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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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{ 163 comments… add one }
  • Mark July 11, 2014, 1:00 pm

    After only three weeks of using ativan twice a day I quit cold turkey. I went for a journey to hell and back. This drug should be a banned substance. I urge people to never take this drug.

    • Donna August 24, 2014, 3:33 am

      I totally agree with you Mark. I’ve been on Ativan for three years, .05 mg three times daily. It is effecting my memory, causing depression, and other mental problems. I regret the day my doctor put me on them. I’m getting ready to start tapering off gradually. I hope and pray I will return to my “normal self ” soon. It’s been a nightmare.

      • Judy beam September 24, 2015, 3:48 pm

        I have been taking 0.5 ativan 3 yrs. Very depressed, fatigue, can’t sleep. Decided today to quit by cutting to 1/2 @ day. Any tips for me?

        • Brenda Higgind April 2, 2016, 3:40 pm

          Go slower on the taper.

        • linda August 19, 2016, 3:57 am

          I agree. I was put on it 2.5 years ago and never told how addictive it is or that it is not recommended to be used longer than 6 weeks. I have been working on getting off of this horrific addictive medication.

      • Colleen October 1, 2015, 10:12 pm

        I have just started tapering off of the Ativan that I have been taking for seizures for more than two years. I have been dizzy and nausea for two days now. Even my taper was too fast so I have slowed that down–I just hope that I have hit my peak with throwing up and being forced to stay in bed. My memory has been greatly affected due to my seizures but I am hoping by some of the drugs as well. If anyone has experienced memory problems and noticed less memory difficulties after withdraw from Ativan–I would love to hear it!

        • Sue January 6, 2016, 3:43 pm

          I have been on lorazepam for 8 weeks, 2mg daily. I tapered them down to 0.25mg then quit a week ago. The withdrawal has been bad, pressure in my ears, numbness of extremities, and feeling really anxious. Wish I had never taken them. Feeling worse than I did before I started taking them!!!

        • Carla March 11, 2017, 12:06 am

          Hi! I was on .5 for seizures. The wean was terrible. But… I’m way way more awake. Crisp. I still have to pay attention to memory, but it’s a lot better. My seizures went down. I have absence seizures. Best it was explained… when I’d have a seizure, I’d take one. After awhile my body liked it and forced me to have another seizure because of the withdrawal.

      • Carla February 27, 2017, 9:44 pm

        Agreed! Terrible drug! I only took .5 for seizures. Started to have more partial seizures. When the Ativan wore off, I’d have another… round and round. Even though I was only .5, it was a hellish detox.

    • Nancy Morgan October 23, 2014, 1:24 am

      You’re lucky. I was prescribed Ativan for 8 years and never questioned the seriousness of the drug as it did its thing. I went through a fast withdrawal as my doctor was uninformed. It’s been a year now and although I feel much better than “the hell and back” of the first 6 months, my sleep cycle is bad. I cannot fall asleep until early morning; this morning 9AM. I woke up at 7 PM. Not sure what I can do to stop this. I’m normally a night owl, but this is ridiculous.

      • J.Meade March 9, 2017, 12:31 am

        I feel for you. I am on a taper from my doctor. I was on it for 9 years – it is hell. I am on the last part of my taper. I get dizzy, scared, and sweaty… I dread the day I ever put one in my mouth.

    • Nancy Morgan November 30, 2014, 7:07 am

      Ativan is evil. I took it for 8 years with a prescription. Since it performed as promised, I never questioned it. A new doc took me off, way too fast. She didn’t realize the terrible consequences of cold turkey. It’s one year later, and I still have lingering side-effects like my sleep cycles is upside down, and I’m still fatigued. Never, ever go cold turkey on this drug. It’s a venture into hell.

      • Lynette March 29, 2015, 7:21 pm

        I have been on ativan for over 10 years. Was given to me for sleep. My doctor told me it. Was harmless and non addictive. Have had 3 doctors since, and they just kept giving it to me. I finally went to a psychiatrist as I have wanted off of these for years. I have only taken .05 mgs at night. I am now tapering down and should be finished my taper in 3 to 4 months.

        Am on 3/4 of a pill now for two weeks and then I will go down to 1/2 alternating with 3/4 for two weeks and then down to 1/2 for two weeks etc. I am having some withdrawal symptoms, but feel it is well worth it to get this poison out of my body! Well I will never take another pill again before researching it myself! Hoping to get through this and have my memory back again and really need to get back to work. Anyone have any thoughts on if my taper is slow enough.

        • robin September 29, 2015, 1:14 pm

          The slower the better!

        • trish January 2, 2016, 9:01 pm

          I am just now trying to taper off ativan, and even at a slow taper, the symptoms are hard to deal with. What I don’t understand, is when I was trying to come off of a low dose of xanax, I tried going cold turkey… bad idea I ended up in the ER with seizures. So the doctor switched me to ativan but at a higher dose. When I take them I feel really foggy and anxious. He is going to cut the dosage again next week. Are the foggy feelings and intense crying part of the withdrawals? Can’t wait to be off of this demon drug. I just want my life back and am tired of hiding from the world.

        • Penny July 27, 2016, 5:43 am

          I have been on ativan for 12 years. I am bipolar with severe anxiety and high panic. I have cut myself down to .25 mg. I can’t seem to get any lower without experiencing muscle spasms, headaches, higher anxiety then normal. I am now seeking psychiatric help with kicking ativan and trying to find something less addicting. Wish me luck – I’m tired of all the ativan naps!

          • C.R. Sullivan August 17, 2016, 1:49 am

            Leaving a strong medication like a benzodiazepine out of your system rather suddenly leaves a gaping hole in what was a previously precariously balanced system. So, you must find something to fill the “hole” that has been left when you changed your lorazepam dosage. I am not implying pharmaceuticals necessarily but perhaps some biochemicals, some nutritional changes, drastic exercises and thoughtful (mindful) meditation and helpful discussions with an unbiased therapist (friend).

        • steve November 10, 2016, 1:55 am

          I have been of Ativan 2mg. for 12 years only in the evening to sleep. It took me 1 year to get off the poison. Feet being numb, finger pain and burnt feeling or no feelings in my toes. Now I am off the poison and I have just won a malpractice lawsuit against my doctor for renewing my prescription for 12 years and making me into a zombie. Doctors are aware of this poison they don’t care…just sue them.

    • Anthony June 22, 2015, 12:21 pm

      Was on for three weeks between .5 and 1 mg per day. I never would have taken this if I had understood the nightmare withdrawal symptoms. These drugs should be illegal.

      • Nikki February 13, 2016, 5:15 pm

        I took it for a month. But took more than was prescribed per day. It’s been a week. It’s a nightmare. I feel like the world is ending. Does this stop?

      • Jennifer February 16, 2016, 4:49 am

        I have been on ativan .5 mg once a night for 5 weeks. I cut down to half now. I’m having extreme fatigue and really lethargic. How long will this last?

      • Joe March 28, 2016, 1:11 am

        No they shouldn’t. A lot of people can get off of them just fine. I took Clonazepam for over 10 years twice a day. I felt weird for a week or two but eventually got better. A lot of people tend to confuse withdrawal effects with symptoms of their illness just returning.

        It’s hard enough to get these Benzos prescribed as it is. I understand some people end up getting a tolerance and decide to go off of it. But really isn’t a better idea to stop them for a few days/weeks untill you need them again?

        • Erika October 19, 2016, 10:08 pm

          I took Klonopin and Ativan (not at the same time) for over a year. I had no withdrawal symptoms while getting off them. I read horror stories and saw videos of people coming off it and scared the living shit out of myself which sent me into having panic attacks and more anxiety. I believe the reason I had no withdrawal symptoms is because I have been on other medications which filled the void of the Ativan. I’m now again, taking them randomly as I don’t want my body to get addicted to them. I wish everyone luck with whatever you are going through. Life is a struggle, that’s for sure.

          • Julie November 10, 2016, 7:26 am

            Yes Erika, I have taken ativan for 15 years. 4-6 mg a day. Never in the daytime, but to sleep. I had a real stressful job and need to go to bed early and get up early. I had panic attacks. That is what it was prescribed for. All these years later I am trying to get off. I am trying to take 2 mg. I had to change doctors after 23 years he retired. The one I have now is young and she could care less what happens to you. Can’t even get an appointment. Haven’t slept in a week. Wished I never heard of it. Peace and comfort to you.

      • Carla February 27, 2017, 9:45 pm

        100% agree.

    • Rachel December 2, 2015, 11:34 pm

      I’ve been on Ativan for 9 years. Withdraws are hell and then some! It’s to the point I have to have it to function. It does more harm than good. I hate it.

      • Lory April 22, 2016, 11:50 pm

        Yes I’ve been there. I took 1 mg if of Ativan for 10 years. I went cold turkey in a treatment center because honestly I couldn’t tolerate the taper and while tapering I had a seizure. So I made a decision to go to a treatment center so I was with experienced doctors who seemed to have some intuition into the drug.

        Not easy but it was tolerable. Because I went cold turkey I will be on nonnarcotic anti seizure meds. It had been worth it not depending on what I consider to be one of the most evil drugs ever encountered!!!! It has been 5 months and still experiencing some tolerable withdrawals especially memory loss.

