Ativan Detox in Washington

Ativan in a syringe to help someone with an addiction go through detox

Ativan Detox can be dangerous if you attempt it without medical support. Ativan is one of a handful of drugs that can cause fatal withdrawal symptoms.

Ativan, a brand name of the drug lorazepam, is a drug that treats episodes of anxiety. Lorazepam works well for anxiety but is very addictive. Doctors will usually prescribe less addictive medications to treat long-term anxiety, but those take several weeks to start working. Ativan begins working right away.

Sometimes Ativan is prescribed to treat seizure disorders, especially in children or people experiencing an emergent seizure.

How Does Ativan Work?

Brain cells send electrical and chemical signals to communicate with one another. Sometimes these signals become chaotic and overwhelm the brain, like in anxiety and seizure disorders. gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a natural chemical signal used by brain cells to slow down chaotic signals.

Ativan works by prolonging the activity of GABA, so it is more effective and carries stronger signals. For anxious people, a dose of Ativan has an immediate calming effect. For someone having a seizure, Ativan can stop it very quickly.

Other medical uses for Ativan include insomnia, for relaxing a patient before surgery, alcohol withdrawal and to prevent side effects of chemotherapy.

Ativan Withdrawal

Withdrawal is a set of symptoms that begin when a person stops taking the drug. Some drugs have no withdrawal symptoms, but most drugs have at least some, even if a person does not notice them.

Withdrawal symptoms start after the body detoxes, or metabolizes, the drug from the body. The symptoms are how the body feels as cells, tissue and organs of the body re-adjust to not having the drug present all the time.

The body metabolizes Ativan in 60 hours, or about two-and-a-half days. Sixty hours is a long detox, but it can take longer if someone used the drug for months or years. Ativan stores well in fat tissue and releases slowly. Long-term Ativan use means the drug stores in fat tissue and the body can only break it down as it is released.

Ativan withdrawal symptoms begin after, and sometimes during, detox.

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan detox symptoms and Ativan withdrawal symptoms are the same, but detox and withdrawal are different processes.

Detox is the removal of Ativan from the body. Once detox completes, withdrawal symptoms begin.

Withdrawal happens because the body must re-adjust to functioning without the drug. In the case of Ativan, withdrawal slows down messages sent by brain cells, so over time, the body compensates by speeding up those messages in other ways. This process balances out with the effects of Ativan.

The body cannot tell when Ativan use will stop, so when it does, the brain keeps the speed of messages fast. Without Ativan to slow the signals, they transmit faster and stronger than normal. The net result is Ativan withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor concentration

Heavy Ativan abuse can lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Dry retching
  • Hand Tremor
  • Palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis (uncontrollable thoughts)
  • Seizures
  • Sweating

Ativan Detox in Washington

Ativan detox and withdrawal is dangerous without proper medical support.

For Ativan detox and withdrawal, physicians will slowly taper the drug over time. The dose is gradually lowered week by week until Ativan can be stopped safely. Tapering can take weeks or months depending on how severe and how long the addiction was. The physician monitors for serious withdrawal symptoms and will be able to treat any that occur.

Ativan Detox Timeline

  • Ativan detox: Time in this stage lasts from one month to years. Detox takes longer for more serious and long-lasting addictions. A detox timeline depends on the length of the taper, how the person responds to the taper and if they experience withdrawal symptoms along the way.
  • Withdrawal: At least one month. Withdrawal symptoms usually last long after the drug has left the body. For some people, this stage can last for years.
  • Medical Treatment: Lasts the length of detox and withdrawal, sometimes longer.
  • Support and therapy: Ongoing support includes counseling, Narcotics Anonymous or group therapy. Detox and withdrawal are challenging, so this phase should last as long as someone needs it to.

To learn more about Ativan detox and the program options available, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield. Take the first step toward recovery and call today.


National Institute of Health. “Package Insert – ATIVAN.” 2011. Accessed June 4, 2019.

World Health Organization. “Withdrawal Management.” 2009. Accessed June 4, 2019.