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Ativan (Lorazepam) Withdrawal Symptoms + Duration

Ativan (Lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine drug that is most commonly used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. It is among the most potent benzodiazepines on the market and is used for the short-term treatment of anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, acute seizures, and to sedate aggressive hospital patients. In some cases it is also used in surgery prior to the administration of anaesthesia to reduce the amount of anaesthesia required. It is widely regarded as one of the best benzodiazepines to decrease feelings of agitation and is utilized to help reduce the probability of seizures among individuals that overdose on stimulants.

Due to the potent nature of this particular drug, it is not advised to be used in excess of one month. It is considered very fast-acting, which is why most people that take it find it extremely helpful for treating anxiety. Although it is an effective drug, it is extremely easy to build up a tolerance and become dependent on this drug for functioning. This drug is thought to work by increasing the effects of GABA neurotransmitters – leading to effects of psychological and physical relaxation.

Even though this drug works wonders to help treat anxiety, long term use could lead to the development of dementia as well as an array of other problems. This drug along with other benzodiazepines have extremely high potential for tolerance, addiction, and dependence. Additionally many people that are on this drug for an extended period of time develop benzodiazepine-induced depression. Therefore eventually it will be necessary to withdraw from the drug.

Factors that influence Ativan withdrawal

There are many factors that play a role in the withdrawal of benzodiazepine drugs. The two most influential factors are time span and dosage. The longer you take a drug at a high dosage, the more difficult it will be to withdraw from. Additionally individual factors and how quickly you taper off the drug will play a role in influencing your withdrawal symptoms.

1. Time Span

How long were you taking Ativan? If you took it for an extended period of time, you will likely have significantly more difficult and severe withdrawal symptoms compared to someone who took it for a short duration. People that take this medication for a few short weeks at a relatively low dose will likely still have withdrawals, but they will not be nearly as severe as someone with a high tolerance who has been on it for an extended term.

2. Dosage (0.5 mg to 10 mg)

The typical dose of Ativan is between 2 mg and 6 mg for anxiety and insomnia. However most doctors start patients at smaller doses due to the potency of this drug as well as the fact that most people quickly develop a tolerance. The higher end of the dosage range per day is 10 mg, but there are likely plenty of individuals taking more than 10 mg due to the fact that they have become highly tolerant and dependent upon this drug for functioning. In general the lengthier the period over which you have taken a higher dosage, the more difficult the withdrawal.

3. Individual Factors

Other individual factors have an influence over the intensity of withdrawal. People that are naturally sensitive to drug withdrawals may have more symptoms and more intense symptoms than less sensitive individuals. Additionally whether you are on any other drugs, have a therapist, have a supportive environment can all have influences on withdrawal. Your individual physiology plays a huge role in determining how quickly you recover (both physically and mentally) after quitting this particular drug.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

It is never advised to quit this medication cold turkey unless you were on the lowest possible dose for a short-term. If you were taking this drug daily for longer than a month, you should take the time to properly conduct a gradual taper. Many people quit cold turkey and do not realize that not only can this be dangerous, it will yield significantly more severe and longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms.

It is best to drop the dose every 2 weeks by a pretty small increment to ensure withdrawal success. Some recommend dropping by 1/8 of your current dose every two weeks for the most gradual taper. Others suggest dropping by 1/4 of your current dose every 2 weeks. By gradually tapering over a period of weeks, it gives your body and brain time to gradually adapt to small changes.

If you suddenly quit cold turkey, it will serve as more of a shock to your system – and thus taking you longer to recover and producing more extreme symptoms.

Note: The half life is approximately 12 hours, therefore it may take up to 3 days before the Ativan is cleared from your system. However, even after it is “cleared” you will still experience withdrawals from your body attempting to readjust to homeostatic functioning.

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below is a list of symptoms that you may experience when you discontinue Ativan. Keep in mind that since your experience will be unique, you may not experience every symptom listed below. Additionally the severity of the symptoms will vary based on individual factors.

