How to Safely Stop Taking Ativan

How to Safely Stop Taking Ativan

If you’re here, you’ve probably decided you’re ready for a future free from Ativan dependency. You’ve come to the right place! There are just a few crucial steps and strategies you should know to give you the best shot at ditching Ativan for good.

Ativan (also known as Lorazepam) is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat anxiety disorders, seizures, and insomnia. However, long-term use of Ativan can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when trying to figure out how to stop taking Ativan. If you are considering discontinuing Ativan, it is important to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure your safety and well-being. In this article, we will explore how to stop taking Ativan safely, the withdrawal symptoms you may experience, coping strategies, and long-term treatment options.

Understanding Ativan Withdrawal

When you take Ativan regularly for an extended period, your body becomes dependent on the medication to function normally. If you suddenly stop taking Ativan or significantly reduce your dose, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. It is crucial to note that Ativan withdrawal can be dangerous, and it is not safe to stop taking the medication without medical supervision.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary in severity and duration depending on factors such as the dosage, duration of use, and individual differences. Common symptoms of Ativan withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Racing pulse
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Aches and pains
  • Panic attacks
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli
  • Depression
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Visual disturbances
  • Auditory, tactile, or visual hallucinations
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Delirium
  • Grand mal seizures

It is important to remember that everyone's experience with Ativan withdrawal may be different. Some individuals may have mild symptoms, while others may experience more severe effects. The duration of withdrawal symptoms can range from a few weeks to several months. Seeking medical guidance and support during this process is crucial to ensure your safety and well-being.

The Importance of Tapering When Stopping Ativan

Tapering off Ativan is the safest and most effective approach to discontinuing the medication. Quitting "cold turkey" can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and potential complications. Tapering involves gradually reducing your dose of Ativan over time, allowing your body to adjust and minimize the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

It is essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized tapering schedule that suits your specific needs. Your doctor may switch you to a longer-acting benzodiazepine, such as diazepam, to facilitate the tapering process and ensure a smoother transition. This substitution helps stabilize your system and reduces the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms.

The tapering schedule will vary depending on various factors, including your current dosage, duration of use, and individual response. Typically, your doctor will gradually decrease your dose by approximately 10-20% each week. This gradual reduction allows your body to adapt to the changes and minimizes the likelihood of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.

Coping Strategies for Ativan Withdrawal

Ativan withdrawal can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. However, there are several coping strategies that can help you manage the symptoms and navigate through this process.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It can be beneficial for individuals experiencing anxiety or other psychological symptoms during Ativan withdrawal. Working with a licensed therapist trained in CBT techniques can help you develop coping mechanisms and strategies to navigate through the challenges of withdrawal.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation during Ativan withdrawal. Engaging in mindfulness exercises, such as deep breathing, body scans, and guided meditation, can help alleviate stress and promote a sense of calmness. There are various mindfulness and meditation apps available that provide guided sessions to support your journey.

Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular physical exercise can have numerous benefits during Ativan withdrawal. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters, and can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Incorporating activities such as walking, jogging, yoga, or swimming into your routine can support your overall well-being as you navigate through the withdrawal process.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on your withdrawal experience. Prioritize adequate sleep, a nutritious diet, and regular hydration. Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants can also help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep quality.

Seeking Professional Support

While tapering off Ativan and implementing coping strategies can be helpful, it is essential to seek professional support throughout the withdrawal process. Consulting with your primary care doctor, psychiatrist, or addiction specialist will ensure that you receive appropriate guidance on how to stop taking Ativan.

Your healthcare provider can closely monitor your progress, adjust your tapering schedule if necessary, and provide additional support if you experience severe withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, inpatient treatment may be recommended, especially if you have a history of complicated withdrawal, seizures, or severe mental illness. Inpatient facilities provide a structured environment where you can receive around-the-clock care and support during the withdrawal process.

Long-Term Treatment Options

For individuals who have been misusing Ativan or who struggle with anxiety or insomnia, long-term treatment options may be necessary. Tapering off Ativan alone may not address the underlying reasons for its use or provide long-term solutions. Combining tapering with psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can help you develop healthier coping mechanisms and address any underlying psychological factors contributing to your medication use.

Additionally, exploring alternative treatment modalities, such as holistic therapies (e.g., acupuncture, massage, or yoga), can complement your recovery journey. It is crucial to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

Resources and Support

If you are considering stopping Ativan or reducing your Ativan dose, it is essential to reach out to your prescribing doctor or healthcare professional. They can provide guidance, monitor your progress, and ensure that you have the necessary support throughout the withdrawal process.

Consider also looking into an addiction recovery program like Relay. If you want to design your own recovery experience while getting support from other users and tutoring from behavioral psychologists, Relay might be right for you! The recovery curriculum in the app has been designed by a behavioral psychologist so you’ll get recovery advice from a professional. Learn more about Relay here.

Remember, the journey to knowing how to stop taking Ativan may be challenging, but with proper guidance, support, and a comprehensive treatment plan, you can achieve a healthier, medication-free life. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication regimen.


Alcohol and Drug Foundation - Withdrawal

Healthline - Drug Dependence: Symptoms, Treatment, and Outlook

American Addiction Centers - Ativan Addiction Signs, Symptoms

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