The Ativan Withdrawal Timeline Chart

Rebound anxiety, sleep disorders, and mood swings are only few symptom that occur when you are withdrawing from Ativan. What are the other Ativan withdraw symptoms? Explore our complete VISUAL GUIDE here:

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Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS


ARTICLE SUMMARY: Never attempt to withdraw Ativan on your own. It can be dangeous and lead to multiple complications. Continue reading for more on how to safely manage coming off this strong benzodiazepine.

The Ativan Withdrawal Timeline Chart

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Overall Duration

It can take weeks to months to completely withdraw from Ativan. This is because with repeated daily dosing, accumulation occurs and high concentrations can build up in the body (mainly in fatty tissues). The symptoms of Ativan withdrawal may appear as soon as 4 to 8 hours after the last dose, and withdrawal symptoms usually manifest within 48 hours. However, some signs of withdrawal may not manifest for up to 7 to 10 days after stopping chronic use.

On the other hand, physical dependence develops relatively quickly. This is because Ativan is a benzodiazepine, a strong central nervous system depressant. It affects the brain.In fact, anyone who has taken a benzodiazepine like Ativan for longer than 3–4 weeks is likely to have withdrawal symptoms if the drug is ceased abruptly. These symptoms require time in order to resolve.

NOTE HERE: It is important that you seek medical supervision when you are ready to stop taking Ativan. Symptoms can be serious and include seizures. Mild withdrawal symptoms include a depressed mood and trouble sleeping. However, these symptoms can persist for weeks or months. 

What’s Withdrawal Like?

What can you expect during Ativan withdrawal?

Whether you’re taking Ativan prescribed by a physician or bought on the black market, know that anyone who is physically dependent on Ativan is at risk for an acute withdrawal syndrome that is clinically indistinguishable from alcohol withdrawal. Risk factors for severe withdrawal include:

  • comorbid medical or psychiatric problems
  • longer time of use
  • older age
  • taking larger doses of Ativan chronically

Further, this type of benzodiazepine withdrawal is characterized by many signs that are opposite to the therapeutic effects of the drug. So, you can expect rebound anxiety or insomnia. In more severe cases, some people may experience seizures. We explain a week-by-week picture of the details in the following schedule.

The Safest Way to Withdraw 

The safest way to manage withdrawal from Ativan is under medical supervision where you can get all support you need. Because lorazepam has a medium-term onset of action, sometimes doctors will transfer you to longer-acting drugs such as diazepam or nitrazepam. The Australian Prescriber, an Australian medical journal, outlined these possible dosing substitutions in 2015. For others, the transfer may be problematic and the drug may have to be substituted in a stepwise manner. This is why medical help is essential.

Still other medical authorities have outlined protocol for Ativan withdrawal and been practicing it from the 1980’s. The Ashton Manual is considered the current authority on the correct protocol for tapering off a medication like Ativan. In fact, withdrawal syndrome from benzos is treated by tapering the sedative and may require hospitalization. Long-term treatment of sedative addiction requires counseling, often with the help of an addiction-treatment professional.

24-72 hours after the last dose

The initial indication of withdrawal from Ativan is an elevation of vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. Tremors develop next, first a fine tremor of the hands and fasciculation of the tongue, sometimes followed by gross tremors of the extremities. Disorientation and mild hallucinations (often auditory, occasionally visual) may develop as the syndrome progresses, accompanied by sweating. Seizures can also occur during this time.

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sleep disorder
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

4-7 Days after last dose

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia, anxiety and nausea are at their peak
  • Risk of seizures
  • Vomiting

2 Weeks After Last Dose

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • General malaise
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Vomiting

3 Weeks After Last Dose

  • Cravings stabilization
  • Feeling better
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings

NOTE HERE: PAWS, post acute withdrawal symptoms, such as drug craving, depression, or irritability may appear at any time during the withdrawal times for Ativan.