  • Anxiety: Perhaps the most prevalent withdrawal symptom associated with Ativan is severe anxiety. Most individuals report significant spikes in anxiety symptoms when they discontinue this medication. The increased anxiety is largely due to the fact that GABA neurotransmitters are rebounding from being under the influence of a benzodiazepine.
  • Concentration problems: Many people report concentration problems while taking this drug, but they also report difficulties concentrating during withdrawal. If you have found that you have trouble focusing after you have discontinued Ativan, you are not alone. Typically your focus should return as your brain readjusts itself – this could take weeks or months.
  • Confusion: This is a bit of a general symptom that people report feelings of confusion when they stop taking this drug. This typically goes hand-in-hand with concentration issues as well as memory problems – producing a general state of confusion.
  • Depression: Benzodiazepines are known to lead to increased depression while taking them. However, coming off of them can also lead a person to feel more depressed than average. If you feel extremely depressed after you quit taking Ativan, it’s likely no coincidence – it’s likely a result of withdrawal.
  • Depersonalization: Many individuals report feeling “depersonalized” or unlike their natural selves. This could be feelings of numbness, feeling like a zombie, and/or like an alien from another planet – you feel different from your normal functioning. This is usually caused by neurotransmitter changes and increasing anxiety. You will return to your normal functioning over time.
  • Dizziness: It is extremely common to feel dizziness upon discontinuation of Ativan. The dizziness may range in severity from being somewhat minor and short-lasting to very powerful and long lasting. Typically when a person quits “cold turkey” the dizziness is more pronounced and longer lasting.
  • Fatigue: Many people have reported feeling extremely tired and lethargic when they quit their Ativan. Your energy level may be lower than average for a couple of weeks, but you will eventually experience a rebound.
  • Headaches: Another very common symptom to experience is that of headaches. These are usually caused by the withdrawal itself, but can be intensified by the increased anxiety that is also experienced during withdrawals. If headaches are severe, consider taking some sort of headache relief.
  • Hallucinations: In some rare cases, withdrawal can lead a person to experience hallucinations. If you experience hallucinations, it could be due to the fact that you withdrew too quickly and had built up a high tolerance. Keep in mind that although hallucinations could be a symptom of a greater problem (such as schizophrenia), they are also linked to benzodiazepine withdrawal.
  • Insomnia: This is a drug that is used to treat insomnia, so it is no wonder that when you stop it, you may experience rebound insomnia. Additionally the fact that your anxiety levels are likely to spike, it may be difficult to fall asleep. As your nervous system readjusts itself, you should gradually notice your sleep improving.
  • Irritability: Since Ativan helps people keep calm and reduces anxiety, withdrawals may lead to increases in irritability as well as aggression. If you notice yourself becoming highly irritable, take the time to calm yourself and realize that you may not have control over this feeling, but you can control how you express it.
  • Memory problems: It is well documented that benzodiazepines (like Ativan) can lead to the development of dementia and a decline in memory. If you notice decreased memory function following your usage of this drug, just know that it’s relatively common. I would expect memory to improve though after 6 to 12 months following your last dose.
  • Mood swings: Many people experience changes in mood when they withdraw from benzodiazepines. One moment you may feel anxious, another extremely tired, etc.
  • Nausea: If you feel nauseated, just keep in mind that this is common during withdrawal. The nausea should not persist for longer than a week or so.
  • Palpitations: Some people notice changes in heart beat and/or sensations that their heart is beating loudly. These are common to experience during withdrawal and are associated with an increased sympathetic nervous system response.
  • Panic attacks: Since this medication is primarily geared towards treating anxiety and panic attacks, experiencing panic attacks upon discontinuation is common. These panic attacks experienced during withdrawal may be more extreme than before you began this drug.
  • Psychosis: In rare cases, people have reported experiencing psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions upon withdrawal. If you have never experienced these symptoms prior to your withdrawal and they are relatively short-lived, they could be a result of withdrawal.
  • Seizures: Individuals that quit cold turkey from a relatively high dose may experience seizures. For this reason it is very important to conduct a slow taper off of this drug.
  • Sleep problems: You may have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, and you may not be able to sleep long enough to wake up feeling refreshed. It is pretty common to experience sleep changes when you initially quit taking Ativan.
  • Suicidal thinking: Some people report feeling especially suicidal when they withdraw from Ativan. This may be due to the fact that benzodiazepines triggered depression, but it could also be a result of the withdrawal process.
  • Sweating: If you notice yourself profusely sweating throughout the day and wake up from sleep drenched in sweats, it’s a result of drug withdrawal. It is thought that this may be your body’s natural way of detoxifying itself.
  • Vomiting: It isn’t very common to vomit while withdrawing from Ativan unless you taper too quickly and/or have been on it for a long term. If you end up vomiting during withdrawal, just know that you are not alone.

Ativan Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?

It is important to understand that there is no set withdrawal “timeline” or set period of time that the withdrawal is going to take. For some people, symptoms may last for several weeks and subside. For others, it may take months before some of the symptoms subside and their normal functioning returns. It really all depends on individual factors and scenarios when trying to determine how long the withdrawal will take.

Just keep in mind that the symptoms that you experience are a result of your body trying to successfully function without the influence of the drug. It may take some time before your GABA neurotransmitters stabilize and recover from the Ativan usage. If you conducted a proper, gradual taper, you may feel better within the first month after your last dose. If you didn’t gradually taper and quit “cold turkey” – it may take several months before you start to feel somewhat normal again.

Just know that your withdrawal will be completely unique based on your individual circumstances. Benzodiazepines like Ativan are some of the most difficult drugs to withdraw from. If you need help coping with your withdrawal symptoms, be sure to seek out some sort of help (e.g. online support from people going through the same thing and/or a licensed professional). Despite the fact that this is among the toughest class of drugs to withdraw from, people have still successfully made it through the withdrawal process and experienced a full recovery.

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{ 174 comments… add one }
  • Me May 25, 2018, 12:58 pm

    My mom was given Ativan while in the hospital after having a heart attack. She was in the hospital for 4 weeks and the doctor gave her Ativan to help her sleep. She knew nothing about the drug and took 1mg every night before bed.

    She had all her tests done and the best news she could hope for… no blockages, no sign of what caused the heart attack. When she came out of the hospital, the first day she was fine, the second day she was having tremors and her muscles were jumping out of her body.

    We took her to ER and found out this is a symptom of no Ativan in her system for 2 days. They gave her 1mg of Ativan to help and then gave her a prescription to taper off the drug. 1mg for 2 days, .75mg for 2 days, .50mg for 2 days and .25mg for 2 days.

    She is at day 10 now with no Ativan in her system and she is not well. She is sick, lost a lot of weight, having panic attacks, feeling overall horrible… to the point she can’t sleep and can’t go out anywhere.

    Why did the doctor prescribe Ativan when he could have given her something way less harmful to assist with sleeping? She wasn’t having panic attacks of any kind! At day 10 now… should she be feeling better at this point? Was the taper off too quick? Please help.

  • Maryann Kidwell April 24, 2018, 5:31 pm

    I too have been on Lorazepam for 10 years and decided to go cold turkey. For ten years I have taken 1 mg. nightly. Well, have been off for 3 weeks now and my head sounds like a washing machine and the ears are thumping like crazy. Am determined to stay off.

    I have 30 pills left and am keeping them for emergency. Am sooooo tired and lazy, but am going to stick with it so help me Hannah. Never knew what these meds were all about, but thanks to the testimonies of so many people – I have learned. Thanks to everyone in educating the public about this.

  • Patrick March 27, 2018, 10:52 pm

    I was prescribed Ativan thirty plus years ago. I took up to 3mg. a day. I dealt with the side effects of the drug including memory issues. Six years ago my doctor told me the effects of sudden withdrawal from Ativan, which included seizures and eventually death.

    I decided then and there to start tapering off. Over the next five years I tried tapering three times but could not handle the side effects. Seven months ago I started tapering again, this time very slowly, dropping from two mg down to 1/4 mg two months ago.

    As I type these words ears are ringing and my head feels like that of a zombie. I am 73 but feel like I am 95. I’ve worn glasses most all my life but in the last two weeks my distant vision is better without the glasses.

    My memory is improving too. I am going to hang in there until my system is clean of this damned drug.