        Mood swings but I have a wonderful counselor and friends that have gone through or are going through this ordeal and I’m feeling better all the time. If you choose a treatment center make sure to investigate what medications they will be using. I went through Brighton recovery center in Brighton, MI.

        My experience was a very positive one. I never thought I could get through or live through it but I want you to know it can be done!!!!

    • Rebecca December 9, 2015, 9:04 pm

      I recently quit ativan cold turkey because I noticed I started to feel like I had cold feet all the time and a weird numbness in my toes. I was given ativan in the emergency room for severe anxiety and sent home with a prescription 2mg a day little did I know that I was going to become addicted. 4 months of being on them I had to stop because of that same cold feeling I mentioned. Anyway, it’s been 3 weeks and I still feel the withdrawal, but I was wondering if you had experienced any weakness? My legs feel super heavy and shake when I try to exercise as well as my arms.

    • Melissa December 27, 2015, 4:10 am

      Hi I wanted to know how you doing after your withdrawal from this nasty drug. I was taking lorazepam for 19 days and stop cold turkey it’s been 18 days since I stop taking and I feel like crap. I wake shaking that when I can sleep. My body is weak, my muscles feel really weak, I feel like I can’t walk or stand for long periods of time. I feel like a zombie and I have so much anxiety and panic attacks it’s unbelievable. I can hardly eat and I have no energy. I can’t concentrate and I can feel hardly feel cheer or joy. Does the zest for life ever come back?

      • Eric February 27, 2016, 6:43 pm

        You can’t stop cold turkey that’s the problem! You need to properly taper off of the nasty evil dangerous drug.

      • Jenny Hider March 17, 2016, 6:40 am

        What dosage were you on please?

    • Dorothy January 26, 2016, 6:23 pm

      How long did it take you to recover Mark? I was ativan for probably five or six weeks and tried to taper off on my own. I am having a horrible time of it. It has been two months now and I have some good days, and a lot of not good days. I want to feel good again so bad!

      • Cindy May 13, 2016, 5:19 pm

        I was put on it for anxiety I took it for about 8 weeks and quit cold turkey. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. Now I’m a wreck it’s been a little over 25 days and emotionally and physically I’m a mess. Wondering what I should do at this point? Insomnia, shaking, and mostly all over the map. Trying to meditate to get out of flight or fight.

    • Brent February 15, 2016, 2:09 am

      I am 28 years old, On saturday 1/23/16 I went to a concert with an open bar and had way to much to drink. The next day I had a nasty hangover as you would expect. The day After that I was experiencing chills, shaking, piercing headache which I had never felt before. I went to my Primary Care and told me that even though I am not an alcoholic and did not drink heavily in the past my body was reacting to alcohol withdrawals from the binge night.

      He prescribed me 1 mg pills of Ativan and told me to take them .5 mg at a time as needed and it would stop the shaking. I took .5 as soon as it was filled, then another .5 that night. felt so much better the next day that I didn’t take it. The day after that, I began to shake, have sweaty hands and a headache so I took another .5 mg, and then another .5 that night. I called my doctor the next day and asked him if it would be okay to take the Ativan (2x daily at .5mg) until I felt better and he said it would be fine.

      So I took (.5mg 2x daily) on Wed, Thur, Fri, St, Sun and Monday 2/1/16. On Monday when I came home from work I had a depressive episode, telling myself that I had no worth in life and then that night noticed that I was seeing Halos around Street lights and Car headlights. I called an On-call physician who told me to discontinue the medicine immediately. The next 3 days were pure hell: piercing headache, shaking, sweating, tense pressure in my head.

      The shakes went away after 7 days, however I am still sweating profusely from my hands and feet daily, My constant migraine stopped on day 9 but I am still fighting headaches that are coming and going. I have been managing it with Ibuprofen. All and all I only took 6.5 mgs of this drug over a 7 day period. This is day 13 for me off of Ativan and my brain is still not right.

      Sweating from hands and feet continued all day today, Headache that is coming and going is still there, I went to see a movie today and after leaving the theater I felt like I was high on marijuana and my brain was extremely foggy/tense. I am still fighting light sensitivity and notice that the headlights on cars and street lights have glowing balls of light around them.

      How long can I expect it to take for me to feel back to normal? I am very scared that my brain will never be the same.

      • Jenny Hider March 17, 2016, 6:44 am

        Did they put you on anything else to help you? How are you feeling?

    • Brad March 22, 2016, 4:50 am

      How long was the journey to hell and back?

    • Brenda Higgind March 26, 2016, 3:43 pm

      I agree this drug needs to be banned, I have been going through hell. Very little education provided by Dr’s on withdraw and tapering.

  • Patrick September 16, 2014, 2:10 am

    Hey folks,

    I’m going through a reduction ( taper ) schedule right now, and it’s NOT fun. I used to take .25 mg in the morning, and .50 mg at bedtime. ( .75 total per day ). This is down from the 1.0 mg I used to take a few months back. ( .5 am + .5 pm ) Anyway, I tried to start alternating from .25 am , and .50 pm, daily to .25 am, and.25 pm..WOW, I guess I’m MUCH more sensitive..even by just changing the schedule that much, I feel withdrawal symptoms..A bit of shakiness, ” out of it ” sort of feeling, dizziness, anxiousness..varied perception..

    So I called my Psychiatrist and asked if it is ok for me to do .25 every 8 hours..( am, mid-day, pm ) .. to balance me out, and get my levels consistent. He said it was fine, so that’s my plan right now. I guess everyone already knows about reductions, and how they affect you, but I just wanted folks to know that a change in dose time could also have an effect as well.

    I know this is going to take a long time, because I have been on Ativan for a really long time (at least 1 year) , but I know that in the end, when I ‘m finally free from it, all of this will have been well worth it. Then I’ll NEVER take another prescription for Lorazepam (Ativan) again. I hope every one makes their goal without as much withdrawal as possible!!

    One day, we will all be free of this drug!

    • Nancy Morgan October 23, 2014, 1:27 am

      The one good thing that’s come from withdrawal of this demon drug is that I question every prescription. I’ve withdrawn from all drugs except for pain. I know it’s coming, but it’s the last one. Lorazapam is evil and should be taken off the market. Even if a patient requires medication, another simpler way should be prescribed first.

      • Pj March 20, 2015, 7:41 am

        Same here! I just took my psych’s word for granted. Was on ativan for years (1 mg / day). Doing a slow taper: decrease 1/4 tablet every 3 weeks. My sleep is bad: I have insomnia at night, and wake up groggy at 8am. I’ll never take another Rx without a good explanation from a doctor!

        • Lenora November 23, 2015, 8:01 pm

          I have been on 1 mg of Ativan (Lorazepam) for at least the last five years. I have really been wanting to be free of it. I am a “mushbrain” now and can’t remember the previous night’s conversations with people or movies that I watched. I have been withdrawing cold turkey for 17 days today. I broke my AA sobriety by smoking pot to help me get off the Ativan, but the pot didn’t help.

          It was causing me anxiety and some fear that I wouldn’t be able to stop with the pot once I got off the Ativan. I am really glad I read this article about NOT going off the Ativan cold turkey but tapering instead. I threw my pot in the toilet and called Marijuana Anonymous today.

    • Rebekah January 21, 2016, 7:26 pm

      Thank you for the reminder about the timing of doses. When I cut out one of my doses I was stretching out the time between doses instead of breaking it smaller and taking more often. I hope it helps. Can’t wait to be off of this stuff.

    • Josiane Ochman July 31, 2016, 10:39 pm

      My sister has been on Ativan for over 20 years, don’t think she could ever quit. Doctors keep prescribing it. My husband was severely depressed for over 4 years, he was on it along with a panoply of other anti-depressants which never really helped. I started taking Ativan when he was depressed because I was super anxious and couldn’t sleep.

      I have low dose sleeping pills which I also use on an irregular basis. I’ve mostly been taking 1 mg. at night. When I felt really crappy and couldn’t sleep I might take 2. I’ve recently quite cold turkey, it’s been about 3 days maybe 4 can’t remember but am feeling really weird, sort of disconnected.

      There’s a tightness around my neck, can’t shake this feeling of “impending doom” like I’m going to die, rehearse all these scenarios in my head of how it might happen, my memory, which has always been super sharp, is giving me trouble. Problem is I’m on heavy duty antibiotics for another physical problem which has just happened.

      Feel quitting cold turkey + antibiotics are really doing a number on my system. Do want to quit but will go back on the 1 mg. dose till I’m stronger then will gradually taper off. Never realized how lethal this drug could be, should definitely come with an explicit potency warning.

  • Mike October 17, 2014, 4:13 pm

    Hello, my best to Mark and Donna and Patrick. I was on ativan for three months 1mg a night to sleep, started having intense withdrawl, so gave em back to the doc. Tried cold turkey, made it a day, went back to the dr got valium and did a quick week taper. It’s been a month now since off the ativan and 3 wks off valium… still ain’t sleeping good and get anxiety once in a while, but hang in there.

