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Ativan is a brand name for the benzodiazepine lorazepam. Lorazepam is a central nervous system depressant that is often prescribed for the short-term treatment of anxiety. It also has uses in anesthesiology, the treatment of insomnia and the prevention of acute seizures. The main effects of Ativan include relaxation, drowsiness and feelings of well-being. Ativan has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Side Effects

Long term medical use of Ativan is generally avoided because of the rapid development of tolerance and dependency. Ativan is very effective at relieving anxiety and insomnia in the beginning of treatment. After four to six months of regular use, symptoms often return in full. At this point, an increase in dose is required to continue treatment with lorazepam. This pattern of increasing dosage to keep up with increasing tolerance can lead to Ativan addiction. If Ativan is abused, or taken in larger doses than medically recommended, physical and psychological dependency can develop in as little as one week. Users who have become dependent on Ativan experience withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing the drug. It is strongly advised that users who wish to discontinue the use of any benzodiazepine consult a doctor before doing so. Usually the patient gradually tapers the dosage down, under medical supervision.

Ativan Side Effects Include:

  • Sleep irregularities
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor coordination
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes
  • Skin rash


If Ativan is discontinued abruptly, withdrawal symptoms may appear. The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on how long Ativan has been taken and the dosage it has been taken at. It is important for a person who is experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal to receive medical attention. A medical detox makes withdrawal symptoms safer and more bearable. Withdrawal symptoms can be harmful and possibly fatal.

Withdrawal Symptoms Include:

  • Headaches
  • Tension
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Dysphoria
  • Panic attacks
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and smell
  • Perceptual distortions
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Tremor
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Seizures
  • Hyperthermia


Taking Ativan in combination with other drugs is dangerous and can result in overdose, which can be fatal. In the occurrence of an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

Signs of Overdose Include:

  • Coma
  • Sluggishness
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Severe drowsiness




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