  • Jeannie Ocat March 2, 2018, 3:52 am

    I reduced the intake to .5mg from 1.0 for about 2 mos. I took 1mg for about 6yrs while I dealt w/cancer. I caught a lot of hell from the pain clinic and was basically being prosecuted for taking it for all the wrong reasons. So long story short I stopped taking it and I feel like a million dollars.

    Seriously. I began having regular bowel movements, however, I am scoping the site for side effects because I noticed joint pain. I just turned 60 and the aging process could be the cause. Also the chemotherapy may be the contributing cause. Anyone reading this, please cut the dosage and stop. It’s interfering with the normal ebb and flow of life and may cause more problems than it is worth.

    • Yelonda March 10, 2018, 10:08 pm

      Jeannie, your story is very reassuring as I am coming off of Ativan. I’ve been on about six years and 1 milligram a day and I’m trying to taper off of it. I’m 53 hours old and trying to get my hormones regulated with natural therapy from the doctor.

      I have tapered off the Ativan’s and I just feel like myself. Some days are good some days are bad… I feel like somebody just took the wind out of my sail. I have no energy… hopefully it’ll get better in time.

    • Lore June 8, 2018, 3:03 pm

      Hi just wondering if you were taking your lorazepam dose all at once or splitting it up throughout the day? I am trying to wean off but it seems impossible. Thank you.

  • Georgie February 20, 2018, 12:23 am

    Wow….I can’t believe my doctor gave me Lorazepam… I have never checked the dosage and have been taking them for 20 years because I was in a vehicle accident lost my job and depressed… quick to prescribe Tylenol 3, lorazepam, trazodone and muscle relaxer.

    I was very hesitate to take any of the prescribed meds. So I just took the lorazepam due to my anxiety and insomnia. Last week I forgot to fill the prescription and stop taking them I feel like a zombie, can’t sleep and experiencing very bad headaches and nausea.

    I almost took one last night but then I thought maybe I should just go off them completely. Yesterday I ordered naturopathic remedies for sleep by Homeodeo should be arriving February 22nd I hope this will be a safer way for me to deal with my anxiety and insomnia… it’s suppose to stop your mind from racing with natural remedies.

    My family said since I stopped they noticed my thinking is clearer and I’m not repeating myself. I’m not happy that the doctor’s have been telling me to keep taking it that it’s safe. WOW I’m so happy I found others experiencing the same as me.

    They also tried to give me stronger med’s luckily I threw them in the garbage example Lyrica and Oxy. I hope people turn to more alternative natural remedies which have very little side affects if any. I rather not sleep for the next month and put up with the headaches until my body levels out. Great posts everyone and great info.

  • Lance Gordon March 14, 2017, 2:43 pm

    I am on Day 27 of cold turkey withdrawal. I have settled out at mild anxiety starting at 4am and some breathing problems in the AM. By 2PM my symptoms start going away but today I broke down and at 7am took 1/10 a 2mg pill which is .2mg of Lorazepam in order to more gradually wean off this stuff. It actually seems to work at that LOW dosage.

    The 21 days re-clocked my bodies reaction to the drug. So I’ll be taking it some days to get relief from the “floating anxiety” and slight breathing problems. I don’t have insomnia in that I can get to sleep with the help of 1/2 hour TV watching (I set the TV to 1/2 hour to turn off automatically). The way I got 1/10 of a pill was to add 10 parts water to a container with a 2mg pill.

    Taking 1 part out is .2mg which is a very low dosage. 15 years ago I use to take from time to time 1/10 pill + 1/8 dosage of Nyquil for sleep and it worked like a charm. I slipped into a higher dosage of .5 mg during the last 5 years (1/4 of a pill). I will try not to take any dosage for more than 3 days in a row in order to avoid major withdrawal. Overall the withdrawal process wasn’t that bad for the benefit.

    We’ll see how it goes now. Will report back in 1 month. Good luck to us all. Lance

  • Lynda March 3, 2017, 6:24 pm

    I have been on 6mg of ativan a day for over 20 years. The past 7 months have been a living nightmare. I ended up in the ER as I could not move only to find out that I was dehydrated. They told me I had a virus. Things kept getting worse. I had headaches, anxiety, sweating, extremely painful muscles, nausea, weight loss, etc. – but the worst came when my brain started racing and would not in any way slow down.

    I thought I was going insane and was terrified because I did not know what was happening. My doctor started making appointments for tests as she did not know what was wrong. It was my counselor for depression that finally figured out was wrong. I was going through withdrawal from ativan. I had not been tapered off of ativan properly.

    When I talked to another pharmacist he told me I should never have gone through any of that as it is a long gradual process. I am not out of the woods yet but at least my brain has slowed down. I actually was laughing last week for the first time in 7 months. I am looking forward to getting better but I have no idea as to how long this will take.

    Now that I know what was happening I am coping better but I need support to do it. PLEASE ALWAYS ASK ABOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS WHEN TAPERING OFF ANY DRUG. I am 72 years old and have always put trust in my doctor but now I know to question everything.

  • Lance Gordon February 27, 2017, 4:38 pm

    Thank you all for participating in this blog. Hopefully it will give me the strength to endure the withdrawal symptoms. I am on day 5 and still have some “floating” anxiety. I slept OK with the help of some Nyquil. I even used a 1/4 dosage of Nyquil to calm down during the day and it worked.

    I have had a tough 6 months with a trial separation (my wife is back) and I used Lorazepam at 1/4 of 2 mg pill at least 1x a day and sometimes more. Things have settled down enough that I felt the need to withdraw and endure the pain. This blog has helped in a strategy.

    I am doing it cold turkey but I am prepared to give myself a low dose (1/8 of a pill) if necessary in order to taper off. My symptoms are insomnia and floating anxiety and a little breathing issue from time to time. No tremors yet. No headaches. No fatigue etc… am going to tough it out but at worst take your advice to taper off if things do not normalize for at least a day in the next week.

    I hope the withdrawal is tolerable because Lorazepam was a Godsend to me to get through the separation trial. In the past I NEVER took it for anything more than 3 days at 1/4 (.5mg) for sleep then I stopped it for at least 4 days to get it out of my system. Doing it this way the withdrawal was for 1 day (insomnia usually) and it worked better the next time I needed it.