Factors that Influence Duration

Know that the length of Ativan withdrawal is different from each individual; in face, the length of time you spend in withdrawal depends on various factors such as:

  • individual’s general health
  • individual’s metabolism and system
  • Ativan dosage
  • frequency of Ativan use

Long-term Ativan users may experience protracted acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) which may last for a longer period of time. Some symptoms of Ativan PAWS include:

  • Depression
  • General malaise
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings

A Realistic Timeline

Withdrawal from Ativan may last from several days to few weeks, and even months after the last drug intake. The first Ativan withdrawal symptoms happen when the last dose of Ativan fades away, and usually peak between 48 – 72 hours after the dose. Still, there are some withdrawal protocols that can help affect the severity or intensity of symptoms.

We Welcome Your Questions

Are you or a loved one facing Ativan withdrawal?  If you have ny questions, feel free to write to us in the comments section at the end. We love to hear from our readers! And we will try to respond promptly and personally to all real life inquiries.

Reference sources: Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence
Aust Prescr. 2015 Oct; 38(5): 152–155.
Published online 2015 Oct 1. doi: 10.18773/austprescr.2015.055
Medline plus: When you feel like changing your medicine
NCBI: Using medication: What can help when trying to stop taking sleeping pills and sedatives?
NCBI: A physician’s guide to discontinuing benzodiazepine therapy
NCBI: The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

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


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  1. I was prescribed this by my neurologist for my postictal seizure symptoms. Like so many of you nobody warned me of the dangers of using it. I started taking 1mg for sleeping. Been taking probably 5+ years. I dont get craving to take more and dont feel anything anymore after taking them at night. when i am recovering from a bad seizure i will take 2 a day 1 in the morning, 1 at night which is where this problem started. Back in Jan i had a bad seizure and was taking 2 a day for weeks while recovering. I had no problems going back to 1mg a night but it left my prescription short? I was concerned something like this would happen and tapered down to 3/4 mg for 3 weeks and was doing fine. Then went to 1/2 and was doing fine for a few days. I had an abscessed tooth i had to have pulled, the dentist put me on narco and antibiotics. I took that night on an empty stomach and spent all night and the next morning throwing up. Then i had 3 seizures and fractured 2 vertebrea and ended up in the hospital where they put me back on 1mg ativan. When i got out a few days later i had to find a ride to the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions from the hospital and (i thought) my ativan. They refused saying they will not fill it for 4m days. I called my doctor and he was already closed. I went by the next morning and he is closed on fridays so i have no choice to go cold turkey until monday. These last 2 days have certainly been an eye opener. I had an idea this crap was effecting me somewhat but i thought 1mg not that much, i dont pop it to get high or even get any feeling from it like relaxed anymore. I dont get cravings to take even more,i take one 30 min before bed. The last 2 days ive started feeling nervous, tingly, anxious, confused, getting some crazy thoughts in my head about just ending this… . and 2m days to go. Being in excruciating pain from my fractured vertebrae and hardly being able to move I’m sure isnt helping. I still have my narcotic pain meds but i have not taken any. I am going to take them to the pharmacy to be disposed of so they dont end up in the wrong hands. If i sound abit odd its because i am feeling odd. I will definitely finish my tapering off this crap after monday. I had no idea how much this was effecting me. I was doing well when i was tapering off before so.

  2. Hello, when my mum tragically died and my partner left my toddler and I 3.5 years ago, a doctor prescribed me 1mg of Lorazepam as and when needed to sleep, I have never been warned of the dangers of this drug, and many different doctors have continued to give it to me like it’s aspirin. 3.5 years later and the penny has just dropped!! For ages I’ve been saying i only feel good the day after a pill, and days after not taking it I feel awful and struggle to function.

    It’s hard to say how often I’ve taken it- on average 1mg 2-3 times per week, at least 1mg in 10 days and at the most occasionally 1mg on four consecutive days. 7 days ago I had a lightbulb moment and haven’t taken any since. Days 2- 5 after my last dose wore off were awful- brain zaps, dizziness, nausea and felt like I’m not really there, headache and exhausted. Yesterday and today I feel much better. Am I out of the woods and can continue cold turkey? When I research withdrawl I only come up with people who use it regularly every day, not intermittent users like me. Thanks

    1. Dear Emma, it’s best that you consult with your prescription doctor about this issue. Moreover, if you continue to feel bad and have cravings, maybe you should consider treatment options. Call us on the number you see on the website to see how rehab can help you address all underline issues that lead to dependence.

