How to Curb a Lorazepam Addiction

How to Curb a Lorazepam Addiction

If you or a loved one has been taking lorazepam (also known as Ativan) and are considering quitting, it's important to do so safely and with proper guidance. When taken as prescribed, lorazepam benefits those with anxiety, however, if misused it can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms. If this is already the case, this article will provide you with the information you need to safely quit lorazepam and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Benefits of Quitting Lorazepam

Quitting lorazepam has many benefits, especially after long-term use. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Feeling more energetic and alert: Without lorazepam, you may experience increased energy levels. Common side effects of lorazepam include dizziness and fatigue.
  2. Improved cognitive function: Lorazepam can cause drowsiness, memory problems, and slower reaction time. Quitting lorazepam can help you think more clearly and improve problem-solving skills.
  3. Regaining control of your life: One of the most significant benefits of quitting lorazepam is reclaiming your life. When you depend on lorazepam physically and emotionally, it can consume your thoughts and actions. Quitting lorazepam allows you to regain control and live life on your terms.

Can You Quit Lorazepam Cold Turkey?

It is not recommended to quit lorazepam cold turkey. Even if you have been taking lorazepam as prescribed, you can develop dependence on the medication. Lorazepam works by slowing down signals in the brain, and over time, the body adjusts to this effect. Suddenly stopping lorazepam can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and potentially dangerous complications such as seizures and coma.

It is crucial to discuss your intention to quit lorazepam with your healthcare provider. Together, you can develop a plan that includes tapering off the medication gradually to allow your body time to adjust and minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Lorazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Lorazepam withdrawal occurs when you stop taking the medication or significantly reduce your dosage. The severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the dosage, duration of use, and individual differences. Common lorazepam withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Hand tremors
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Mood swings
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Panic attacks

It's important to note that not everyone will experience the same withdrawal symptoms, and the intensity can vary from mild to severe. The duration of withdrawal symptoms can also vary, but acute withdrawal symptoms typically last between one and four weeks. Some individuals may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms, which can last for several months.

How to Safely Approach Quitting Lorazepam

Quitting lorazepam should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure safety and minimize discomfort. Here are some strategies for safely quitting lorazepam:

1. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider

Before making any changes to your lorazepam dosage or quitting, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider. They will assess your individual situation, including the dosage, duration of use, and any underlying medical conditions, to develop a safe and personalized tapering plan.

2. Gradual Tapering

The safest way to quit lorazepam is through a gradual tapering process. Tapering involves gradually reducing the dosage over a period of time to allow your body to adjust and minimize withdrawal symptoms. The specific tapering schedule will depend on your individual needs and response to the medication.

An example of a lorazepam tapering schedule could be as follows:

  • Week 1: Reduce the dosage slightly, but not significantly.
  • Week 2: Reduce the total daily dose by 25%.
  • Week 3: Similar to week 1, reduce the dosage slightly.
  • Week 4: Reduce the dosage by 25% from the starting dose before tapering.
  • Weeks 5-8: Maintain the same dosage to allow your body to adjust.
  • Weeks 9 and beyond: Every two weeks, reduce the dosage by another 25% until you can safely stop taking lorazepam.

It's important to note that the above schedule is just an example, and your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate tapering plan for you based on your specific circumstances.

3. Substitution Taper

In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend a substitution taper. This involves switching from lorazepam to a longer-acting benzodiazepine, such as diazepam (Valium). The longer half-life of diazepam can make the tapering process more manageable as the medication stays in your system for a longer duration, reducing the frequency of dosing.

Once the substitution is made, the dosage of the substituted benzodiazepine will be gradually reduced according to an individualized tapering schedule.

4. Supportive Therapies

During the lorazepam tapering process, it can be helpful to engage in supportive therapies to manage withdrawal symptoms and promote overall well-being. Some therapeutic approaches that may be beneficial include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can help you identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with lorazepam use and withdrawal.
  • Mindfulness and meditation: These practices can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and enhance overall relaxation during the withdrawal process.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can help alleviate stress, improve mood, and promote better sleep quality.
  • Support groups: Connecting with others who have gone through or are going through a similar experience can provide valuable support and understanding.

5. Monitor and Communicate

Throughout the lorazepam tapering process, it's important to monitor your symptoms and communicate any concerns or difficulties with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance, make adjustments to the tapering plan if needed, and support you through the process.


Quitting lorazepam safely requires careful planning, personalized tapering schedules, and support from healthcare professionals. By following a gradual tapering process, engaging in supportive therapies, and maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider, you can successfully quit lorazepam while minimizing withdrawal symptoms and ensuring your safety and well-being.

Remember, everyone's journey is unique, and it's essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that suits your individual needs. With the right support and guidance, you can achieve a successful transition to a lorazepam-free life.


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