    Sometimes I didn’t take any for a month without notice. So I am hoping to get back to that procedure. But for now I want to get off it for at least 2 months and see what the drug did to me. Maybe I will use it again, maybe I won’t… it all depends on the severity of my withdrawal… I’ll keep you posted on what I feel/experience. Wishing all well, Lance

  • diane February 14, 2017, 2:46 pm

    I have been on 1/2 mg for 20 years but the last 5 years have been on 1mg at night to sleep. Not for all the reasons mentioned here, but to sleep through irregular heart beat – pounding, painful, AFIB and PAC’s and PVCs. I also take flecainide and inderal to control my heart rate and rhythm. I am trying to get off the ativan, but then how do I sleep through the painful heart beats.

    I have top cardiologists and EP’s and even a sleep apnea doctor (I use CPAP machine) but no one has an answer. I am normal weight and eat a very clean diet. Any ideas? I am trying to taper off if it and now am being kept up by the constant changing heart rate.

  • ellen deaton January 22, 2017, 12:04 am

    I’ve been off Ativan for 3.5 months and most of my issues have disappeared except for food sensitivities and dizziness. I had to quit my job so the drug has basically ruined my life. I’ve researched class action suit attornies but no one is touching because it is sold and people buy too often the generic brands… no money in it for them.

    I don’t want to sue my doc but I’m angry that such a drug is allowed by the FDA, docs and Wyeth Industries. I’m going to have a button made saying that I’m an Ativan survivor and advise not to take drug. I’m as much concerned about myself as they millions of other people who are put on this drug every day.

    • Alec March 28, 2018, 3:52 am

      I know precisely from where you’re coming, Ellen – Responsible patients are being mangled by constraints the DEA have levied on physicians, causing improper or even worse, a nonexistent taper, which I have been experiencing for the past 5 months. Unable to work, though I am extremely antsy to begin work again, unable to sleep most nights, hallucinating, everything…

      For what? I have been on a benzodiazepine in one form or another for approximately 13 years, from the age of about 18 for severe anxiety that does not respond to diet, exercise, etc. I had been utilizing the pharmaceutical very, very responsibly, so although it could be said I have absolutely developed a controlled dependence, there is no addiction going on here (just need to point that out).

      I remember panic attacks from the age of 7 onward, unable to breathe in the back seat of the car, completely internal, no identifiable environmental precursor. Anyhow, your writing here struck a chord, and I completely identify with the points you’re making. I think they are entirely valid and quite insightful, as I have been unable to articulate my extreme confusion and disappointment constructively…

      I do become severely angry and while I do not take it out on anyone directly, I feel it is unfair to those around me even still, so I try to isolate as much as possible, whilst explaining that it is not meant to punish or ignore, but to spare the persons I’m speaking of the near-unspeakable horrors I have been experiencing.

      It is said that what does not kill you makes you stronger… Well, I am beginning to question that notion. I think, perhaps, it is not altogether true, perhaps a mere truism. Thank you for what you’ve written here. I do not feel as barren and alone on this night now. I wish you the very best, Ellen, and perhaps more correspondence may occur on this message thread.

      • Christina April 8, 2018, 7:01 pm

        You sound like me Alec! You’re the first person that ‘addressed’ the issue of “being mean”, and wanting to shield others from myself (ourselves). It’s a nightmare, I’m a nightmare!

        I’ve never talked about this one symptom (no one believes anyways)… but reading your post was a “Wow” moment for me. Thank you for your honesty, I don’t feel completely alone in that way. Still isolating every chance I can. Feel worse than ‘insane’! I miss me.

  • John Bilbao December 28, 2016, 12:20 pm

    Hello everyone. I went to the ER for hypertension / “hypertensive event”, I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The cause of my high blood pressure. The Dr prescribed me some meds, and one of those prescriptions was Ativan, to help me sleep.

    It was a bottle of ten 1mg pills. I was to take it as needed before bed, to help eliminate my insomnia, caused by my hypertension. I took it for ten days, slept great, felt great, I thought at the time, this was a most wonderful and effective drug to relax me and put me to sleep. What a blessing… Yeah.

    I ran out of the Ativan / Lorazepam, and figured, I would be able to sleep. Perhaps not as good as I did with the pill, but I would be fine nonetheless. Well… I started feeling really really edgy, like something horrible was about to happen.

    Crazy thoughts, anxiety, I felt jittery… I was like… “What the heck is going on with me.” Next day, I feel like I’m dying. I call an ambulance, I go back to the ER and another doctor tells me I’m going through withdrawal. He prescribed me 4 pills, and tells me to taper off of the drug by cutting them in half and if I need more pills to make an appoint with my primary care doctor.

    I don’t have insurance now, so I tried to taper with the 4 pills. Last part of a pill I took was three weeks and 4 days ago. First week was hell. Didn’t sleep for 4 days. Panic attacks, shaking, my limbs spasm. Second week, a little better. Got more sleep. Starting on Friday, I got a so called wave of acute withdrawal symptoms.

    I’m three weeks, four days in, and it feels nearly as bad as the first week. This drug, like others have remarked here, should be banned. I’m lucky… I’m currently not working. I live on a VA disability pension. I would’ve easily lost my job, if I had one. Lorazepam/Ativan is a freaking wrecking ball.

    • EM January 15, 2017, 4:24 am

      Hang in there John. It does get better over time. Like yourself, I only took the medication for a short period [two weeks] but was taking it three times a day while working then went cold turkey. Biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Left my job burnt out and made a fool of myself during my resignation, lost my mind afterwards and working on recovery.

      It has been over two months now but dealing with what I believe is still side effects of the medication. Meditation more specifically mindfulness techniques has helped a lot, going for walks daily as well but have problems with concentration and forms of paranoia at times. I wish you all the best with your recovery and like yourself, hope this medication gets banned. Regards.

      • John Bilbao April 10, 2018, 10:24 am

        Hi EM, I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but it’s now been about a year and three or four months since I’ve posted. It took me about a month and a half after posting the original post, to feel normal again. I’ve lost a lot of weight, eating healthy and exercising in the last year.

        I’m now off of my VA disability and working again after 3 years of being on a fixed income. So, things are looking bright for me now. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you’ve overcome the withdrawals and are now doing better. Lorazepam is a hell of a drug.