  3. I took ativan for 25 days at 2 mg daily while on vacation. Quit cold turkey and went through a terrible withdrawl with all the symptoms. I was in the Hospital for five days,now at home with mild anxiety though very bad insomnia,only sleeping 2-3 hrs.( sometimes less). Have been given Trazadone to help with sleep though not working well. My exercise tolerance is not what it was before either. Before I could exercse walk or ride my bike unlimited really,now tired after walking half an hour. I am 59 yrs. old Male. Will This insomnia end and will I return to my previous baseline? I am now day 22 post ativan withdral start.

    1. Hi Rick S. Rebound insomnia and protracted withdrawal symptoms are common when you quit cold turkey. The insomnia should eventually end, it just takes time. Always consult with your prescribing doctor, for whatever problems you have. You can also try some alternative medicine like acupuncture, guided imagery, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage, and many others. Also you can try some herbal supplement.

  4. I was taking 2mg a day for a very long time. I’ve been on benzodiazepines since 2015. I decided to taper off and haven’t taken any for 6 weeks now. I recommend anyone who wants to quit to slowly taper off. I tried on my own many times before this and was unsuccessful. I noticed in the long run benzodiazepines give you more anxiety and memory loss in the long run than what you had before you first took it. I still am having sleeping problems 6 weeks later! I also have noticed this entire time I’ve been off I keep getting hit with repressed memories every time I try to sleep. It’s definitely not easy quitting but I’m going to continue down the road without it

  5. I’ve been taking 1-2mg for 2 months about every 2-3 days. I tried getting off of it, but I only managed 6 days. On the 5th night I was getting vibrations or pins and needles throughout my body. On the 6th night I woke up with this overwhelming electrify sensation throughout my body, my legs were twitching and I felt zaps everytime it would twitch. I was losing my mind and couldn’t control this sensation so I ended up taking 1mg of Lorazepam. Would these be withdrawals so late or just my anxiety?

  6. My doctor told me on Monday that he was taking me off lorazepam 2mg three times a day along with 7.5 Norco because of new legislation. I have been taking both since 2008. I lost a daughter and than my husband and best friend last year. I have degentive disc disease and have had. Neck, back and shoulder surgery. I am so scared of trying to get off these drugs at the same time. I am 63 years old and ready to throw in the towel. My physician recommendation was to see a pain management doctor and psychiatrist to help with the activan. PLEASE help me. He only filled my African for 20 days. Cutting to one tablet for one day for seven days, than 1/2 for seven days than 1/4 of the tablet until finished. Remember I hAve been on 3mg per day since 2008. The Norco keeps my joint and bone pain at tolerable levels. Please help me!!

    1. Hi Judy. I suggest that you consider your doctor recommendation about seeing a pain management doctor, because it could be really helpful. If you think your tapering schedule doesn’t fit you ask your doctor for a slower tapering schedule.

  7. Today has been one year to the date that I am completely off of lorazepam! After 3 months of slowly weaning off in the latter part of 2017 and the first couple weeks of 2018 I took the big jump. It was a difficult journey, especially for the first few months. It is different for everyone depending on how long you had been taking the drug and what dosage you were taking, however I believe that done the proper way anyone can do it. The biggest advice that I can give to someone to help them on this journey is; 1) wean off with a medical professional and book visits with them every 2 to 3 weeks (I had tried so many times for many years to do this on my own and it never worked), 2) love yourself enough to be as patient with yourself as you would with your child/sibling/parent, and realize this is a process that takes time, 3) do not make any long term plans or commitments while you are going through this process and only focus in on yourself and the end goal, 4) learn to meditate / breathing exercises / yoga as I found all 3 of these practices helped me tremendously, 5) believe in yourself and don’t give up because you can do it. The reward in the end will make it so worth while and you will totally feel so much better mentally and physically. It feels so good to be free of this drug and to have battled its’ awful hold on me and I won!!!

