What is Ativan?
Ativan is the brand name of the generic drug lorazepam, a benzodiazepine medication most commonly used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and insomnia. In some cases, benzodiazepines like Ativan might be used to treat seizure disorders or the more severe symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. This specific medication is generally not prescribed to be taken for more than several weeks at a time, seeing as it can result in physical and psychological dependence. When taken exactly as prescribed, this medication is generally highly effective and results in limited side effects. Potential side effects might include dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, fatigue, decreased ability to concentrate and impaired coordination. Associated side effects typically resolve within one to two weeks, though it is a good idea to get in touch with your mental healthcare provider if side effects persist or worsen over time.
Most people can take Ativan without incident. However, because the medication can be addictive, it is a good idea to stop use entirely if you develop a physical tolerance, start taking more than the recommended dose, or have a hard time regulating your use.
Is Ativan Addictive?
Ativan is a benzodiazepine, and all benzodiazepine medications have a high potential for abuse. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, are often used for short periods of time only. They may produce emotional and/or physical dependence (addiction) even when used as recommended. Physical dependence may develop after 2 or more weeks of daily use. The risk of withdrawal reactions when stopping therapy with lorazepam is increased with prolonged use of the medication.” If you suffer from an anxiety disorder and you have a personal history of substance abuse or dependence, your prescribing psychiatrist will help you look into alternative treatment options.