    It’s true that the symptoms come and go, but soon it will get to the point where you can manage well. I’m still getting symptoms, but I know its my brain adjusting. I used l-theanine it helped for attacks, also my dr gave me vistarel. It’s an antihistamine but knocks one out cold, and also helps with heart regularity and some anxiety. It’s been a rough journey, but be strong, go to church, pray, excersise, sweat, have support, get a therapist. Above all trust that God’s plan isn’t for you to be an addict, but to make you strong through this to fulfill your life and what he wants from you, God bless.

    • Grace Johnson April 18, 2016, 2:07 am

      Mike, how long did it take for full recovery? Thank you for the hope! Without God I could not have endured the last 18 months. My symptoms are as vivid today as the day I stopped cold turkey. Sad but my doctor told me to just stop and two pharmacists only told me how long it would take to get drug out of my system… but none said to taper off.

  • Janet October 23, 2014, 6:54 am

    Okay, so I’m an expert at this; I have kicked Ativan (Lorazepam) four different times over the last 15 years from a dose as high as 8mg a day with a bottle of wine “chaser” to where I was a week ago, “only” taking 1 mg a day at night. I am now down to .50 mg a day after a habit of 1 mg to 2 mg a day for the last 6 years. As an “expert,” I can tell you the worse thing you can do is let your imagination take control… your mind is very powerful and you can imagine yourself into having symptoms which I have done in the past.

    I have done it cold turkey and by tapering, and tapering is by far the best way to go. If you don’t taper, you will have on-going mental and physical issues for months that will interfere in your life much worse than following a taper schedule. The best thing you can do is follow your taper schedule, exercise, exercise, exercise and go about your life and try not to obsess over every little symptom you think you are experiencing. BELIEVE ME, eventually that powerful mind you have will completely re-adjust to your benzo free mind/body and heal you.

    Lastly, I am a repeat customer but that doesn’t mean anyone out there that has ever taken a benzo is doomed to fall victim to it over and over again; I have a very addictive OCD personality which I have struggled with my entire life (63 y/o.). However, the one thing that is motivating me to stop now after all this time is severe memory loss (I can barely remember what I do from one day to the next or who I talk to) so, I know that I have to stop now.

    In a week, I will drop down to .25 for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. In another couple of weeks, I will stop completely. I have experienced and survived every withdrawal symptom (real and imagined) listed above and I’m still kicking so don’t be afraid, withdrawal symptoms always go away. Take care everyone.

    • Lisa April 11, 2015, 4:40 am

      Thank you Janet to so many wonderful words of hope. I got Ativan from my family doctor many years ago. He set me up with 6 mg per day. I took it and after few good weeks I was free of physical and mental pain, but I knew something went wrong. So I reduced a dose from 6 to 4mg per day and I was “OK”. After 2 years I ask my doctor: “How long I have to be on this medication, and if there is any other way to control my panic attacks? I was told: “NO, there is no other way, and NO, I can’t just stop instantly. It’s too dangerous and I’m practically stuck with it for the rest of my life.”

      I did research about Ativan. (Stupid me I didn’t do it earlier) and I was shocked while I discover what I was taking. I was lucky I’ve got a new family doctor- the best doctor ever! He helped me to reduce to 3mg and 2 mg as if now. At certain point I quit completely. What I went through during 2 weeks only my husband know, and God. Unfortunately I start it again few months later, when I discovered that mom had stroke and heart attack and she was found on the floor 3 days later.

      All alone while my sister traveled in France. I was 12 000 miles away, and I was the one to blame, according to my sister. Anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks just came back, so it was only one solution for me – going back to that evil pill… I learn how to live with Ativan, how to manage lover dose or take more if I needed. My wonerful doctor told me that I should try to quit. I went down to 2 mg again. Now I’m working on 0.5 mg 3x per day. In 2 weeks I’m planning to cut another 0.5 mg. It’s hard, painful, unpleasant, but it it worth it to get to that first day of freedom!

      No one who never experienced himself what is like to be on that medication and to try to get of will ever understand what we are going through! It’s easy for our family and friends to judge us and criticize, calling us a weak people…. It doesn’t help! It hurts ! It’s not what we need! I’m scared of every next day and night. I never know how I will manage, but I have God and Jesus beside me, and I wouldn’t make it that far without Them! And Mom who is looking over me from above. God bless everyone who is a victim of evil doctors who have poisoned our lives. Be strong! We can do it! Thank you Janet!

    • Patti September 8, 2015, 1:15 am

      Thanks for your post! I too suffer from life-long OCD anxiety that causes severe panic attacks. I’m 62 and have been treated with Zoloft, Effexor, Lexapro, Xanax and Atenolol at different times in my life. I’m now on Anafranil and Ativan for past 2 years which are working the best so far. The main problem is I’m so tired all the time and sleep way too much.

      I’ve slowly titrated the Ativan down from 1mg a day to 0.5mg at night and am feeling more functional, but I’m too scared to totally quit because the panic attacks were so bad at one point I was considering suicide. The only side effect I’ve had is what I call brain zaps with a little dizziness. My psych doesn’t seemed concerned that I stay on this low dose forever…what do you think? Would that be too bad to do?

    • James November 15, 2015, 7:46 pm

      I took 1 mg a day for 6 weeks then tapered off to .33 mg a day and then stopped. Day 2 and I’m feeling bad, does stopping at .33 sound like a bad idea?

    • Bob November 21, 2015, 3:36 am

      Thank you Janet for your experience with Lorazepam. I’ve been taking this medication since July 2004. I remember because it was a very tramatic time in my life and it helped. Now I need to come off of this medication so I may keep my medical card so I can continue to be a school bus driver. Plus I need to feel “nomal ” again. What ever that was for me. I took. .5 mgs three times a day. I need as much advice as possible on getting off of this drug.

    • Diane February 4, 2016, 1:13 am

      I am reading all these withdrawal symptoms and do feel encouraged. Will take the advice of others that have been on this drug. Support of others is definitely encouraging. Thank You.

  • Mary October 24, 2014, 8:52 pm

    The doctor put me on it after my mother died two and one half years ago. It is evil and should be taken off the market!!! I have been through the fire too and got off of it tapering for a month. A lil better after stopping Ativan last Sat. It is so scary, but I am seeing the light!!!!

  • Jill November 7, 2014, 2:04 pm

    How severe are normal withdrawal symptoms? I don’t think I can last the day. Did I taper too fast? My last dose was 36 hours ago. I was on Lorazapam .5 mg twice a day for 3 weeks. It never did allow me a decent sleep. I went to the ER with headache and tremors looking for an answer. The ER doc said to take it every 8 hours instead of 12. I split the AM dose into two .25mg, but still suffered shakes, headaches, slurred speech, coughing an hour after taking it and again 5 hours after taking it interspersed with an hour or two of “normality?”

    After reading about the addictive effects of Lorazapam, I tried to taper, went to .625mg total for four days, then .125mg, .125mg, .25mg (bedtime) for four days. Then quit. I have had episodes of calm and episodes of severe shaking, tremors, headaches, dizziness,chills, deep depressive thoughts, you-name-it. It is debilitating and painful. I take aspirin for the headache. My family is very supportive but now I don’t think I can take it. How long will this last?

  • shannon December 28, 2014, 7:21 pm

    I’ve been on the devil drug for over 8 years. Was the only thing I could take for my night time anxiety. I’ve tried several times to drop this drug but withdrawals are horrible. I’m on the low dose of 1mg at night as well. Not much but enough to make me feel the drug’s effects. I’m on day three without the medication. Cold turkey vs. the tapering I did last time.

    I just want it over. If I have to live with insomnia then fine but I want off this crap. It works beautifully but I had only one doctor that would be willing to prescribe it for me. Plus its not cheap. So ill take a week or two of withdrawals. But I hate the feeling of like I’m high as a kite. I do agree don’t let the mind wander. Tell yourself you’re tired and drink water. Cotton mouth is awful.

  • Jim December 30, 2014, 6:34 am

    I have been on the drug for about 10 yrs and was taking a limited amount of 4 mg per day. It took 3 weeks to ween myself off and that was only because my doctor made a smart remark to me one day that I should go to a methadone clinic. I kicked the habit myself and you have to fight off all the symptoms of withdrawal and really put in your head that they are symptoms and they will go away. Good luck everyone and love ya

    • Courtney March 16, 2015, 5:29 am

      I completely agree with you and congratulations! I was on Ativan for 4.5 years. Started as low as 1mg a day and then was at my max dose of 2 mg twice a day , once in am and once before bed. I have been off of it now for a month and one week and I am not looking back! I also had my doctor say something to me that made me turn it all around. He said he didn’t see me EVER getting off this drug. So I took the matter into my own hands. We can do anything we put our minds too. Sure I’ve had some headaches and some nights are harder to fall asleep than others but nothing major!

      • Misha December 7, 2015, 12:12 am

        Thank you for this, Courtney! May I ask what your taper was like and how long? Again, thank you. I needed to read this positive comment!

    • Mike October 23, 2015, 12:19 am

      Thanks Jim. Have been on it for 4 years trying to wean off it. Tension in my head extreme jolts of depression. My teeth and gums get numb. One week done. I pray I can make it for few more weeks. God bless. -Mike

    • Jane December 28, 2015, 9:54 am

      I have been on ativan for 15 years… started at 1mg and was gradually increased to 4mg. The medication only numbs things the anxiety never went away, and after I started taking I started getting other symptoms like ocd, social anxiety, depression and others I decided to research and was horrified to discover there is a class action suit against the makers of this drug, they knew years ago that it causes brain damage.