  8. I definitely got off of Ativan the wrong way even with so called professsional help after 25- 30 years of usage for nighttime fears….. Only in a few days was I weaned off of it…. Only took about 1- 2 mg over the years at night. Terrible chronic insomnia for 4 months and about ready to go crazy ! Any hope for an end in sight? Losing my mind so I will be so thankful for any and all suggestions‼️

  9. It will not be permanent … I too experienced blurred vision and vertigo so bad that I did not drive for over 2 months! Be gentle and patient with yourself and tell yourself that this too shall pass. So happy you are working with your physician as it’s very important to your success in this process. It’s normal to be scared going through this as it is pretty scary. Be strong but loving with yourself. Very proud of you and I can tell that you are going to do this.

  10. I had been taking ativan for over 30 years and finally have stopped using it a quarter at a time. It was very difficult and very hard on me. I am now 80 years old and stopped about 6 months ago. I was taking it for stress, anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. I had to stop because the laws in our state required no Dr. could prescribe it anymore. It has just about killed me. I now suffer a lot worse than I did before. My main problem is extreme lower leg pain. I can’t sleep night because of the pain. Is it possible that this horrible pain is due to taking this drug for 30 years, 2 mgs per day – prescribed by a psychiatrist? I have tried several dr. to find out what is caausing such pain. They have ruled out all pphysical problems or structural reasons. I am a very active 80 year old. I go to the gym 3 times a week for 1 hour each and walk. I really believe it is ativan withdrawal after taking it for 30 years. I thought maybe you people would have more experiance with this. I desperately need help.

  11. Linda. Thank you so much for responding. It feels so good to hear from someone who has been through this. I went to my doctor on Monday and she told me to reinstate the Ativan .5 twice a day for 30 days to stop the horrible withdrawal symptoms. She said that in 30 days, we’ll come up with a slow taper plan. I’m scared though because I’m still having blurred vision/vision problems. It’s making me very scared that it’s going to be permanent.

  12. KC … you can do it. I had tried before many times and also done it way too quickly. Your body needs time to adjust slowly. I started beginning of November and slowly weaned off. It was not until the middle of January that I went to 0. And then the work began because even though you wean off you will have to be strong and always tell yourself “that this too shall pass” and love yourself enough to have lots of patience with yourself. The best advice my doctor gave me when I went to 0 was “not to make any plans for a couple of months.” I’ve stopped counting the days, weeks and months as I now am well over a year … and you will too.

  13. Linda. I read your posts and feel there is hope now. I’ve been on 1mg at bedtime for about 5 years. I reduced my dosage to .5 mg for about a month and then stopped all together for two weeks until the blurred vision, anxiety and heart palpitations became so bad I couldn’t function. I’ m back on .5mg but I am determined to wean myself off like you did. I just didn’t allow myself enough time before I went to 0. Thank you for your posts! I feel like it’s possible now. You started your journey in November of last year. I’m starting mine this November.

    1. Hi KC!what do you think the best taper timeline is from 1mg to 0 please? My issue is that I’ve never taken it everyday therefore I’m confused about how to taper when it’s been such an irregular and intermittent thing for me. I’d appreciate some time tips.

  14. Hannah V. I would stay on the .25 for at least 3 to 4 weeks. Ask your physician. I visited my physician every 2 weeks until I had been completely weaned off for a couple of months because the side effects do last a while even after you are completely weaned off. Your physician can be a great support through this process.

  15. Hello Nina. Both dependence and tolerance are expected outcomes of regular use of Ativan over a period of weeks or months. You can find more information about this in an article that we write here:

    Additionally, the FDA label for Ativan states: ” In general, benzodiazepines should be prescribed for short periods only (e.g., 2 to 4 weeks).” We think that this is because dependence can develop quickly for medications like Ativan. You can read more here:

    Please let us know if this helps!

  16. I took 1.5 mg ativan at night for 2 months, 1 for 1 month, .5 for 2 weeks, and now am on day 2 of .25. When cant I stop fully?

  17. I have been taking Ativan..05 since I lost my oldest son Dec. 21, 2011. I only take it at 10:00 p.m. to sleep without my mind racing and my GI doctor recommended it for spasms I was having with my reflux. I really want to stop taking them and I am so afraid after reading all of the withdrawal information. I can not afford to become unable to function and do my very responsible job and experience these symptoms. My family doctor suggested cutting down the dose to 1/2 a pill for 2 weeks, then every other day and just wein myself off of them. I would like your input regarding withdrawal symptoms and would the gradual less and less dose work? Thank you! ?

