Recovery is possible. We are open 24/7. (866) 242-3814

Medically Reviewed

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

- 7 sections

Medically Verified: June 7, 2024

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Ativan is the brand name for a prescription benzodiazepine called lorazepam. Doctors prescribe it to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety disorders and panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. While Ativan can help manage these conditions short term, it is known to be habit-forming and addictive.

If you are addicted to Ativan, you are at risk of experiencing a life-threatening overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), benzodiazepines like Ativan caused 10,964 deaths in 2022.[1]

Another risk associated with Ativan addiction is experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal. The withdrawal process can be excruciating and even life-threatening without medical treatment. For this reason, you should always seek assistance from a medical detox center.

Ativan withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, insomnia, vomiting, seizures, and more. Typically, withdrawal symptoms begin within 24 hours and can last for up to two weeks. Medically supervised detox programs will offer medications to help you cope with the side effects of withdrawal and keep you stable.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What symptoms are caused by Ativan withdrawal
  • What the Ativan withdrawal timeline is like
  • How medical detox programs like Charlotte Detox Center treat withdrawal symptoms

What are the Symptoms of Ativan (Lorazepam) Withdrawal?

If you stop taking Ativan, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms arise when you remove a substance from your system that your brain and body have become physically dependent on. Ativan withdrawal symptoms can range from mildly uncomfortable to life-threatening.

The symptoms of Ativan withdrawal might include:[2]

  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Irritability and tension
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Heart palpitations and blood pressure issues
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

Taking higher doses of Ativan consistently will cause more severe symptoms of withdrawal. Even if you were taking low doses, you should seek help from a medical detox center. The risk of experiencing a seizure due to not receiving medical care is too great to attempt detoxing at home.

Understanding the Ativan Withdrawal Timeline

Ativan has a long duration of action, so it might take longer for withdrawal symptoms to arise when compared to other benzodiazepines. That said, you should begin experiencing symptoms within 24 hours of your last dose. This means that you should seek medical detox treatment as soon as possible.

While the exact length of time withdrawal lasts can vary from person to person, the general timeline for Ativan withdrawal is:

24 Hours

24 hours after your last dose of Ativan, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Typically, the initial symptoms are mild. You might notice side effects like restlessness, headaches, insomnia, nausea, and cravings for Ativan.

Being under the care of a medical detox program during this stage will help you avoid relapsing due to the cravings you experience.

1 to 4 Days

Sometime between the first and fourth day of withdrawal, your symptoms will peak. They will be at their most severe. If you are going to experience severe symptoms like seizures or psychosis, this is when they will develop.

You might experience vomiting, panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, general feelings of discomfort, and severe cravings for Ativan. Thankfully, medical detox centers can offer medication to make this stage of withdrawal bearable.

1 to 2 Weeks

After about a week, your withdrawal symptoms should begin to subside. However, you might continue to experience protracted withdrawal symptoms or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This condition causes prolonged psychological symptoms of withdrawal like anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, and cravings for Ativan.

By attending a detox treatment center, you can rest assured that your symptoms will be taken care of. Typically, PAWS lasts from two weeks to a couple of months. Relapse is possible without treatment, making it vital that you have access to medications that can help you remain stable.

How Does a Medical Detox Program Treat Ativan Withdrawal?

Medical detox programs offer all of the tools and support you need to overcome withdrawal. First, you will be assessed to determine your personal needs throughout the program. Once a treatment plan is created, you will begin receiving detox services.

Nurses and medical staff members will monitor your vital signs throughout detox. Additionally, doctors will prescribe medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms. It is common for doctors to slowly taper you off of Ativan to reduce the likelihood of severe side effects such as seizures.

Other medications used to treat Ativan withdrawal include:

  • Antidepressants for symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Antihistamines for anxiety and insomnia
  • Pain relievers like ibuprofen to deal with muscle aches and body pains
  • Anxiolytics to control symptoms of anxiety like panic attacks

In addition to medical monitoring and medication, you will have access to mental health treatment. You might engage in behavioral therapies on an individual or group basis, depending on your needs. Once you overcome withdrawal, you will be transferred to an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program that addresses the root causes of your substance use disorder.

Find Help for Ativan Withdrawal

If you or a loved one suffers from Ativan addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. Because Ativan withdrawal can be life-threatening, you should always attend a medical detox center. Charlotte Detox Center is ready to provide you with the care and support you need to overcome Ativan withdrawal.

Contact us today for more information on how our medical detox center can help you begin your recovery journey.


  1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Drug Overdose Death Rates
  2. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH): Lorazepam