      I should never have trusted the Dr and should have researched the drug before taking. I will never again just take anything without researching it. I am slowly tapering it off, the withdrawals are a nightmare but staying on this medication which should be banned is not an option. This medication was never intended to be prescribed longer then a few weeks. Drs and drugstores are completely to blame right beside the drug companies. They all know it’s poison.

      • Heather January 4, 2016, 6:27 pm

        I have been on Lorazepam for 4 & 1/2 years. I just stopped a week ago I had no idea I could feel that bad can’t sleep, terrible sweats, don’t want to go out & feel disconnected just like having the flu, I didn’t know the side effects but I do now I was given this drug because I lost my husband. It did help, but how awful I feel after reading others’ symptoms… I can relate. I’m glad I looked this up. It isn’t easy. Please reply. Thank you to everyone for your honesty. It is not fair you take something to help and it makes you feel worse.

  • Amanda December 31, 2014, 4:00 am

    I have been on Lorazepam .5mg. For 3.5 years. It all started over me having SVT (supravantriculartachycardia) my heart was beating almost 3 times what it should have been. So I’m on this drug for depression, sleep, etc. I was taking .5 mg twice a day. I’m now on 1/2 of .5 once a day. I’ll start breaking the 1/2 into 1/2 of that in a few days. I am having headaches, stomach and back pain, my legs hurt and I’m having vision problems, urinating more often, dry mouth, a few of the detox symptoms. I just hope all of this is in the past soon! I don’t like feeling like this! I want to be “Normal” again!!! Anyone have any recommendations for me? I don’t want to get scared and have a relapse and have to rely on dope every day. Thanks

    • ML November 8, 2015, 2:15 pm

      I just stopped cold turkey two days ago from taking one half of a .5 MG which had been prescribed to take a whole one daily as needed (?)… I have felt no different except for waking earlier, which I sorely needed to do. Can’t remember how many years I’ve been using it with an occasional missing.

  • Ronda January 6, 2015, 7:34 pm

    I love reading all of your letters. I’m feeling better knowing that I’m not alone in this. I had been taking 3 milligrams for quite a few years to help me sleep. I went down to two and I wasn’t having any problems but I was starting to feel like I was out of it. I had headaches and they stopped so I decided on Sunday to go to one and a half which threw me for a loop so I took another quarter and within a half an hour I felt sort of normal again and functional. I’m at 1 in 3 quarters now which I started Sunday night and I just want to get over this. It’s one of the worst things. I can sympathize with all of you and thank you for helping me understand what the hell I’m going through. God bless you all.

  • Patti January 19, 2015, 12:39 am

    I can not believe that I have been on this drug, 3 MG a day, for the last 9 yrs. I currently have a new doctor, who is a total B*TCH, roles her eyes at me every time I say something and is obviously a primary care physician for a paycheck. She hasn’t prescribed me this medication, as I stated because she is my new doctor. Obviously, she’s not even bothered to read my medical records either. I explained to the nurse, as I couldn’t get an appointment, with no one, for 2 weeks, that I’ve been on 3 MG daily.

    I have not taken one for 7 day’s. I’m in complete, full blown withdrawl. I can’t sleep. I have Spinal Stenosis with Myelopathy, recovering from surgery. My muscle and joints hurt. I’m moody. I feel like I can’t breathe. Headaches, cramps, I feel like I can’t take another day but at the same time, I’m glad I have decided NOT to ever take another pill again. I hope my so called physician is enjoying her vacation and I plan on saying that to her next Thursday, when I finally do get to speak to her. May God be with me.

  • Allan January 25, 2015, 5:29 am

    Patti, you are putting yourself in danger of a seizure by quitting cold turkey. Believe me, I tried it, and it landed me in the emergency room. I have been on Ativan for three years and luckily for me the average daily dose was .5 mg and 1.5 mg max. I am now down to .125 mg and ready to quit. My therapist is a total pill pusher but my primary is a human being. She put me on .1 mg Clonidine per day. It’s not as effective as Ativan but it helps control my GAD. I am in total disbelief that doctors prescribe drugs as dangerous as Ativan on a long term basis. When I told my therapist I wanted to quit because of the dementia link, she acknowledged the drug is dangerous.

    • Judy Mak April 30, 2015, 2:09 am

      I have been on 2mg of Ativan each night since I was diagnosed with Leukemia six years ago. My doctor and myself are trying a taper. I don’t feel like he knows much about it and I think he is going way to fast. I feel terrible I hope someone has a good idea. Thanks and bless you all.

  • Terry Smith January 30, 2015, 3:11 am

    Have been on lorazepam for 10 years up to 3 mg a day. Going through taper for last 3 months. Did OK down to 1 mg a day but hit bad withdrawal symptoms under 1 mg. have been on .5 mg for 4 weeks and still having W/D’s. Won’t taper anymore until symptoms stop, but may have to go back up. Cardiologist won’t believe constant PVC’s can be from W/D’s and anxiety.

    They came and went when tapering at the higher dose but are hanging on now. Mouth is also tender. Had to go to ER for tooth pain. Trip to dentist revealed no problem. Dr says I should not have W/D’s if tapering, but I am. It is tempting to just stop and ride it out instead putting a small amount of this poison in my body every day. I want it out of my body. I did not ask for this.

  • jenn February 19, 2015, 7:20 pm

    I was only on ativan for 2 and a half weeks. My doctor prescribed it to me for my anxiety attacks. I was on .5mg, such a low dosage, that it never even crossed my mind how powerful and addictive of a drug it actually is. My doctor didn’t want to give me any refills because she explained how addictive it could be and warned me to just take it easy and use only as needed. Well, I felt anxious a lot within that time, and instead of taking the “one as needed”, I was taking two every night to help me sleep for those couple of weeks. I’ll admit, that was extremely ignorant of me.

    I didn’t think it could really harm me. Boy was I wrong! A few days prior to stopping, my anxiety came on so strong that I was in constant fear. I could not sit still, I could not sleep, I was extremely restless, nauseous, absolutely no appetite, I was having reoccurring disturbing thoughts, and I was extremely depressed. I cried for a whole day for absolutely no reason. I couldn’t stay by myself. My boyfriend works nights, and I had to stay at my dad’s because I had a sudden fear of being alone.

    My panic attacks were so severe that I thought I was going crazy. I didn’t eat for days and I was extremely dehydrated. It was hell for about a week. I didn’t even know that I was going through withdrawal until I talked to a couple people and did my research online. It completely made sense to me and it clicked! It relieved me in a way to know what was happening to me and I knew I could get through it. They say everybody is different and have different reactions to certain meds, but I guess my body just didn’t react to it all that well.

    I feel so awful for the people who have been on this drug for years…my experience was probably nothing compared to what they have gone through… But to me, it was horrific. I couldn’t imagine anything longer. Its been a week now and I’m starting to feel like myself again slowly. I’m laughing and able to sleep again.

    I still have restlessness in my arms and sometimes my legs to the point I just wanna cry because it gets so uncomfortable, and my anxiety comes and goes, but it’s getting better with time. Just don’t let your mind play tricks on you, because as Janet said above – your mind is a very, very, VERY powerful thing. It likes to make you believe things that aren’t true and makes you doubt yourself. You will get better from this! Day by day.

    • Jane February 23, 2015, 12:02 am

      I am reading these comments feeling completely doomed! I have been taking Ativan for about 15 years now for GAD and panic attacks. My dose slowly crept up and up through the years until I got to where I’ve been the last two years… 10, YES TEN mgs of Ativan daily!!? I’m reading people having a horrible time getting off 1 mg a day. I’m so scared now. I’ve tried To go down several times and even by .25, by the second day I’m having crazy heart palpitations, pins and needles in hands and feet, nausea just to name a few.

      My plan has been to go to a medical detox facility as soon as my daughter goes off to college, I function completely fine on 10 mgs. On top of that I take 180mg of oxycodone daily, which again, took years to get to that dose and I’m still in pain every single day! I don’t know what to do. I have no money to try natural remedies or yoga or anything. Please if someone out there reads this and has been In such a bad spot like me, please respond if you were able to quit and how. I’m losing hope and terrified!

      • Kurt June 22, 2015, 2:09 pm

        Hi Jane, This is something you can get through, but you should be in a medically monitored, in-patient detox program to safely come off of these meds. Your insurance should cover this without difficulty, or, if you don’t have insurance many communities have programs or assistance for medically necessary in-patient detox. Contact your insurance company or local mental health agency for referrals. Best wishes! You are not alone!

    • Melissa December 27, 2015, 5:24 am

      Hi I was taking lorazepam for 19 days just 1 every afternoon at 0.5 mg. It helped with the anxiety but in the morning I would wake up shaking tired weak no appetite wasn’t sleeping not even 7 hours. These symptoms would go away as soon as I took the pill. So I decided to stop taking it cold turkey and it’s been hell. I still waking up shaking trembling weak muscles arms and legs feeling really heavy. I can’t stay asleep. Weird thoughts, crying a lot fear of everything, and anxiety through roof with panic attacks. I have dry mouth and throat coughing. I just wondering how long will this last?