  • Drew December 4, 2016, 3:55 pm

    Over the past 5 months I have come down from 8mg to 3 mg. I have had extensive help in the process as well. I highly recommend getting on a good set of vitamins and nutrients to help with the process. Excercise, meditation, and affirmations are very key. Praying is essential as well.

    It is a constant battle to supply the body with nutrients, get proper sleep, release the stress, and fill the mind with positive thoughts over the negative. Hyperbaric oxygen and exercise are extremely healthy. I have also completely changed my diet to now only eating meat vegetables nuts and fruit. I am at a roadblock with 3mg but also have taken on a lot of stress.

    I am coming off these meds, work full time, and started back taking 7.5hrs on my MBA this semester. I am obviously learned a lot through the process and am currently in the biggest phase of that but make sure to take your time and don’t put too much added stress like I did. We all have the rest of our lives ahead of us so take your time. Drew

    • EM December 6, 2016, 6:59 pm

      Thanks Drew for your post. I just went through something psychologically traumatizing on top of stopping this crazy medication. I have been prescribed Quetiapine now and doing exactly what you have recommended minus the vitamins. I go from feeling normal to crazy pretty easily and noticed that it seems to be triggered by various things. Nightmares have been the worst where I become extremely anxious when I wake up. If you have a moment, could you elaborate on which vitamins you are taking? Cheers.

  • Martine November 12, 2016, 1:35 pm

    I was on 0.5 Ativan for about 6 months. I have been completely off Ativan for 2 weeks after tapering very slowly 10% drop every 2 weeks. It has been very difficult and I will never take another benzo drug again. I had just about every withdrawal symptom listed with the worse being insomnia, headaches, confusion, difficulty concentrating, ear pressure, anxiety, etc. Every time I dropped the dose, I went through the same symptoms, so I was able to anticipate them which helped cope. I am still not 100% but I am much better and able to function. Hang in there everyone, it can be done.

    • EM November 25, 2016, 6:51 pm

      Hi Martine, Thank you for sharing your experience. I am going through the exact same thing but also feel delusional and paranoid. I was taking Lorazepam for about 3 weeks in April and stopped cold turkey. I felt like crap ever since but didn’t realize it was the drug. I then had a complete burnout and was went on it again for 2 weeks at the end of October/start of November.

      I was taking it 3 times a day and couldn’t even function properly at work. I had a full-on meltdown and ended up giving a doctor’s note then left my job because things there were bothering me. It’s been almost three weeks since I last had a dose and curious to know whether you are still feeling better. The last three weeks have been very difficult but I seem to have up and down moments now.

      It is, however, the insomnia that is killing me. My anxiety comes and goes in waves but I can’t seem to sleep. I have also been feeling very irritable. I don’t want to be around people and doing simplistic things is very difficult. Any advice on how you are coping with the withdrawals and any techniques you could share would be much appreciated. Cheers.

  • EM November 11, 2016, 9:44 am

    Hi Everyone, I have taken lorazepam twice now. Once in march for about a month when I went on sick leave for work and just recently took it for 2 weeks while going through a full on burnout due to excessive workload. I was taking it three times a day and couldn’t even function at work. Forgot passwords, could not focus and found reading anything impossible.

    I had no idea the side effects of stopping and found this site very helpful. It is definitely evil and experiencing the withdraw symptoms most describe now that I have stopped cold turkey. Headaches, can’t sleep, wake up often full of sweat, extremely nervous, shaky and paranoid. Knowing the latter, I would have never taken it. Not sure how long this will last but boy does it suck. I was having such disillusioned thoughts and had to see an anxiety specialist yesterday. Anyone know how long I should expect this to continue?

  • Ingrid October 7, 2016, 6:34 am

    Hi, well..26 YEARS!! I have been on Ativan for this long. In the late 80s had severe anxiety attacks where I took an ambulance 4x within a yr., so hospital put 2-pills under my tongue to stop it. Then I got 90- 1 mg pills for 1 mth., since then on 1-2 mg a day but take 1 mg normally only to sleep. Well folks, my Dr put my on a taper of 1 mg one night and 1/2 mg the next, alternating for 3 wks then it will be 1/2 mg for the 4th week.

    Wish me luck omg, after reading all this I’m anxious lol. Not funny but I get terrible horrifying dreams and I’m scared to get them again and all the other effects. Yikes! Ok only day 4 for me! Oct 6/16. Talk again in 3-4 wks ok? For an update. Please Universe, please be kind to me. Xo thx, Ingrid

    • K-dude February 13, 2017, 11:39 pm

      @26 years? I guess I’ll tell my duration, 22 years. Still going. Same dose I started at and haven’t needed to up the dose. I started at 4mg a day though of Xanax then switched myself to Klonopin because it worked just as well for me (social phobia), has a longer half life (debated as to whether this is good or bad) and because I liked xanax way too much.

      Why would they rush a taper if you have been a daily user for 26 YEARS? I’ll tell you why – an uneducated doctor. If you have been on a moderate dose for 26 years – why not a 6 month taper at your pace?

      What is 6 months after 26 years? Foolish malpractice if you ask me. Use the Ashton method. It’s by far the best out there and no Dr. who prescribes benzos should complain one bit – but they do.

  • Safar October 5, 2016, 3:31 pm

    ER doc told me, “If I had to pick one medicine to take on a deserted island, it would be Lorazepam.” He dosed for high blood pressure (BP) and a panic attack due to chest pain, and wrote me a prescription for 1mg as needed. I had the panic and anxiety because the last rookie ER doc told me that I might have lung cancer and six months to live.

    Felt better after the dosing, BP dropped, and they sent me home. After 6 months with an oncologist, turns out that cancer is undetermined, diagnosed with sarcoidosis, and prescribed Prednisone for treatment. Prednisone increases BP and anxiety so the doc then prescribed me more lorazepam.

    I knew right away that this pill was bad news and limited myself, but I keep feeling the siren’s song to take another when anxiety sets in. 2 years later and I’m still trying to avoid taking a 1/2 mg dose. I’m on day two of nothing and I am feeling some withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, pressure in my ears, headache, nausea, lethargy. I am determined to get rid of this stuff and never take it again!

