Can You Take Ativan for Alcohol Withdrawal?


Can You Take Ativan for Alcohol Withdrawal?

If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, chances are that you are aware that alcohol withdrawal can be a physically and psychologically painful experience. Ativan is a medication belonging to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

It is often prescribed for treating anxiety disorders. A doctor can also prescribe a patient Ativan for alcohol withdrawal.


According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in a recent review of pharmacological treatments for treating alcohol withdrawal, Ativan is one of the benzodiazepines type of drugs used in treating withdrawal from alcohol. The generic name for Ativan is lorazepam.

How Does Ativan Help Alcoholism Withdrawal?

People that suffer from alcoholism can experience episodes of withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous and has caused seizures in some people, and even death.

When treatment becomes necessary, it is common for doctors to prescribe benzodiazepines, such as Ativan for alcoholism. Ways that this medication can help treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Helps control the shakiness experienced from alcohol withdrawal.
  • Reduces the feelings of anxiety.
  • Helps control the confusing thoughts.
  • Reduces the risk of seizures of withdrawal due to extreme prolonged use of alcohol.
  • Reduces the risk of delirium tremens (DTs).
  • Helps to treat panic attacks associated with alcohol withdrawal.

Ativan can also help with treating the psychosomatic agitation that that is often experienced by alcohol addicts during withdrawal. Also, the medication spends a short time in the body, which can be useful in people that have problems with their liver. People using Ativan for alcohol withdrawal may become dependent on it. Dosing must be administered carefully by a doctor.

Possible Addiction from Using Ativan

The negative side of Ativan is that the medication can be potentially addictive. Doctors that prescribe it to their patients for treating withdrawal must be careful in monitoring its use, especially if the person being treated suffers from other known addictive disorders. Withdrawal symptoms from Ativan can also occur if dependence develops.

To avoid dependence-related issues, doctors prescribe the lowest dose that can still be effective for the shortest duration. The medication can be dangerous if a person overdoses. Potential death can occur from taking an overdose of Ativan with alcohol.

Facts About Using Ativan for Alcoholism Withdrawal

All medications come with warnings, and in the case with Ativan, it is important to know of its side effects too. Some of the things you should know when using Ativan include:

  • Ativan has a sedative like effect and can make a person feel drowsy, tired and/or dizzy; therefore, driving while taking Ativan is not recommended. This goes just as well for any other tasks that must be performed which require a person to be fully alert.
  • This medication should only be prescribed by a doctor, and used for a short period of time. Using it for longer periods or without a doctor's approval can create physical and emotional dependence.
  • Abruptly stopping Ativan without consulting with a doctor can result in withdrawal symptoms.

As with any medications that have potential for addiction, only a healthcare provider should recommend and prescribe Ativan for alcohol withdrawal, and determine the length of treatment that will be best for you or a loved one suffering from alcoholism.

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