    • RUTH October 28, 2016, 5:25 pm

      Hi Jenn, Just starting to read these posts. I am really distraught. If you could give me any information, it would be greatly appreciated. I am 70 & non-smoker, never drank & wont eat meat (animals are too cute). I had heart surgery & Dr. put me on Ativan for sleep. I took total 8mg over 13 days. Never took his dose.

      I read about it & stopped cold turkey September 1. It is now almost 2 mo & still getting withdrawal symptoms. I am a lightweight, hospital did gene search 1 in 100,000. I also have 1 kidney. I don’t want any part of this or other drugs not addicted. Took all to police dept. Dr. tells me is not withdrawal & I have been cleared of any medical problem.

      How long will symptoms last? Any help would be appreciated. I get awful anxiety in chest, insomnia, shaking in extremities, tremors in chest awful. Started to sleep a little more. Please help if you can. Is this possible? Thank you.

    • Happy February 12, 2017, 5:15 am

      Thanks for writing this! I could not find any post with such a low dosage and usage for less than a month. It certainly made me feel better. I taper to half weekly and today is the second day without Ativan. It truly is a horible experience! This substance should be banned!

  • Chucky77 March 24, 2015, 1:47 am

    I was on 1 mg a day for about 8 years. I’ve slowly and carefully tapered down to 0.125 mg per day. I’ve been at this low level for about four months. I’m having tremors, some dizziness, and a general feeling of being spaced out.
    I’ve tried easing down below 0.125 mg per day, but my body seems to react to that. I thought by being down to this level I could just stop taking it, but apparently not. How do I finish this process? It took me two years to get down from 1 mg to 0.125 mg. I’m taking about 1 mg of melatonin as a sleep aid, and that’s working fine.

  • Dan March 30, 2015, 12:35 am

    I just spent the night at the ER thought I was having a heart issue. I’ve been taking 1mg sporadically the last 4 months for sleep and as a muscle relaxer. Well I stopped 3 or 4 days ago and went haywire. Since I wasn’t taking it everyday tapering almost seems like more than I was taking. What a mess, I’m considering .5mg every other day, then every 3 days until this unpleasant feeling stops. Anyone with a similar situation?

  • Renay April 8, 2015, 5:57 pm

    I have been on lorazepam for 16+ years as an adjunct to 2 other seizure meds. I came off the two other meds almost 3 years ago with little to no side effects. After discussion with my neurologist, I am trying to come off the lorazepam now. I am backing off 1/2 of my night dose for 6 weeks, then half the morning dose for 6 weeks. Then drop the night dose completely and 6 weeks later drop the last morning dose. It has been 8 days since I started on this journey. I have horrible insomnia, headaches, heart racing, nausea, mental fog and feeling like I am not myself at all. I really want to get off this medication. I quit cold turkey years ago and ended up in the ER and hospital for several days. I just really want to be normal again.

  • Anna April 14, 2015, 3:46 pm

    I was prescribed lorazepam when having an adverse reaction to cold medicine a month ago. Bronchitis+feeling pressure to get back on my game = took way to many over the counters and had insomnia for 4 days. They gave it to me to sleep through the anxiety caused from the insomnia. I took 2mg spread out through the day for about 3 weeks and am now trying cold turkey with the help of another long termed. I cannot imagine those of you who have been on it for years.

    I’m currently in withdrawal and didn’t understand either what was going on until I became mentally clear enough to be able to look at a screen. I have had just about every symptom except seizures and now just can’t stop sweating. Anxiety comes and goes and I only took it for 2-3 weeks!! Lesson learned – have a primary care physician and question everything they give you. Reading these comments has definitely helped.

  • Melissa April 22, 2015, 4:17 am

    Hello everyone so I have been hooked to this devil drug since November of last year! I started off taking it as needed for anxiety one a day here or there and now I’m up to 4mg a day!! My psych started me on a tapering schedule by reducing by half a pill a week! Is that too much too soon?! I started today I unusually take one 1mg in the morning, one 1mg in the afternoon and 2mg at night. I decided to cut back my afternoon by half like the doctor told me and so far I feel like sh*t.

    My head hurts and I feel lightheaded. I see people struggling cutting down from just 1mg a day I am lightweight freaking out that he is cutting it out too quick. Help?! I want off this garbage like now but I know I have to taper but I’m feeling weak and it’s only been not even a day!! What to do what to do?! Do I just continue my taper as instructed or do I take it slower?! Please help!!

  • Bob April 23, 2015, 1:23 pm

    I am a 73 year old male and started taking Lorazepam about 3 years ago for headaches that were preventing sleep. I got rid of the headaches at 1 mg before bed but now cannot get off Lorazepam without going through hell. Managed to wean off few months ago by by substituting Trazodone at 100 mg. Tapered over several difficult months but after a while had to start increasing Trazodone to 200 mg to get any sleep and then it did not work. Went back on 1 mg Lorazepam. Doctor no longer will prescribe benzodiazepines.

    Tried cold turkey and went through 3 nights of hell. Zero sleep, cold sweats, depressed thoughts. Going for CBT therapy per doctor referral next week but have been practicing it on my own for couple of weeks without results. Problem is, when I take 1 mg Lorazepam before bed, I sleep well and no effects next day. When I don’t, I lay awake all night with cold sweats and no sleep. I have 13 tablets left and no repeat. I am very scared.

    • Heather January 4, 2016, 6:45 pm

      I totally understand I’ve been on Lorazepam for the last 4 & 1/2 years. I stopped taking it a week ago. I have felt progressively worse each day… shaky, sweating terrible, no appetite, can’t sleep, feel really drained, and had no idea this drug was so bad. Thanks for your honesty, it helps.

    • Shirley January 24, 2016, 1:40 am

      I was on 1mg lorazepam for more than 3 years because I was given steroid during chemo which ruined my sleep. I developed tolerance to the 1 mg but later found out that instead of increasing the dosage, I would skip one night then I could sleep for 8 hours every night for the next two weeks which I had not been able to do for a long, long time.

      Then I skip another night again after 2 weeks to combat the tolerance. I have to take 25mg Benadryl at the same time to get the synergy because I had hay fever for decades and lorazepam alone does not work for me. Skipping one night means getting close to no sleep for that night but 3 mg of melatonin plus 1000 IU Vitamin D helped a little with the relaxation. Of course I plan to taper too, but for now nothing else work for my sleep: ambien, lunesta, herbals, over-the-counter sleep aids…

    • Bernice May 18, 2016, 4:21 pm

      Bob, I have been on 8mg for 10 years and have had 2 heart attacks and a Stroke. I was given this med from my Doctor because I could not tolerate heart meds. I also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress and Anxiety. My new doctor is taking me off. Down to 4 mg for 1 week than none. I too am scared. I don’t think my heart is going to take it.

      I also have Afib and irregular heart beat. I have tried to find someone to help me dose slow but can’t find anyone I can get into in time. I may have to try the hospital. I only have meds until Friday. I wish you the best. From my research, slow dose reduction is best. God be with you.

      • Jenna September 5, 2016, 4:46 am

        Hi Bernice, that is incredibly unsafe for a doctor to recommend. I am hoping you are ok. I am currently on 1mg x3 daily and withdrawing off .5mg once or twice a month depending on how I am managing it. When I get to the last .5mg I will cut it to .25mg to come off.

  • Mike April 25, 2015, 6:08 pm

    Back in November 2014 out of nowhere I developed severe insomnia. Got to where I would go 2 nights without sleep than get 4 or 5 hours and so on. Tried several hypnotics like ambien lunesta etc. was sent to a very “capable” sleep specialist. He said it was anxiety and put me on lorazepam 2 mg pills. Take one he said if that doesn’t help take two and if that doesn’t help take three. I told him I did want to be on long term or become dependent. Not to worry he said just get used to sleeping then we will get you off.

    Within a month I was at 3 pills which is 6mg. I had no idea of the addictive quality and the high dose I was on. Started developing inter-dose withdrawal symptoms because of the high dose once a day and the short half life of loraz. I got all these symptoms sore teeth,tingling feet, stomach churn,on and on. I had every test for 4 months. Scans, scopes, blood work ups. Everything looked OK. I’ve lost 30 pounds in 4 months. No doctor would believe it could be the loraz. I finally convinced my primary doc but none of them know anything about tapering off.

    The bozo that first got me on this addictive crap said I had daytime anxiety not withdrawal and should take more during the day. There should be a federal investigation into these kinds of meds. Like anyone else I put my trust in a professional doctor and ended up a withdrawal junkie. To any who reads this there is good info out there at a place called benzo buddies. It’s a great support group. The Ashton manual is renowned for slow proper taper schedules.

    Do yourself a favor and check these places out before you start cutting back. I think it’s criminal what happens to people like us. I’ve had life as I know it taken from me and have to figure out on my own how to get it back. It’s crap! Good luck all. It’s a long slow journey through hell. Mine is just starting but at least I now know what it is.