  • Lydia October 4, 2016, 10:00 pm

    Hi all, I was reading this thread and wanted to post. I had been taking lorazepam since Aug. 22nd. I had read the horror stories about dependency and decided it was time to go off it. I was originally taking .5mg in the am and .5mg in the evening. About 3 weeks ago, I began by cutting my dosage in the am and then not taking it in the a.m.

    I started having nausea, diarrhea and headaches which would happen around 3pm each day. I started noticing that my sleep was disrupted at night and I would wake up around 3 a.m. and have a hard time going back to sleep. I had purchased Anxietin (a homeopathic anxiety medicine from HelloLife) and received it in the mail about a week before I started cutting back on the Lorazepam. I began taking 1ml (it is liquid) at night with 100mgs of 5-htp and started sleeping more soundly.

    I cut the lorazepam back a bit more each night until I was down to .25mg and was still sleeping soundly. (I should note that since I started on the lorazepam, I was also taking 75mgs of Trazodone in the evening.) The diarrhea began to subside about a week ago. Two nights ago, I cut back to .12mg and then last night I stopped taking it. My sleep was disrupted the night before and last night.

    (I am still taking the Anxietin and 5-htp at night in addition to 75mgs of the Trazodone). But last night, I noticed that it was easier to get back to sleep. I am still getting headaches and have the nausea but both seem to be better and less frequent. I will have to see how tonight goes as far as sleep, but I wanted to post this in the hope that it helps someone.

  • Erin September 4, 2016, 1:49 am

    I was taking 0.5mg of Ativan every 4-6 hours as needed for 2 years. At the peak of my anxiety there were days I took as many as 2-3mg in one day. I tapered down to 0.125mg a day for a few weeks before I stopped taking it completely. I am feeling some withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, pressure in my ears, headache, nausea, lethargy.

    But it hasn’t been totally unbearable. I’ve been through the 72 hour “hell and back” withdrawal before and I haven’t experienced it this time. All I can say is if you are experiencing the “hell and back” withdrawal it does end and just keep breathing and trying to sweat it out. With Ativan or any Benzodiazepine make sure you taper off carefully.

  • Nikki August 31, 2016, 11:50 pm

    I have been on Lorazepam for 10 years now since I was 15 due to muscular scoliosis. In 2012 I was prescribed Trazodone to get off lorazepam but after taking the trazodone for just one night it nearly killed me so I stayed on 2mgs of lorazepam. In 2014 I tapered from 2mgs of lorazepam to 1mg with the anti depressant Mirtazapine aka Remeron, I felt like a zombie and had auditorial hallucinations but after 2 weeks I felt normal.

    Since then I am still on mirtazapine and lorazepam together but have been dealing with insomnia for I want to say at least 8 weeks now, I have an appointment with a neurologist in September so I plan on mentioning to her about what steps I can take in order to get rid of this insomnia, I wouldn’t recommend taking Benadryl because it doesn’t work, the same goes for Melatonin, Valerian Root works great but I suggest only taking it for a week or two.

  • Ryan August 20, 2016, 4:36 pm

    I’ve been taking 3 mg of Ativan daily for a few years and didn’t refill it because I didnt think it was doing anything beneficial. 4 days later and I’m obviously not doing well. I’m going to refill it once I can force myself to leave my house but am not sure how to taper and can’t see a doctor for a month. I suppose I could take my regular dose until then but can’t imagine going through this again. I also don’t want anybody to know.

    • Chris April 8, 2018, 4:40 pm

      Try tapering perhaps .5 mg every two weeks. I was on 5 mg daily for about 8 years. Cutting back .5 every two weeks, and am down to 1.5 a day (.75 twice daily).

      I feel pretty crummy, but no seizures or the like. Going forward till this nasty drug is gone. I anticipate feeling pretty bad for quite a while, but hoping ‘this too will pass’?. Good luck!

  • Bruce July 29, 2016, 1:45 pm

    Yeah, I have been on Ativan for 2 years, 1mg at night for anxiety. Now I am weaning off, slowly, no Ativan since 1st July, side effects are still horrific. Headaches, flushed face, high blood pressure, shocks through my body, numbness of extremities, it’s really seriously bad. It comes and goes all day. I would never have taken this drug if I had known. No one can imagine how radical this recovery is. Bruce

    • Kris September 9, 2016, 9:57 pm

      Have your withdrawal symptoms eased or gone away yet? I also only took 1mg nightly for a year and am down to 1/2mg but it is wreaking havoc on me.

  • Charlene July 23, 2016, 3:10 am

    I have been on Lorazepam since 2012. I had mono about 30 years ago and took Xanax like candy for relief of anxiety. When the virus went away I stopped cold turkey after 3 months with no side effects, then it came back on me again. The Xanax no longer worked for me so the Doctor gave me Lorazepam.

    He still says to me To This Day that one pill (2mg) a day won’t hurt me. I have since smartened up and when this is over my doctor is FIRED! He gives me bottles of 100 pills at a time! He argued with me that they were not a narcotic and I could not become addicted! I am very angry for being Mrs. Nice Guy and believing and trusting in Him.

    After all, if you can’t trust your own doctor things are pretty sad in this world. I hope God will forgive me now that I know the truth and help me to get through this withdrawal process. In the future when I see a doctor I will say a prayer for God’s protection from drugs that are harmful to me. Sure, maybe they do help some people in the short term and I am happy for them but I bet they didn’t know either what this drug can do to a person long term – they just trusted their doctor!

    Big Pharma should be sued. They only care about money. This drug needs to have stricter guidelines to protect the people, but do they care… Shame on YOU Big Pharma. You will meet your Maker One Day.

  • Marvin H. July 15, 2016, 7:21 pm

    There needs to be a bit of balance here. People are saying that this is an evil drug. Others say it should be banned. Other side should be illegal. The fact is this medicine helps many people who use it short term. When one takes a drug for 10 years without questioning it and then complains of severe withdrawal, one wonders where self responsibility comes into play.

  • Pamela Barker July 6, 2016, 2:17 pm

    Yes, you will get better. I checked in last September. It takes time for the neurotransmitters to heal. I would recommend The Ashton Manual, then look up Recovery Tips, and read it daily. This note is for Jay.

