizures.
  • Melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep, is sometimes used during Ativan detox. This hormone can help those who struggle with insomnia during their Ativan withdrawal.
  • Over-the-counter medications are helpful for headaches, diarrhea, stomach pain, or other mild symptoms.
    Paxil (paroxetine) can help ease some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with Ativan detox.

Your Questions

Looking for more information on Ativan withdrawal? We invite you to keep exploring our website and learn much more. We also invite your questions and your feedback in the comments section at the end. All legitimate inquiries will be answered with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources:
Drug Detox: Ativan
NSW government HEALTH: Benzodiazepines
Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS): BENZODIAZEPINES

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