  • Babs May 1, 2015, 5:11 am

    I don’t consider Ativan an evil drug and I went through a withdrawal that made me suicidal and landed me in the hospital for 8 days. Having a panic disorder is no picnic either and has been just as bad sometimes as the withdrawal. My brother, who doesn’t believe in taking any drugs, was having a nervous breakdown, and found tremendous relief taking Ativan for a short period of time. Though he no longer takes it, he likes knowing it’s available. It’s helpful for pre-surgery, people who have suffered a traumatic loss, or withdrawing from alcohol. But doctors have a responsibility to prescribe it sparingly and advise their patients as to the addictive nature of the drug and help them find alternative ways of dealing with anxiety, insomnia, and pain.

  • anne May 2, 2015, 10:39 pm

    This is my second time with Ativan. I tapered off successfully about 6 years ago. It was a very slow taper–took me 1.5 years to taper 1.5 mg. I did this by crushing the pills, putting them in water, and then decreasing by a very small volume each day. All in all my taper was a very smooth one. Before I started tapering I had all kinds of horrible symptoms and was not able to function. I stabilized on a dose for about three weeks and then started the taper. I never tapered more than 10% of my dose every two weeks.

    I am unfortunately back on Ativan. My own decision as I started drinking quite a bit of alcohol and was feeling some withdrawals. It helped and I was able to taper the alcohol. Unfortunately I started feeling great again, but also started having 2 to 4 standard drinks a day while tapering the Ativan. The symptoms came back with a vengeance a few months ago. I get very high blood pressure spikes which are scary. I have not had a drink in two weeks and I am feeling a lot better. But, I am still experiencing some anxiety and occasional BP spikes.

    I need to stabilize on the Ativan. I did up-dose a bit, but so far I am not as stable as I would like to be. I need to function at work. Once I am stable (hopefully without up-dosing too much), I plan on another very slow taper – this time without the alcohol. I know it will take about a year or so, but it will be worth it to be off this horrible drug. Never again. I do think a very slow taper is the way to go – decreasing by more than 10% every two weeks results in withdrawal symptoms.

  • Brad May 8, 2015, 6:03 am

    I went to the doctor for a breathing problem which turned out to be bronchitis. However it was hard to detect so doctor thought I was anxious and would benefit from lorazepam. I took his advice looking for anything to make me feel a bit better whilst waiting for someone to diagnose my lung problem. And I was pretty worried about lung cancer. Anyway to cut a long story short it worked pretty well.

    Not having been told about the addictive effects I just kept upping the dose and doctors kept prescribing it for me. The first doctor who gave it to me wasn’t in my hometown. Then one day ran out. Didn’t think anything of it. Started to feel awful. a couldn’t sleep for three days. Finally figured out it must have been the lorazepam. Went to the doctor and jumped right back on so as I could work. Worst decision ever should have just rode it out.

    Been on it for a month since, but started to get between dose withdrawal. Have had enough. was doing 4mg a day. Tried to taper but didn’t matter still had horrible between doses withdrawal. So I got down to one a day super fast. Then cold turkey. Now been two days. Had some horrible withdrawal symptoms but I don’t care. I wasn’t having panic attacks or anxiety attacks before taking this so I’ll get through the physical hell. I couldn’t submit myself to a protracted withdrawal taking longer to get off it than I’d been on it.

    Obviously I still have a journey ahead of me. From what I read cold turkey isn’t the way to go but I don’t want to put any more of this crap in my body. It was affecting my vision and I got eye floaters and light sensitivity. So cold turkey it is. Just writing this to let anyone out there know: Never ever take this medicine. And if you do get off it any way you can. Your mind and body is strong enough. Don’t let doctors do this to you. And believe in yourself. I’ll make it back soon. Good luck to you all.

  • Kathy May 11, 2015, 4:34 am

    I took Ativan off and on, over several years for anxiety. No one ever told me not to cold turkey off of it, and when I did, within two days, I had a Grand Mal Seizure that was the worst thing I have ever experienced, and I’ve had several surgeries, and strokes, too. Thank goodness my son was staying with me at the time, because I was unconscious for several hours, and woke up in Intensive Care. I do not understand why no doctors ever told me not to quit cold turkey. Very dangerous.

  • Susan May 26, 2015, 10:35 am

    I am so glad that I came upon this website. Every morning I wake depressed and anxious and feeling alone, wondering if I might die today! I am trying to wean off the ativan. I have been on .5 mg twice a day since a stay in the hospital for afib. That was 5 months ago and every time I think I weaned myself off successfully, (I will go 5 or 6 days feeling wonderful, then BANG, every symptom comes back and I start all over again).

    My doctor gave me zoloft, I have not taken it yet and was wondering if anyone else takes something else to wean off ativan? I feel doomed, dizzy, depressed, headaches, strange thoughts. Afraid to dry in case I pass out (which I have never done, but always feels like I might) I can’t work, I don’t go anywhere and I even stopped talking to my friends. So, I will read these posts every day to remind me, we can do it!

    • Diana June 3, 2015, 7:34 pm

      Hi Susan! My Dr also gave me Zoloft to help with the withdrawal symptoms. But I did research on Zoloft and it too has to be tapered to get off of. Ive been on ativan for 15 years. I had a pacemaker implanted and before they knew what was wrong my Dr gave me ativan for panic attacks. I have been taking 1 mg every night for sleep. I am tapering (since December) and am now taking .25 once a day.

      I still have dizziness, ringing in the ears, gritting my teeth, all withdrawal symptoms. I too can go for a day or 2 and feel great but it always comes back. I only sleep about 4 hours a night. I’m NOT going to start the Zoloft just because I do not want to have to do this all over again. I stopped drinking my wine in the evening because it exacerbated the withdrawal symptoms. I HATE the panic attacks I endure. I just have to talk to myself to calm down or get up and walk.

      I’ve been exercising to get this poison out of my body. I too, suffer from agoraphobia. Its tough to get in my car and go any place where there are people!!! Just keep at it and it will get better. I keep telling myself that the w/d symptoms are a sign my brain and body are trying to rebalance. But some days I think Im going crazy. I hope we can all get through this fast!

  • P. Reed June 29, 2015, 8:16 pm

    I have been on Ativan for about a year; 2mg at bedtime. Stopped cold turkey three days ago and have had some withdrawal symptoms. Insomnia and profuse sweating periodically through the day. I really think that most of my withdrawal symptoms are related to the fact that I can’t get a good night of sleep.

    • Heather January 4, 2016, 6:58 pm

      I can relate. The sweating is terrible, I have no appetite, and am not sleeping. I have been on Lorazepam for 4 & 1/2 years for anxiety. I just ran out and haven’t seen my doctor. It has been a week from hell. Good luck & thank you for your words.

  • Kellea June 30, 2015, 9:22 pm

    Hi- Thanks for sharing your stories. They are very helpful and make me feel not so alone. I have been on 3mg of Ativan for 18 years. I was surprised the stuff was still working until I realized that a decline in my quality of life was slowly taking place. Nightmares every single night is the worst part. And I can remember them when I awake and am traumatized by that experience all day. I’d give all I have for one good night’s sleep!

    I stopped socializing with friends, just telling them I am a recluse and that’s the way it is. Then, just a few weeks ago, I had the most horrific thing happen. My muscles were twitching incessantly while I tried to sleep and then I got up and HAD to walk. 5am and I am walking around my back yard in circles in my pajamas with my dogs looking at me like what is she doing? I went back in the house and took 1 mg of Ativan knowing that eventually my body would have to give out. Kept walking and it finally did.

    I feel like I have PTSD because now it is so hard to forget the nightmares and the walking episode. This is what made me think I was going into withdrawal and so I started to research it. Almost everything fit. Sensitivity to light, smell and sound. Nightmares. Insomnia, Irritability, Social Anxiety, Fear…even the walking. So, now I am trying to prepare a tapering schedule, but since I am already in withdrawal at this point, where to start? I know I have heard of substituting another benzo with a longer half-life when you taper, but I really do not want to do that.

    I had tried almost every other one with ill-effects until Ativan. Weird thing is I was taking 2mg at night and 1mg in the am. Now I can see where the gap occurred (Ativan’s half-life is around 6-9 hours). I am going to space out the 3 mg throughout the day and night and then start tapering from there. That way (hopefully) there will not be to big of a drop of it in my blood to bring on withdrawal symptoms or should I say demons, because that’s what it really feels like.

    I tried taking 1/2mg less at bedtime last night and awoke today (fully awake) to the most disturbing thoughts and sensations. Tremors, huge headache, mild confusion, uneasiness and fear. I kept saying, “You are experiencing these because you are getting well and that stuff is leaving your body”. No dice. Trial for me. I cannot overcome my own brain when the withdrawal is that powerful. Hopefully with the tapering I can keep those rational thoughts in my head and win the battle, however slowly. Best of luck to you all!!

  • Dave F July 15, 2015, 4:55 am

    I have been taking ativan for almost a month .05 twice daily as needed. Well difficult times happened and a few occasions I took 3 pills in a day. The main mistake I made was thinking it was to be taken daily and did not consider as needed. I read up on this drug and am fearful of it. I want off so I started taking 1 (.05) tablet daily a little later each day.