  • Adrienne Beneway June 26, 2016, 11:10 am

    I was taking 10 MG a day prescription for severe anxiety. That was 20 years ago. Then a new doctor was smart enough to say only 6 MG. How come he doesn’t know this information about what he is helping us to ruin our lives with, for your insurance. Two months ago my doctor dropped me and I had no where to go. I started 3x a day down to 2, 2 weeks, 2x a day 2 weeks, then I broke them all in half for 2 weeks, then so on until I was running my finger on the inside of the bottle because I could feel it coming.

    Nausea and much worse, I burned my throat and stomach. Arms and legs flying all over the place, talking and choosing wrong words, the list goes on. Yesterday I had mashed potatoes and Gatorade. 1st anything in 2 weeks, I can not afford the weight. He also put me on Wellbutrin, and I stopped eating 9 years ago. He didn’t see the red flag I saw. Never ever let them give this to you.

  • sherry June 19, 2016, 7:10 am

    I have been on Ativan for about 10 years. I’ve learned to never run out, otherwise there will be hell to pay. I have been taking 1mg once a day. Withdraw symptoms for me include: sweating, tremors, non-stop negative thoughts during the whole night, usually I might be able to fall asleep after 4am. But after a few days, just as I would almost fall asleep, I would be jolted awake by my jaw quivering and a quick spasm.

    This would happen every time I would start to doze off. I bite my tongue a couple of times. Also I would have twitching in various parts of my extremities (legs, arms). One time during a absence of Ativan for several days, I even felt vibrations in my body, it scared me to death. It continued all day, the next day I got some Ativan to stop these horrible symptoms.

    Once I had to go to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack only to find out it was Ativan withdraw. My memory is terrible now. I tapered off to quit.

  • Mandy June 9, 2016, 11:07 pm

    I’ve had anxiety for almost a decade and I’m able to keep it under control, but when I travel I ask my doctor for lorazepam. This year I’ve been on two trips – one in January and one in May. My doctor gave me about 10 0.5mg pills each time, and I take 2 on each plane trip. During the trip, I take some when I’m in situations that exceed my comfort zone.

    After I get back, I feel like if I don’t have them on me, I can’t feel secure. The other night I had the worst panic attack of my life, took a lorazepam (which didn’t help at all) and felt defeated. Is it normal to experience withdrawal symptoms from such short bouts of use?

    • Jenna September 5, 2016, 4:55 am

      I don’t think it’s withdrawals as much as a safety net. I can understand. I have withdrawn off it once before years ago and was only taking it for panic attacks or being on a plane which I had to do last year. Now though, it has to be on me for me to feel I can manage. I am currently back on it and tapering off again. One thing that has helped has been getting L-theanine a natural supplement that doesn’t interact with almost anything.Having those on me help.

  • Jay May 25, 2016, 6:22 am

    Hi I feel like I’m having a nervous breakdown. I’ve been on benzos for over two decades, however been on ativan since 1999. Last year I’ve went down from 2mg 3xs a day to 1mg 3xs a day this past month .50 3xs a day. I’m bipolar and have had complications with numerous med switches. I’m at the point where I’m not sure what was making me sick as far as the med changes.

    I’m at the best I can for now,but, this coming off of Ativan is no joke. I’m not off it completely but have a long way to go yet. I am so sorry I involved myself with this med. My new psychiatrist doesn’t like her patients on any benzos especially higher doses. I mentioned that I am so dependent. I am not sleeping at night nor much then a bit.

    Will I get better? My 1mg. At night was changed to .50mg. That’s when I noticed the withdrawal side effects. Am I better to stay on the .50 3xs a day, I’m really dependent on these Ativan. IDK. What shall I do? I’m really concerned!

  • Ann May 24, 2016, 2:19 pm

    I had used Ativan for 4 years. My dosage was 1 mg at night for insomnia. I did the cold turkey thing. The first 48 hours was hard. I had headache, sensitive to light and sick stomach. I have not used Ativan for a week and I feel so much better. Good luck to those who have used higher dosage are trying to stop. I feel for you.

    • Kris September 9, 2016, 8:13 pm

      I also have taken 1mg of Ativan to sleep for 9 months now every night since my MI and stent placement in January. Previous to that I took 0.5 mg to sleep for about 1 year. I noticed I have not been sleeping well and not sleeping more than 5 hrs a night. Started reading and have discovered they are very addictive and I am probably tolerant of dose.

      Made me say no more. I have tapered to 1/2 MG at night over 3 week period but have not slept more than 1 to 2 hrs a night. I even took tylenol pm 1 night and 4mg melatonin last night and did not sleep at all. Should I call a rehab to get help? I am sick all day, hot flashes, night sweats…

  • Karina May 17, 2016, 9:26 pm

    I have been on Ativan and Zoloft for 6-7 yrs. I take 1mg 1-2 times a day. I ran out of Ativan about 3 weeks ago. I knew Zoloft has withdrawal symptoms but didn’t realize that I have been having withdrawal symptoms from Ativan too. I have not felt like myself. So emotional, irritable, fatigued, depressed, angry.

    I have also been dizzy, foggy brain, difficulty with concentration and issues with memory (I’ve always had great memory) and having stomach issues. I thought I was going crazy for real until I started reading all the withdrawal symptoms and all the comments. I thought it was me and that I was losing my mind. My doctor was out of the country and didn’t have any appointments until next week.

    Called them today crying that they have to get me in or call in the medication because I’m a mess. I want to be off the medications permanently but don’t think I can be off of it. When I went in to the doctor my 1st visit I told him I did not want to be on the meds long term and here it is 7 yrs later and still needing them. Wow.

  • Chad April 10, 2016, 3:09 am

    I’ve been on lorazepam for 6 years and decided to try and taper off starting tomorrow. Started with 1 mg and now up to 4 mg a day. Have been experiencing dizzy spells and memory and social phobia problems. This Rx seemed to work wonders at first, practically eliminating my social anxiety. But stopping drinking and making up for it with more lorazepam led me to running out one day and writhing on the floor suffering withdrawal.

