How Long Does Ativan Withdrawal Last?


Ativan is a long-acting benzodiazepine often prescribed to patients who struggle with both anxiety and insomnia. Alone or in combination with other medications, it can be extremely effective in helping patients to manage their mental health symptoms, but when abused, it can be highly addictive.

The withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of use of Ativan can be significant. Patients are advised to avoid attempting the detox process without medical supervision as complications can be fatal.

If you, or someone you love, are struggling with Ativan withdrawal symptoms, contact us at Axis today.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The length of time that the withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping the use of Ativan will last will vary from patient to patient, depending upon:

  • The dose of Ativan the person is taking at the time of detox
  • How long the person has been taking Ativan
  • Whether or not the user has been taking other addictive drugs in combination with Ativan
  • The user’s metabolism
  • Underlying medical disorders
  • Use of other medications for medical treatment

In general, however, the Ativan timeline of withdrawal symptoms will usually begin with a few hours of the last dose, peak after a few days and plateau for a week or multiple weeks depending upon the factors above. Over time, the symptoms will begin to fade until the person is completely free of physical dependence. However, psychological withdrawal symptoms, including cravings for the drug, rebound anxiety, and other issues may last for months. Treatment is highly recommended.

Withdrawal symptoms from benzodiazepines like Ativan may include:

  • Irritability
  • Return of anxiety
  • Return of insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Sweating
  • Tremors, especially hand tremors
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in visual and aural perception
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle aches and stiffness

If someone abruptly stops using high doses of a benzodiazepine like Ativan, seizures and/or psychotic reactions may be an issue. Additionally, high-dose abuse of Ativan may lengthen the time spent dealing with withdrawal symptoms and increase the intensity of those symptoms as well.

Detox and Treatment

When a patient is both physically and psychologically dependent upon Ativan, it is not recommended to attempt a taper off the drug as may otherwise be appropriate in patients who are only physically dependent. Instead, a supervised detox is recommended followed by intensive treatment. A comprehensive Ativan addiction treatment program should include:

  • Stabilization as needed at the onset of detox
  • Medical care as needed in the event of complications
  • Personal therapy and case management
  • Group therapy and a community of peer support
  • Family education, therapy, and support
  • Aftercare and support post rehab

A patient should have a voice in his recovery, sharing with the therapeutic team the details of his past in addiction, his past attempts at recovery, and his goals for the future. A treatment plan can be created based on these facts as well as the current needs of the patient and adjusted as treatment goals are reached. The more coping mechanisms that a patient is armed with at the time of transition into independent living in sobriety, the more likely it is that he will be able to avoid an Ativan relapse for the long-term.

Are you ready to seek treatment for Ativan abuse or addiction? Call now to find out how Axis can help.

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