    My thought was taper the dosage and try to increase the length of time each day during the taper. Well I am getting the withdrawal symptoms and it ain’t nice. I hope this taper will sooner or later lessen the withdrawals. I have constant headaches which makes me fear for my life that I am dying and then that causes anxiety issues not too mention sweating and some blurry vision at times and so on.

    About the only thing that gives me peace is reading that others have been through this and survived and that others are going through it just like me. It’s hard to go to work and try to fake feeling good and normal like everyone else when I am fighting so hard to keep my sanity. Any words of encouragement will be gratefully appreciated or suggestions for dealing with these symptoms.

  • Annie B. July 22, 2015, 8:41 pm

    I have been on Ativan for 20+ Years . I am 65 years old and was given the drug to control SVT (anxiety induced) My doctor of 27 years has retired and my new doctor cut my dose in half all at once to try to get me off of it. I have been hospitalized 3 times for severe disabling AFib and dehydration. I have lost my job of 30 years and I am terrified about what is going to happen.

    I had cardio version 2 weeks ago and feel somewhat more stable. I still take 3 mgs a day but have been told my new doctor will not refill it. I know this sounds terrible but they found a mass in my stomach while I was in the hospital. I kind of hope it will kill me so i don’t have to deal with these withdrawals..yes it’s been that horrible.

  • Jonathan August 10, 2015, 3:19 pm

    It is both comforting and scary for me to read the personal stories that others have shared about their journeys through hell that came as a result of taking this horrible drug. I know that I’m not alone in this nightmare, but I’m scared in knowing that I have a long road ahead of me before I can get back to any sort of “normalcy”.

    I’d been taking 2mg of Ativan for about 9 months, starting around the end of October 2014. My primary care physician prescribed it to me when I was having some increased anxiety due to a challenging work situation. “It’s a pretty safe medication,” he said. “It should have the same effect as having a glass of wine.”

    How very wrong he was!

    By June of 2015, I had developed a full-blown addiction to this terrible medication. My anxiety and depression became worse than ever. I began to drink a LOT more (Benzos have a similar effect on the brain as alcohol does, and it’s easy to develop a dependency on drinking when you also have a dependency on Ativan). I was having terrible suicidal thoughts as well.

    Finally, at the end of June, after my mental health had deteriorated in a very noticeable way, my family insisted that I check myself into a hospital. There, I finally learned about the poison that I was putting into my body on a daily basis. The psychiatrist at the hospital put me on a 2-week taper schedule, which is WAY too fast for someone who had been taking the drug for as long as I was. I also was advised to stay away from alcohol for the foreseeable future, as drinking will only worsen my withdrawal symptoms.

    It’s been a little over a month since I got off the Ativan and quit drinking, and life has been HELL. My depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation are very pronounced. I have a lot of trouble sleeping, I have inner trembling, I sweat a lot, and I can’t focus on anything. Plus, I have absolutely no motivation to do anything. Some days, It’s all I can do to simply will myself to get up and take a shower.

    Although I know that I tapered off this drug a lot faster than I should have, I’m going to try and stick it out. I just HATE that my doctor put me on this terrible medication. For the past month, I’ve been seeing a therapist, going to A.A. meetings, and will be seeing a new mental health professional for help with medications to combat my increased depression. The therapy and A.A. meetings only marginally help. I’m very scared for my future, and pray to God that I can get through the next few months in one piece.

    It’s an absolute crime that doctors put people on these medications without giving any warnings or doing their own research into the dangers of the medications they prescribe.

    My heart goes out to all of you who are dealing with addictions to Ativan and other benzos. To those thinking of getting off this medication, I encourage you to do so…but SAFELY. Check out the Ashton Manual, which gives great advice on how to successfully taper of this drug with minimal withdrawal symptoms. I wish I had.

    • Susan September 17, 2015, 2:16 pm

      I agree, I have nightmares including my family and friends. I wake up and when I go back to sleep, the nightmares come back. I get out of bed now and start the day. I worry about these nightmares and what I am dreaming. Everyone is mad at me and it is hard to think about these dreams.

  • Pamela August 29, 2015, 4:48 pm

    I am so thankful for this website. I am a 71 year old female. I went off the medication a week ago,and it is better today than last week. It just takes time. The sweats are unbelievable. It makes menopause seem like a cakewalk. All I can add is just hang in there, and time will take care of it.

  • Judi September 8, 2015, 7:56 am

    I was prescribed Ativan (Lorazapam) two times several years ago for anxiety. Because I’m fearful of possible drug side effects, I only took my pill at bedtime, instead of the other times per day that my doctor prescribed. Also, I broke the tiny pill in half so I was taking the bare minimum to take the edge off my anxiety.

    When I decided I didn’t need it anymore I followed my doctor’s instruction to taper off. But the pill was so tiny that I couldn’t break it enough times to complete the tapering process. My doctor then put me on Valium and tapered me off the Valium. It was a long time ago, but I think it took about 45 days to totally taper off the Valium. It was successful and I don’t recall any bad symptoms coming down off Valium.

    A couple of years later my father died and I went back on Lorazapam again. When it was time to get off we did the Valium thing again and it was as successful as the time before. I hope this helps someone else.

    • Jay November 3, 2015, 11:33 pm

      Unfortunately, I quit Lorazepam (1.0 mg. 3 X per day) cold turkey 5 months ago, after taking this dose to treat anxiety and sleep issues for 6 years. The cold turkey approach was due to a total lack of knowledge on my part. After an initial 2 weeks of hell, I had a period of relative calm for 2 months. Then symptoms floored me. I have been blanketed by deep depression, inability to concentrate, insomnia, anxiety, memory issues… for the past 2 months without relief. After reading a wealth of others’ stories, I’m bracing for several months of healing ahead.

  • Erika September 15, 2015, 1:51 am

    About 3 years ago I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and some depression. I had never in my life experience a panic attack until I was put on Xanax. At first it helped…doctor raised my dosage then I started having suicidal thoughts. Was taken off and put on Ativan. The Ativan helped me real quick…I was feeling great. But then I started to notice that I was feeling like a zombie and was extremely sleepy.

    Without my doctor’s consent I started to lower my dosage and eventually got off of it. Didn’t get any withdrawals. I started to feel a little bit normal. It has now been about a year since I got off of them and I have started to notice that my anxiety is coming back. I struggle with focusing, I sometimes feel like a zombie, I have constant headaches, nauseous, sometimes I cant sleep of fear of dying in my sleep and I’m easily irritated by almost everything.

    I know I need help, but I refuse to take any meds. I feel like I should have never taken anything. I felt more normal then than I do now.

  • K L Pettengill September 16, 2015, 2:09 pm

    I’ve only taken this horrible drug for 8 -10 weeks and tried to stop cold turkey the other night. I was feeling calm and well enough to try sleeping without it…what a mistake! Mood swings form euphoria to almost suicidal…numbness in hands and feet, headache…almost out of control. I must be very sensitive to these types of drugs. My pills are 1 mg and I only took maybe 2 a day…sometimes 1/2 or even 1/4 just to take the edge off.

    My doctor didn’t explain the side effects of this when she prescribed them for sleep, which I was desperate for. I have a call into her office to get instructions on withdrawal and have an appt with a psychiatrist to help with anxiety and panic attacks without these terrible medications. Thanks for any comments.

  • Kathleen November 19, 2015, 3:10 pm

    I’m 22 years old and I have been on ativan on and off now for a year (ranging from no dose to 2mg daily). It was prescribed to me for insomnia however once I started taking it (I also have an anxiety disorder), I started using it to relieve anxiety. I have only been able to take no dose of it for 4 or 5 days and I had to take it again…I have to say that this is the hardest drug to come off of. In saying that, people who don’t abuse it or develop a severe dependence on it, should be able to come off of it more easier.

    I have tried many many times to come off (5-10 times). But the withdrawal is so bad and I crave the drug so I take it again. It’s like a cycle. I finally have decided that I’m going to tell my doctor about the issues I’ve been having with it as he was the one who prescribed it to me in the first place. I can’t believe that some doctors out there (not saying all doctors) hand it out like candy. It should be used for ONLY 2 weeks to 1 to 2 months maximum, in my opinion.

  • Rachel November 20, 2015, 2:37 am

    Hang in there everyone. I have been off ativan over 2 years and still have significant symptoms. Migraines, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, cog fog, and extreme dizziness at times. It’s a long road. I just hope one day I’m back to normal.

  • rubs November 22, 2015, 7:47 pm

    I want off now, so I’ve been pretending to use these candy looking pills pretending it was ativan. When I felt like I needed one, I took the candy and told myself it was an ativan. Now I hardly take it. It’s just a defuser for a anxiety attck

  • Charlene November 25, 2015, 1:49 pm

    I have been on Lorazepam for over 3 years now for a chronic virus that causes nervous system pulsing headaches and other symptoms. I am currently up to 2 mg per night for sleeping. I used to take them during the day but stopped. Now I just started tapering off gradually thinking that perhaps my headaches are no longer caused by the virus but by the drug.

    I guess I won’t really know until I’m totally off of it because epstein barr virus can be chronic too so it’s like I have a double whammy. Once off the lorazepam I plan on using a Sota’s blood purifier kit to kill the virus but can’t now because you can’t use prescription drugs while on it because it magnifies the drug effects by 20x’s.