    I thought I was going to die, had trouble breathing, couldn’t sleep it was awful. I learned then not to run out. But the dementia I’m having along with memory and depression is enough for me to taper off and try and get better. I’ve gotten to the point I couldn’t function without it spread out into 3-4 hour segments. This website and comments section are helpful. Good wishes to everyone getting off of this and back to living.

  • Susan April 10, 2016, 1:01 am

    I was on Lorazepam 1 mg twice daily for 10 years. I am tapering down very slowly, changing the dose only once every month. Now I am taking 1 mg in the morning, 1/2 mg the afternoon. You can buy all natural drug detox supplements, and drink lot’s of green tea, it helps! I wish everybody the best, including myself! Do not give up, we can do this, it is worth it!

  • Bobbie Lacy March 16, 2016, 12:55 am

    My first day of tapering off Lorazepam, my blood pressure has spiked up a lot, will it go back down after a few days?

  • Nicole March 15, 2016, 6:13 pm

    Wow all of these comments are so so helpful. I was on lorazepam for about two and a half years, I was prescribed it after my Dad died and I was experiencing anxiety. I was on .5 mg and taking it daily. Some days I would take two, but other days I would take none. Either way, I was taking it consistently and my doctor kept prescribing it to me and never told me it was a short term drug until December which is when I decided to do some research.

    I began tapering and taking .5 every other day and then i cut them in half and began .25 every other day. I have been doing that for about 2 months now and the withdrawal is AWFUL. Ever since I began tapering it has been- insomnia, rapid heart beat, tingling in my arms and legs, dizziness, depression, anxiety, mood swings, not feeling like myself at all. These symptoms come and go but I would like them to stay away forever. Any idea how much longer this is going to last me?

  • Tracey March 1, 2016, 1:37 pm

    I took Ativan 1mg a day for 2 weeks, after suffering from a severe panic attack. They worked like a charm at first, slept them away actually, but when the Ativan wore off, my anxiety returned with a vengeance. So the cycle began, of taking them everyday… Because I felt I needed them. After a few days I began experiencing horrible side effects.

    Waves of anxiety, headaches, numbness in my arms and feet, heart palpitations, problems with vision, oh my list could go on. After reading what others have gone through on this “medication” I decided to stop taking, cold turkey. I figured I’d only taken about 15mg over the course of 16 days, it couldn’t be any worse than how I was already feeling! WRONG!!! For the past 8 days, I have never felt worse.

    My anxiety is non stop through the roof, if I am able to fall asleep, I am usually jolted awake within a few hours with heart palpitations and extremity tingling. I’ve tried deep breathing exercises, and some hypnosis sessions I downloaded. They help for awhile… But nothing has completely eliminated my symptoms.

    Is it possible to have such severe withdrawals after only taking for a short time? I see a psychiatrist this week, in hopes we can figure this all out! Hopefully without medication…

  • Rachel February 28, 2016, 2:42 pm

    I was on Ativan for 21 days 2mg. Holy moly I did not know anything about a taper. I slept well, and the doc said it’s addictive. He also said you could get a DUI too. I have been off of it for almost 3 days and it’s been hard. I believe the anxiety is the worst when I am trying to sleep. I keep telling myself it will get better and it will. I will check back in and advise how long it takes to be free of it.

  • Mark February 28, 2016, 4:43 am

    I’ve tapered down from 3.5mg a day, by cutting down .5mg each two weeks. At the end of the taper, I’ve tried a different approach. Instead of going cold turkey off of .5mg, I’ve decided to continue the two week interval. For the first two weeks, .5mg every other day. Next two weeks, .5mg every fourth day. Next two weeks, .5mg once per week. Next two weeks, .5mg at the end of the two weeks.

    Then 1 month without ativan. Currently I’m in the every other day, and I’ve had almost no withdrawal symptoms during the entire taper. I was taking Ativan from the start of August, and began the taper in November. It’s now late February. I got the general taper from the benzo handbook, but the ending taper is my own idea. I just wanted to share the idea in case anyone else finds it helpful… but what I’m finding so far is that its helped me completely avoid any negative side effects so far.

    I should say, based on what I’m projecting with the strategy, that if I’m going to experience withdrawals, it will most likely be on March 15th – March 19th, and March 22-26, with the expectation for things to drop off after that. I’ll report back after that to let people know what I experienced. If I don’t have problems, I’d be happy to share that with people, in case it can help others deal with their withdrawal tapers more effectively.

    However, please note that I’m concurrently taking 50mg seroquel per day, which I haven’t tapered off, and that may have masked my withdrawal symptoms too…

    • Mary March 13, 2016, 4:19 am

      Thanks, Mark. I am helping my 83 year old mother taper off. Her physician was helpful in advising tapering off schedule. She has been on 1 mg per night for almost 10 years; but reduced it to 0.5 mg one year ago. She began by going every other night for one week. She then is now on one night on followed by two nights off for two weeks. Tonight is her last night of that, so we will cross our fingers. She has had two panic attacks since this, but they have resolved and she is hanging in there. I am hopeful that it will gradually improve.

  • John February 10, 2016, 4:51 am

    Lorazepam is an overly prescribed drug-as are many benzo’s. I take 2 mg nightly with Lexapro. I have severe OCD. The OCD is all but gone. when I first started taking the lorazepam, I slept like a baby. It still helps me sleep, but I definitely feel like I am dependent on it. I start experiencing withdrawal symptoms in the evening close to bedtime.

    I am very lethargic, depressed The next day. I really want to get off this drug. I am beginning the tapering process. I hope it helps. Can’t wait to be rid of this addiction. AA worked really well for me with stopping drinking. Going to give it a shot with lorazepam. Good luck to all.

  • Kenneth P. Auler January 31, 2016, 6:37 pm

    My psychiatrist “Cancelled” my Ativan prescription refill and I went into Ativan withdrawal. A neighbor took me to the emergency room. It may be he did it deliberately as we have a history of his doing the worst things. My psychiatrist treats patients in the Federal S.M.A.R.T. program for people over 60 years old; poor and mostly no formal education.

    I am a Certified Public Accountant with Inactive status. I can speak for myself and others in the S.M.A.R.T. program are not able to find the words to tell anyone. There is a criminal investigation taking place.

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