    1. Hi Debbie. Doctors recommend tapering off Ativan. In that way the withdrawal symptoms will be less unpleasant. Also, I suggest that you consider seeking medical help during this process. You can call the helpline displayed on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab for you.

  18. I have a question! I took Ativan for I say a good 2 weeks for anxiety but this last Thursday the 27th I used one for insomnia that was my last one so I am having hard time sleeping is it the Ativan of me stopped taking them or is 2 weeks not really enough time to get dependant of them and the dose was .5 was always taken at bedtime for the anxiety

  19. Hello after a rough year of stressful trials no 18 year old should endure I was told to take lorazepam for insomnia they gave me 1mg per day I believe I took it for a weeks I’m a very small person and other doctors told me it was a lot since I never took medication before and how small I was I began to have extreme anxiety and extreme depression I almost took my own life not to mention the eye problems it’s been a month and things have gotten a lot better but my eyes seem to be the only issue has anyone else had eye issues

  20. I have been on .5 milligrams of ativan once a day for 6 months. Would this cause a terrible withdrawal at this low dose with once daily dosing? Thank you for your help. Scared and don’t know what to do, but I feel like it may be making my dull and foggy now.

  21. As of today I am 211 days Lorazepam free! I’ve posted on here as I went along hoping that it will help other people too. Things are really good. I’ve always been a light sleeper which was why my doctor put me on lorazepam in 2001. Was not told at the time it was physically addictive. By 2007 I figured it out myself when I tried to go off of it cold turkey and ended up in emerge! After that I still tried to go off of it but always failed and ended up going back to my 1mg every single night. Late last Fall I went to see my (new) doctor who started the weaning process with me. In middle January 2018 I was weaned down to nothing. The first few months were very tough but doable. The best advice my doctor gave me was not to make any plans for 2 to 3 months. Even the 4th and 5th month were tough. By the 6th month I really started noticing a difference in how I felt and most of the side effects were gone. Today I feel like a different person. I encourage anyone who is trying to get off such a drug to keep going … it will work. Be patient with yourself and tell close friends and family what you are going through. I did not replace this drug with anything else whilst going through this. And remember that as we age we don’t sleep as much and wake up a bit more in the night … it’s not something you need a drug for … breathe and relax instead of fretting and your brain will train itself to sleep without drugs. The process is difficult but the rewards of how you feel is well worth it.

  22. I am 76 years old and have been on Lorazepam for 31 years. I’ve been up to five .5 mg a day. About six months ago I started tapering off through a medical advisor and I am now down to just one .5mg/day. I know long-term usage is not easy to come down from, I am having night sweats, tremors, and shakiness. How much longer do these symptoms last? It’s really difficult some days to function.

  23. I have been on lorazepam .5mg for a bit over a month due to sudden panic attacks caused by an antidepressant. My Dr said it is a short term medication and that I would be going off it soon. I forgot a dose one night (feel asleep before taking) and had the first panic attack I had had in weeks. Now I am trying to taper, I meet with my Dr next week to discuss as I have already started by taking 3/4 of the .5 mgs I am waking up multiple times a night with anxiety but not panic attacks. I started this while on vacation for a week but I am afraid to go back to work next week as I am afraid I won’t be able to sleep or will have problems with work because of my withdraw. I see that there are replacements but wondering why you would go off one medication onto another then have to withdraw from that one after. I have been reading about some advances in technology for at home usage of non medication products does anyone know if these work.

  24. Hi I’m Kristin I have been taking ativan1mg once a day around 6 in the evening for about 2 and a half or 3 weeks now for anxiety I want to get off because I don’t want to become addicted I am going to try to go back to my vistiril. Should i taper? I have only been taking for 3 weeks will I still have withdrawals?

    1. Hi Kristin. The safest way to quit any benzo no matter the time period you have taken is by slowly reducing the daily dose.

