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Is Ativan Addictive? Lorazepam Addiction Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

An addiction to Ativan (lorazepam) can happen even when taking the prescribed dosage. Read to learn the signs and symptoms to recognize an Ativan addiction in someone you love.

Is Ativan addictive?

Ativan is a potent benzodiazepine that has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Slang terms for Ativan include goofballs, heavenly blues, stupefy, or simply benzos. Taking Ativan for any period can lead to physical and psychological dependence based on several factors, including genetics and personal history. People with a history of drug and alcohol abuse or untreated mental health disorders are at a greater risk of developing an Ativan dependence.

Those who are addicted to Ativan may experience cravings and continue to use despite any problems it may cause in their life, such as:

  • Issues with family or friends
  • Failing to follow through with work, or home obligations
  • Getting into dangerous situations
  • Losing interest in what used to matter
  • Social Isolation
  • Financial Issues

Is Ativan habit forming? A habitual user will eventually need more Ativan to produce the same effects. Often, clients addicted to benzo are aware they have a problem and may even desire to quit, but they cannot. Withdrawal symptoms can make quitting even more difficult. Getting admitted to an Atavan rehab facility can help those struggling with Ativan dependence overcome their habit as safely and successfully as possible.

How Addictive is Ativan?

Is Ativan addicting? Ativan is a strong benzodiazepine with a high risk of abuse and dependence. Ativan is known by slang names including Goofballs, Heavenly Blues, Stupefy, or just Benzos. Based on a variety of variables, including genetics and personal history, taking Ativan for any length of time might result in physical and psychological dependence. An increased risk of Ativan overuse exists in those with a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse or untreated mental health conditions.

Can Ativan Get You High?

Yes. When taken in higher dosages than recommended, Ativan, like many addictive anti-anxiety drugs or sleeping prescriptions, can cause a high. Getting high on Ativan can be detrimental because of its well-known ability to become addictive and habit-forming. Ativan can have negative side effects that could potentially be deadly when taken in higher doses than recommended, just like any prescription medication.

Understanding Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam; an anti-anxiety medication also prescribed to treat other ailments ranging from insomnia to epilepsy.  It is classified as a long-acting benzodiazepine and is rarely prescribed for longer than four months at a time due to its high potency.  Instead, Ativan is commonly prescribed during alcohol detoxification to temporarily manage withdrawal symptoms.

Ativan belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or “benzos.”  These drugs block the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) to slow hyperactive mental processes.  The substance is typically sold as a quick-dissolve tablet, though it is sometimes found in concentrated, colorless liquid as well.  When used as prescribed, Ativan is usually consumed orally.  However, it should only be administered intravenously through IV drip by a healthcare professional due to the high potential for abuse.

After taking Ativan, it takes between 45 minutes and 2 hours to feel the drug’s full effects.  After that, it typically takes 20 to 100 hours for the drug to leave a person’s system.

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Ativan Drug Facts

What is Ativan?

Ativan (Lorazepam) is a medication that belongs to the class known as the benzodiazepines. Lorazepam is a Schedule IV drug. It is a benzodiazepine with CNS depressant activity and is also classified as an anxiolytic drug. Lorazepam does have sedative properties. Ativan is manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals. The generic form (Lorazepam) is manufactured by various pharmaceutical companies.

Uses of Ativan

Lorazepam ’ s primary use is for the treatment of acute (excessive) anxiety disorder. Lorazepam can be used as the initial drug for the control of status epilepticus and it is also utilized to control belligerent elderly patients. Lorazepam can also be utilized for pre-surgical, excessive anxiety. Off-label use of Lorazepam is to control withdrawal symptoms of alcohol dependency and other substance use disorders. Lorazepam is frequently administered intravenously in patients in delirium tremens (DTs.)

Generic Name: Lorazepam
Drug Class: Antianxiety Agent – Benzodiazepines · Sedative-Hypnotic – Benzodiazepines
Strret Names:
 candy, control, downers, silence, sleeping pills, tranks

Benzodiazepines Drug Fact Sheet Publicly Made Available by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for Drug Addiction Awareness

Ativan Addiction Statistics

The misuse of prescription substances, including benzodiazepines, has been on the rise in the United States in recent years. Hospital visits and overdose deaths related to these drugs have also been increasing. Ativan addiction can easily become fatal, and these kinds of fatalities are on the rise. It is estimated that 30% of all drug overdoses are linked to benzo abuse, with those overdose deaths quadrupling from 2002 to 2016.