    So everyone out there please say a prayer for me that I will get through and over this as I will pray for all of you too. God bless, in Zjesis Love, Charlene. P.S. When this is over I’m switching doctors. How cruel not to warn a person how drastic, even life threatening this can all be. I’m angry and rightly so.

  • Ann November 26, 2015, 2:48 am

    I just stopped taking Ativan a week ago, and boy I’m NOT liking what’s happening to me at all!!! I haven’t slept more than 4 hours in the last week, and I’ve been aching all over and having big time panic attacks. I have COPD and that’s why it was prescribed to me. The dosage was 1/2 to 1 tablet once daily as needed (1mg).

    I started out taking 1/2 a tablet but soon found that it wasn’t working, so started taking 1 full tablet. I’d noticed that the 1mg wasn’t working for me the last month or so and I mentioned it to my NEW Dr. (taking over for my Dr who retired) and he said I’m going to give you valium. I had NO idea that you should ween yourself off of the Ativan, so I just stopped and it hasn’t been pleasant.

    It was so bad today that I took 1/2 of the valium, but I’m NOT going to take it on a regular basis because I don’t want to end up in the boat I’m in now. I usually research every medication that I’m given, but I was just SO glad to have something to help the panic attacks that I didn’t question it which turned out to be a bad move. I wish this new Dr had of said something to me. He’s going to hear it from me when I go back to him.

  • Ken November 29, 2015, 10:05 am

    I have been taking lorazepam for about 8 years. I was taking 2mg x 4 times a day. Dropped to 6mg a day 2 years ago. Changed to 2mg a day 3 weeks ago on my own, so far, no problems, going to keep cutting down “I hope” to prn. Wish me luck.

  • t. anderson November 29, 2015, 4:19 pm

    I have been on Ativan 0.5 mg’s for probably 10 years. I take one tablet in the morning for tremors. The doctor just keeps prescribing it. Last week I broke my tablet in half and only took 0.25 mg for 3 days thinking after that I could get off of it. For the last four days I have been beside myself. Literally not putting it together that I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

    OMG! I feel disconnected, unable to focus, visual issues, severe headaches, severe insomnia, confusion, memory issues, severe nausea, jittery, anxious, nervous AND MORE! It wasn’t until this morning that I decided to google withdrawal side effects from Ativan and began reading all of your posts. I have immediately put myself back on the Ativan.

    I am only taking 3/4 of a .5mg tablet starting today. I will do this for 3 weeks then decrease to a half tab for three weeks then decrease to a quarter tab for three weeks then be DONE!!! I hope! Does this sound like a fair taper? Please help me. I am open to learn the best way to do this. Thank you so very much!

  • Mike December 3, 2015, 12:32 am

    Hello, I have been on 0.5mg daily for about a year and desperately want to get off this drug. I know it’s not a big dose but I’m a huge hypochondriac and have read that some withdrawal symptoms can cause death. I have tried to come off cold turkey and definitely feel some withdrawal symptoms (sweating, unreal feeling, unable to focus, trouble sleeping). With such a low dosage should I just suck it up and try to stop cold turkey or should I try a taper off schedule? My psychiatrist seems to be of no help and just keeps prescribing me this drug. Thanks in advance.

  • Heather December 12, 2015, 2:57 am

    I have taken Ativan for 14 years, but my doctor did not make me aware of the withdrawal symptoms if I were ever to cut off this medicine. Now I am slowly tapering off to not take this medicine anymore… I’ve already suffered withdrawal symptoms… it is very scary and I would not recommend ever taking Ativan.

  • Patricia December 13, 2015, 5:24 am

    I was on ativan for almost a year, 1mg twice a day. I went off cold turkey and had no problems other than not being able to sleep. I was actually taking both at night due to nighttime anxiety. I wish I still could get them for sleep but instead am now using Nyquil.

  • Krystyna December 16, 2015, 4:36 am

    I have been on lorazepam for 20 years since my mother died, was never diagnosed with thyroid disease, then had breast cancer. Now I am up to 8 mg and started 1/8 taper every 3 weeks. The first 2 tapers were easy the third caused premature heartbeats…horrid! Dr made me go back up to see if the taper caused the funny palpitations… anyone else experience this? How long do the palpitations last?

  • Cindy December 29, 2015, 11:30 pm

    I’m glad that I’ve found this website! To know that I’m not alone – been on lorazepam for only 4 days , 2 times a day 0.5mg and stopped ” cold turkey ” I have no choice to stop because I only had like 8 pills prescribed for me. Been given it when I was in ER when I had severe panic attack a week ago. Although I’ve only had 4 days of dosage but I have a bad bad bad withdrawal from it!! Had taken other anxiety pills like lexotan but didn’t have withdrawals before. Hope the symptoms eases ASAP… :-(

    • Brent February 15, 2016, 4:12 am

      Have the symptoms stopped? I took 6.5 mgs total over 7 days and I’m on day 13 off cold turkey… still experiencing symptoms.

      • John February 24, 2016, 10:45 pm

        I took approx 3 mg total over 7 days and have had bad side effects, inner trembling, jittery, nausea, lack of appetite. Researched this drug all day today and am shocked at how horrible of a drug this is. Can’t believe I so stupid just to take it when my GP gave it to me to help with anxiety.

        It’s been 20 hours since my last 1/2 pill of .5 mg and I have a massive headache and a little lightheaded. Not looking forward to the next few days. Amazing what can happen in only a week.

    • John February 25, 2016, 12:11 am

      Cindy, how long did your symptoms end up lasting?

  • Jay January 4, 2016, 2:56 pm

    I went through a divorce, lost everything, homeless and sleeping in the cold then gradually moved up in my job, started making good money, got a vehicle and a small house with money to spare each week. I was so happy with my life then all of a sudden started having panic attacks for reasons unknown. I was happy! Why was this happening?

    I would avoid stores, people, phone calls and any thing else that required my attention. Went to the ER 3 times, heart tests, brain scans and all that. The last time I went to the ER by ambulance (passed out at work) I remember the nurse putting something in my IV. I told her no that I don’t take medicine. She said it’s only 1mg of “Ativan”. Next thing I knew I woke up from a great nap with my coworkers there.

    I told them I felt better than I have in years! I really did! I did lots of tests and they wrote it off as panic. That Dr gave me 10 1mg pills and as he walked out he turned back around and said “you be very careful with those, only as needed.” I slept like a baby that night and it felt so good that I called in to work the next day to sleep some more. Then the next day, then the next day.

    Monday came around and my panic was terrible thinking of going back to work so I took one and about 30min later I felt fine. Same thing every morning. Wake up sad, anxious, pop the pill then fine. I was literally thanking God for these wonderful pills! Since that time I was sleeping 16 hours a day, lost my job, license, and about to be evicted because of these pills. I realized I was just a zombie who couldn’t think straight.

    I simply didn’t want to be awake… I started cutting these things in half. Sweating so bad while sleeping I swore each day my cat was pissing my bed. Seriously! Theres no way I was sweating this bad EVERYDAY. I kept breaking them in half, then 1/4 etc. until I just stopped altogether. I still have them on my nightstand for comfort in case, but I have not taken any in about 6 weeks. But now I don’t sleep at night, don’t cook or clean. And that’s just not me because I LOVE cooking and keeping a clean house.

    I don’t leave the house because I feel so weird. Dizzy, forget things, no appetite and just stay in the bed and cry. Can SOMEBODY PLEASE give me some hope and assurance that I will be back to normal? I was on them for about 4 months. One in the morning only. I have lost everything I have because of these evil things. No Christmas, about to be evicted so that puts me in depression. I’m scared!!!

    • Cindy May 5, 2016, 11:43 am

      Jay…how are you now? You wrote this last January. I hope you were able to get help. I am also in the process of getting off of Ativan. I am taking 1 mg and will go to .75 mg tomorrow for 2 weeks, then down another .25 for 2 weeks until I’m off. I’m hoping that tapering will reduce my withdrawals.

  • Patty January 15, 2016, 3:38 pm

    I am in the trenches now. I went from a high does of klonopin for 3 years into 3mg daily of Ativan for 2 months. I quit cold turkey on New Year’s Day – alcohol and caffeine as well. I’m so spaced out and dizzy I have adjusted my mindset that I have to make the best of what I have for now. I started working out.

    After I run a few miles I feel normal again. It’s so nice but I literally have to work my a$$ off to feel any withdrawal relief. My advice… MOVE A LOT! My happiness is knowing I am taking my life back. PTSD has safer coping skills than pill popping. Exercise is my new drug. I’ve never felt worse/better simultaneously. Good luck peeps.

  • Diane January 15, 2016, 5:19 pm

    I am a 70 women who has been taking some form of diazepam for 35 years. The last 10 years it has been lorazepam. I am in my second week of withdrawal from 0.5mg daily, after weaning down from 8mg daily. Presently my symptoms are: Anxiety, depression, bearable pain, severe insomnia, paresthesias, and confusion. I’ll see a neurologist this for the purposes information, and possible permanent damage to my nervous system, as I know this is possible. Younger readers – Do it now, before it’s too late for you.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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 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

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