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Ativan’s Potential Side Effects, Uses, Risks, and Dangers

August 18, 2023

Ativan, a widely recognized medication, is commonly prescribed for its potential benefits in treating anxiety disorders and various medical conditions. However, like any medication, it comes with its own set of potential side effects and dangers that should be understood before use.

Do you know? As per the report, about 20% of total Benzos use qualifies as misuse, or taking the drug other than how it is prescribed.

Let’s delve into all aspects of Ativan, addressing its benefits, possible adverse effects, appropriate usage, and potential risks.

What is Ativan?

Ativan, which is also called lorazepam, is a prescription drug in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. It is often used to treat several problems, especially anxiety disorders, sleep problems, and seizures.

Ativan works by making gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter in the brain, work better. This makes you feel calm and sleepy. It can help you feel less anxious, calm down, fall asleep, and keep you from having seizures.

Ativan should only be used with the help of a medical professional because it could have side effects and risks along with its possible benefits.

What are the Positive uses of Ativan?

Ativan is used to treat several conditions because it boosts the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a type of neurotransmitter. GABA helps control how the brain works and calms down the nervous system.

Below are some of the common uses of Ativan:

 Anxiety Disorders:

Ativan is often given to people with anxiety disorders. It works as a strong anti-anxiety drug that targets the central nervous system to ease the effects of too much worry, fear, and restlessness.

It makes you feel calmer by boosting the effects of a neurotransmitter called GABA. This makes it useful for treating conditions like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, and panic disorder.

 Insomnia Relief:

Ativan can help people who have trouble sleeping or who can’t sleep at all. The sedative effects of the drug help people fall asleep by calming the mind and body. It can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for a longer time.

But because tolerance and dependence are possible, Ativan is usually only used for a short time to help with sleep problems.

 Seizure Control:

Ativan is an essential part of treating some types of seizures, especially in an emergency. The anticonvulsant effects of the drug help stop ongoing seizures, such as those caused by status epilepticus, a condition in which seizures last for a long time and keep happening. In such dangerous situations, giving Ativan quickly can save a person’s life.

 Sedation before Medical Procedures:

Most medical procedures, especially ones that might make the patient nervous or hurt, need the patient to be calm. Ativan addiction is sometimes used to help people relax before surgery, invasive tests, or other medical procedures. Ativan helps reduce anxiety and make procedures go more smoothly by putting you in a calm state of mind.

 Muscle Spasm Management:

Ativan’s ability to relax muscles makes it a good choice for people with muscle spasms and the pain they cause. Whether pain and discomfort are caused by physical strain, an injury, or a medical condition, Ativan’s ability to relax muscle tension can help.

What are the Side effects of Ativan misuse?

Misusing Ativan means using it in a way that isn’t in line with how it’s supposed to be used. It could mean taking more than the recommended dose, using it without a prescription, or taking it for fun. Such actions can make it more likely that bad things will happen or that bad things will happen.

 Some of the common side effects associated with misuse include:

 Drowsiness and Dizziness:

Excessive consumption of Ativan can intensify its sedative effects, leading to pronounced drowsiness and dizziness. This can impair cognitive function and coordination, elevating the risk of accidents and injuries.

 Cognitive Impairment:

Misuse of Ativan can lead to cognitive impairment, affecting memory, concentration, and judgment. It can impact daily functioning and overall quality of life.

 Respiratory Issues:

Ativan misuse, especially when combined with other substances like alcohol or opioids, can suppress the respiratory system. This poses a serious risk of respiratory distress or failure.

 Dependence and Addiction:

One of the most concerning consequences of Ativan misuse is the development of dependence and addiction. Continued misuse can lead to the body’s reliance on the medication, making it challenging to discontinue its use without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

 Mood Changes and Behavioral Shifts:

Ativan misuse may result in mood swings, increased irritability, and changes in behavior. These alterations can strain relationships and hinder social interactions.


What are some Withdrawal Symptoms of Ativan Addiction?

When someone who has become dependent on Ativan suddenly stops taking it, they may have several withdrawal symptoms. The severity and length of these symptoms depend on things like the person’s dosage, how long they’ve been taking the drug, and their overall health.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of Ativan withdrawal:

 Anxiety and Agitation:

People who stop taking Ativan may feel more anxious, restless, and irritable. These feelings can be too much to handle and may make you want to use the drug again.


During Ativan withdrawal, it’s common to have trouble sleeping, like trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Insomnia can make other withdrawal symptoms worse and hurt your health as a whole.

 Mood Swings:

During Ativan withdrawal, people often report mood changes like irritability, mood swings, and even depression. Without the right help, it can be hard to deal with these emotional changes.

 Physical Discomfort:

During withdrawal, people often feel aches in their muscles, headaches, and stomach problems like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These pains can add to the stress of the process as a whole.

 Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure:

When you stop taking Ativan, your body can go through changes, such as a faster heart rate and higher blood pressure. These changes can make people feel worried and uneasy.


Withdrawal from benzodiazepines like Ativan can cause seizures in severe cases, especially if the drug is stopped suddenly and without medical supervision. This risk shows how important it is to reduce the dose slowly.

 Cognitive Impairment:

During withdrawal, people may have trouble staying focused, remembering things, and thinking. This “brain fog” can make it hard to do everyday things.

What are the Risks and Dangers of Ativan?

 Risk of Dependence and Addiction:

Regular or prolonged use of Ativan can lead to physical and psychological dependence, making it challenging to discontinue usage without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

 Tolerance and Diminished Efficacy:

With continued use, the body may tolerate Ativan’s effects. This means that over time, individuals might require higher doses to achieve the same level of relief.

 Cognitive and Motor Impairment:

Individuals taking Ativan may experience difficulties with concentration, memory, and coordination, potentially affecting daily activities such as driving and operating machinery.

 Drug Interactions:

Combining Ativan with other central nervous system depressants can intensify sedation and increase the risk of adverse effects, including respiratory depression.


Anyone who is thinking about or is already taking Ativan needs to know about its possible side effects, uses, risks, and dangers. Ativan can help with anxiety and other related conditions, but it’s important to use it in the right way and with the help of a medical professional. Know the possible side effects, and risks, and how important it is to use it in moderation to protect your health.

FAQs on Ativan

 Q: Can Ativan be used for sleep problems unrelated to anxiety?

A: No, Ativan is not recommended for sleep problems unrelated to anxiety. It’s primarily prescribed for anxiety-related insomnia or other anxiety disorders.

 Q: Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Ativan?

A: No, combining Ativan with alcohol can be dangerous. Both substances depress the central nervous system, potentially leading to increased sedation and respiratory depression.

 Q: How quickly does Ativan start working?

A: Ativan typically starts working within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion. However, individual response times may vary.

 Q: Can Ativan be taken during pregnancy?

A: Ativan is generally not recommended during pregnancy due to potential risks to the developing fetus. Consult your healthcare provider for alternatives if needed.

 Q: Is it okay to drive while taking Ativan?

A: Driving while taking Ativan can be risky, as it may impair your coordination and alertness. It’s advisable to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you understand how Ativan affects you.

 Q: Can Ativan be stopped abruptly?

A: No, abruptly stopping Ativan can lead to withdrawal symptoms. It’s essential to taper off the medication under medical supervision.


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