95 %

The proportion of patients admitted to the hospital for Benzodiazepine abuse who were also abusing another substance.

Source: NCBI


As of 2020, almost 93% of benzodiazepine-related overdose deaths also involved an opioid.

Source: NCBI

10.5+ Million

Number of prescriptions for Ativan written in 2020.

Source: NIH

Is Ativan addictive? Ativan to stop drinking: A benzodiazepine medicine like Ativan may be prescribed as part of alcohol detox therapy. Alcohol-related receptors are affected by benzodiazepines, which makes them useful for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Is Ativan addictive? Ativan to stop drinking: A benzodiazepine medicine like Ativan may be prescribed as part of alcohol detox therapy. Alcohol-related receptors are affected by benzodiazepines, which makes them useful for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Ativan Effects and Abuse

What does lorazepam feel like? Because Ativan is legal to use with a prescription, some people may not realize they’re abusing the drug.  Taking more significant amounts of Ativan than prescribed, taking medicine more often than prescribed, and taking the medication for longer than prescribed are considered abuse.  Using Ativan without a prescription to achieve a high is also abuse.

Ativan helps balance chemicals in the brain that can cause anxiety.  When taken in substantial doses, it binds to particular receptors in the brain to produce a fleeting, intense high, followed by a prolonged state of calm.  The effects of Ativan include:

  • A Sense of Calm
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Drowsiness

Ativan Effects On The Mind

Ativan can have a potent effect on the brain and nerves. However, many users experience “rebound” side effects or worsen the same symptoms that the drug is designed to treat. In particular, Ativan can cause rebound anxiety, sleep disturbances, abnormal body movements, and agitation. Other side effects can include:

  • Depression
  • Memory problem
  • Learning difficulties
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of pleasure in day-to-day experiences

The chemical structure of lorazepam is intended to reduce the excitability of the brain and nerves while soothing emotional responses that create anxiety and restlessness. On the negative side, Ativan can flatten users’ emotional responses and blunt their experiences of the world. As a result, individuals who take Ativan may begin to lose interest in their everyday experiences or responsibilities. As a result, they may feel constantly sluggish and tired and have a dazed, exhausted appearance.

Signs of Ativan Overdose

When combined with other substances, like alcohol, the relaxing effects of Ativan are even more substantial.  In addition, because Ativan is very potent and can seem harmless as a prescription drug, it is a prime candidate for both accidental and intentional abuse, as well as an accidental overdose. 

  • Mental Confusion
  • Slurred Speech
  • Lack of Energy
  • Loss of Control of Body Movements
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Slow Breathing
  • Passing Out
  • Coma
Is Ativan addictive?Although Ativan is classified as a controlled substance.
Is Ativan addictive? Although Ativan is classified as a controlled substance.

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Common Ativan Drug Combinations

Ativan is often abused alongside other drugs to enhance its sedative effects. Common drug combinations with benzos include:

  • Cocaine:  Ativan can counteract the stimulant effects of cocaine, helping users come down from the high.
  • Amphetamines:  Amphetamines are “uppers” like cocaine, so they may be used alongside them for the same reasons.
  • Methadone:  Many people will take benzos to boost the effects of the painkiller methadone.  However, it is hazardous to mix Ativan, a central nervous system depressant, with other central nervous system depressants like Methadone because of the potential of fatal overdose due to respiratory failure.
  • Alcohol:  When combined, benzos and alcohol produce a quick, potent high—mixing the two increases central nervous system depression, leading to over-sedation, respiratory failure, coma, and even death.

Taking Ativan in combination with other drugs is very dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose.  In some cases, excessive sedation from mixing drugs can lead to unconsciousness, coma, or death.

Ativan and Alcohol Experience

Ativan is a prescribed drug, yet it can still be misused. Alcohol is one of the drugs that is frequently abused along with benzodiazepines like Ativan. Because both Ativan and alcohol depress the central nervous system, combining them can be fatal and result in decreased breathing, profound sleepiness, coma, and death.

Can You Drink With Ativan?

Given that alcohol and Ativan, both have similar effects on the body and brain, consuming both at the same time can intensify those effects, sometimes with fatal results. They can both slow breathing and the heart rate while also inhibiting the central nervous system. The combined effects of the two substances may be stronger than if either were taken separately.


