What to Know About Ativan Side Effects

In this article, we will discuss the uses of Ativan, its potential dangers, and an overview of mild to severe Ativan side effects.

What is Ativan?

Ativan is a prescription medication for anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizures. It works by enhancing the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps calm the nervous system. Ativan is primarily prescribed for short-term treatment of anxiety symptoms, such as excessive worry, restlessness, muscle tension, and irritability. It is also used to manage insomnia, especially when it is caused by anxiety.

Ativan can also be used to treat seizures, including those associated with epilepsy and alcohol withdrawal. Although Ativan can be immensely beneficial when prescribed by a medical professional, there are some potential Ativan side effects to consider before use.

Ativan Side Effects

Ativan Side Effects

However, there are some potentially unpleasant Ativan side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, and confusion. If you have been prescribed Ativan, please be aware of such side effects and how they affect your daily living.

It can be habit-forming, especially if taken in higher doses or for longer than prescribed. Therefore, it is important to take Ativan exactly as a healthcare provider prescribes.1

Dangers of Ativan

While Ativan can be an effective treatment as prescribed, it also carries risks that are both short-term and long-term. One of the biggest dangers associated with Ativan use is the potential for addiction. Ativan can be habit-forming, especially if used for an extended period.1

Other dangers include:
  • Ativan can lead to physical dependence and addiction.
  • Long-term use of Ativan can impair cognitive function and increase the risk of developing dementia.
  • Overdose is a significant risk of Ativan use and can be life-threatening.
  • Ativan use can lead to daytime drowsiness and impair driving and other activities that require alertness.
  • Some people may abuse Ativan for non-medical reasons, leading to dangerous behaviors.
  • Elderly individuals or those with liver or kidney problems may be more susceptible to the negative effects of Ativan.

Patients who have been prescribed Ativan should take it as counseled by their healthcare professional and keep it in a safe place away from children and pets.

Comprehensive Overview of Ativan Side Effects

While Ativan can effectively manage certain conditions, it may also produce a range of side effects, some of which may be severe.

Mild to Moderate Ativan Side Effects

The following are some of the most common side effects of Ativan that are generally mild to moderate in severity:
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Change in sexual desires

These side effects are usually short-lived and resolve independently as the body adapts to the medication. However, if they persist or worsen, consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended.2

Severe Ativan Side Effects

While less common, Ativan may also produce severe side effects. Some of the severe side effects include:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Severe dizziness or confusion
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Seizures
  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Allergic reactions, such as rash or hives
If any of these severe side effects occur, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately.2

Short-Term Ativan Side Effects

Short-term side effects of Ativan typically occur within the first few days or weeks of starting the medication. These side effects are usually mild and dissipate as the body adjusts to the medication. Short-term side effects include:
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea

Long-Term Ativan Side Effects

Long-term use of Ativan may lead to more serious side effects, some of which may be irreversible. These side effects may include:
  • Tolerance to the medication, leading to increased dosage requirements
  • Dependence on the medication, leading to withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued
  • Memory impairment
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Mood disturbances
  • Increased risk of falls and accidents

Physical Effects of Ativan Use

Ativan may produce a range of physical side effects, including:
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Decreased coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Reduced heart rate and blood pressure

Psychological Effects of Ativan Use

In addition to physical effects, Ativan may also produce psychological side effects, including:
  • Confusion
  • Memory impairment
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Changes in mood or behavior
Patients should be aware of the potential risks associated with Ativan use and consult a healthcare professional if they experience any concerning side effects.3

How to Know Ativan Use Has Gotten Out of Hand

It is essential to know the warning signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction and abuse to identify when use has gotten out of hand.4

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction and abuse:
  • Over time, the body may become accustomed to the effects of Ativan, and individuals may require higher doses to achieve the desired effects
  • Stopping Ativan suddenly after prolonged use can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, tremors, sweating, and insomnia
  • Abusing Ativan by taking more than the prescribed dosage or using it longer than recommended can lead to addiction
  • Continuing to use Ativan despite experiencing negative consequences such as relationship problems, financial difficulties, or legal issues
  • Abusing Ativan may lead to changes in behavior or mood, including increased anxiety, depression, irritability, and agitation
  • Ativan abusers may become preoccupied with the drug, spend a significant time thinking about it, and prioritize obtaining and using it over other activities
  • Abusing Ativan may lead to neglecting important responsibilities such as work, school, or family obligations
  • Abusing Ativan for non-medical purposes, such as to get high or to enhance the effects of other substances
  • Lying about the use of the medicine or concealing the drug 

When to Seek Help?

If you or someone you know is showing signs of Ativan addiction or abuse, it is essential to seek professional help. A healthcare provider or addiction specialist can provide resources and support for managing Ativan use and overcoming addiction.

Overcoming Ativan Addiction

Overcoming Ativan addiction can be challenging, but with the right treatment and support, it is possible to regain control over your life.
There are several treatment options for Ativan addiction, including:


Detoxification is the first step in treating Ativan addiction. It helps remove Ativan from the body and manage withdrawal symptoms. To ensure safe and successful detoxification, always consult a medical professional before beginning.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation involves staying at a facility dedicated to treating addiction for an extended period, typically 30 to 90 days. It allows individuals to focus solely on their recovery and receive intensive therapy and support.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

Outpatient rehabilitation allows individuals to receive treatment while still living at home. It is suitable for those with less severe addiction and a strong support system at home.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT involves medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. MAT is often used in combination with therapy and other forms of support.

Ativan Side Effects

Essence and Ativan Side Effects

At Essence Healthcare, we understand the challenges that come with addiction and Ativan side effects. We have a team of experienced professionals who can help you overcome it. Our approach to Ativan addiction treatment is personalized, comprehensive, and evidence-based.

At Essence, we also believe in the importance of aftercare planning. We will work with you to develop a plan that includes ongoing support and resources to help you maintain your sobriety and prevent relapse. We will tailor to your needs, whether the plan means we come to you or you come to us.

Contact Us

We aim to help you achieve long-term recovery from Ativan addiction and improve your overall health and wellness. You can live a better life, and we’re here to help.

Please contact us if you or someone you care about needs help with Ativan addiction – our team is here to provide personalized support and guidance.

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.