  • You should not use benzos if you have Narrow-Angle Glaucoma, Severe Respiratory Insufficiency, Myasthenia Gravis, or are allergic to Valium or a similar medication.
  • Do not use benzos if you are pregnant. Lorazepam can cause congenital disabilities or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn.
  • Misuse of habit-forming medicine can cause addiction, overdose, or death. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

Fatal side effects can occur if you take lorazepam with alcohol, opioid medications, or other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.

How Much Ativan Will Kill You?

Ativan overdoses can happen to different persons in various doses. It’s critical to take Ativan exactly as directed to prevent overdosing because doctors base the recommended Ativan dosage on a patient’s medical history and use of other drugs.

Before a medicine is deemed safe, it must pass numerous tests, including an LD50 (lethal dose) test. The milligrams of medication per kilogram of a person’s body weight for Ativan is around 1,850 mg/kg. After a 2 mg dose, the blood level of Ativan peaks at 20 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter). This indicates that the human Ativan overdose quantity is really high. Even at lesser dosages, Ativan can still be harmful and result in serious overdose symptoms that need to be treated right away, particularly if someone mixes it with other drugs.

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What Are Possible Side Effects Of Lorazepam?

Serious Side Effects

  • Shortness of breath, trouble speaking, feeling very tired, dizziness, or passing out.
  • Increased heart rate, headache, memory impairment, irritability, restlessness
  • Some clients are taking benzodiazepines to develop a severe allergic reaction and swelling of the face.  This can occur as early as the first dose.
  • Some people taking benzodiazepines for sleep have experienced various behaviors while asleep/not fully awake, such as sleep-driving, making phone calls, and preparing or eating food.  The individuals have no memory of the events when they awaken.
  • Signs of feeling depressed or low mood, thoughts of harming or killing yourself, or lacking interest in life.

Common Side Effects

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired coordination, decreased ability to concentrate
  • Dry Mouth
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Headache

What Happens If I Miss A Dose?

Take medicine as soon as possible, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose.  Do not take two doses at one time.

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What To Avoid While Taking Ativan as Prescribed

  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.
  • Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you.  Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Can You Get Addicted to Ativan?

s lorazepam addicting? Like many medicines, Ativan can lead to physical dependence. Ativan dependence typically manifests as mental and behavioral symptoms.
Is lorazepam addicting? Like many medicines, Ativan can lead to physical dependence. Ativan dependence typically manifests as mental and behavioral symptoms.

How addictive is Ativan? Like many medicines, Ativan can lead to physical dependence. Physical Ativan dependence is characterized by two major symptoms. To achieve the desired therapeutic impact or recreational “high,” a person must first build up their tolerance to the drug in their body. Unfortunately, the risk of overdosing rises as tolerance develops and dosage increases. Second, because of their heightened tolerance, those who abuse Ativan frequently experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it altogether or use it just in small doses. Addiction can be distinguished from physical dependence.

Addiction has a component of dependence, however, not everyone who is physically reliant will develop an Ativan dependence. Ativan dependence typically manifests as mental and behavioral symptoms. For instance, procuring and taking Ativan frequently requires more time, effort, and resources, which has a detrimental influence on duties to one’s job, family, community, and/or self.

Ativan Dependence Treatment

There is a strong connection between mental health and Ativan abuse. people who struggle with mood disorders like depression and anxiety are more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, often to self-medicate symptoms of their underlying mental health condition. These co-occurring disorders can make each other worse without proper treatment.

To determine the most effective ways to treat Ativan addiction, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental health condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope.  We work as an integrated team providing support information about what is Ativan and other aspects of treatment.  Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life.  Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists.  Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

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4 Top “Is Ativan Addictive?” FAQs

  1. Is Ativan addictive in small doses?

    Yes, Ativan can be addictive even in small doses Regular users of Ativan may get addicted to it unknowingly.

  2. Is 0.5 Ativan addictive?

     Ativan is a controlled substance, no matter the dose.

  3. Is Ativan addicting?

    Addiction-prone individuals (such as drug addicts or alcoholics) should be under careful surveillance when receiving lorazepam or other psychotropic agents

  4. How addictive is Ativan?

    Ativan, like most benzodiazepines, is very addictive. Doctors try to prescribe Ativan for no more than 3 or 4 months because of the well-known habit-forming potential.

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