  25. I’ve been taking 2mg of ativan for 9yrs. I cut my pill in half and take 1mg in the am and 1mg in the pm. Today my psychiatrist told me she wants to start weaning me next month. I knew this was coming but it’s still terrifying for me! Not only has it been my security blanket but I’m scared to death of the withdrawals. I have a phobia of dying especially by heart attack so palpitations are a huge fear. Just the thought is causing me extreme anxiety. I feel like this is a life and death experience and no one understands or cares much. If you could please give me advice on how to prepare myself or set myself at ease of appreciate it. I really think I’ll give myself a heart attack before I make it to the end.

  26. I have been taking antidepressants for 27 years and have had little difficulty, taking only two different ones in all that time. I am now 71 years old and my husband died year before last. My antidepressant finally stopped working and I went downhill badly. In the meantime I had been taking Ativan all those years as needed but it was never more than 1.5 mg a day. I had managed to go to .75 mg when I attempted suicide and went into a psychiatric hospital. I was put on 7.5 mg of Buspirone twice a day and Cymbalta 20 mg along with the Ativan. Since leaving the hospital, I was taken off Cymbalta because it made me so sick. Three weeks ago my doctor upped my Buspirone to 30mg a day, put me on Zoloft 25 mg, put me on Klonopin twice a day .5 mg and stopped the Ativan. I am so nauseous, exhausted and sleep most of the day. When might I see a glimmer of feeling better. Am I withdrawing from Ativan or adjusting to Klonopin or both. I feel so bad.

    1. Hi Jackie. It may be both. You’ve experienced many changes in your medications. I suggest that you consult with your doctor about your issues.

  27. Hi Lydia … Today has been 135 days Lorazepam free for me!! I am feeling MUCH better. Am sleeping 6 to 7 hours a night before I wake up and can manage to get back to sleep for another couple of hours after waking up. This is such a great improvement. My vertigo is almost completely gone and when I do “occasionally” get vertigo it is no where as bad as it was and my Doctor tells me that this too shall pass. I wrote again because I do want people to know that this can be done. No easy task but doable and it feels so good not to have the dependency on Lorazepam. If anyone is reading this I hope they have read my 3 previous replies, first one starting in November 2017. Lydia please keep encouraging people as there are so many reasons to get off of benzoids and it does improve your quality of life. And please people do this with a knowledgable doctor who knows this process. It’s very important!

    1. Hi Linda. Congratulation on your 135 Lorazepam-free days! There are more to come! Thank you for sharing your story, and update us, because you inspire others to quit… Keep strong!

  28. I have been on 1mg for 3 weeks for insomnia, though mistakenly played with lowering the dose a few times to see if I could get by with less, not knowing that that can cause kindling. The last few days I took a full dose at night, and by the third day it was noticeably less effective. That’s when I decided I needed to start tapering. The nurse on call at my doctor doesn’t seem to think 3 weeks is long enough to cause withdrawal, but now on the 2nd day of just 0.5mg at night, I have night sweats, a dull headache and some mild anxiety, but otherwise am fine. Since I’ve only been on this for 3 weeks, what is a realistic time frame for getting off of it fully? I don’t want to rush, but I don’t want to prolong it more than I need to. Thanks!

    1. Hi June. Some people may develop dependence only after using Ativan for 2 weeks. You may need a slower tapering schedule. Consult with your doctor to adjust your quitting time.

  29. I am 77 years old and I have been on Ativan for 30 years for anxiety. I only take one each night at bedtime and currently take 0.5 mg. I took 1.0 mg for most of those years. My physician recommends stop taking it. He was going to have me take 0.25 for 2 weeks, then stop taking. I knew that a psychologist years ago had told me it would take me months to wean myself off. So he reluctantly gave me a RX for 4 weeks of 0,25, then stop taking. Do you think this is how I should stop taking.

  30. I only had been taking ..5 mg Lorazepem every third day or so, Now I am trying to get off of it. I reduced to .25 mg/day, but I want to just stop altogether now. Do you think I can do this?

  31. As of today I am 80 days lorazepam free!! I’ve written before in this post and I wanted to share again. It is not easy getting off of any Benzodiazepine as it is more addictive than many other prescriptions drugs. Having said that it is doable if you research and get yourself ready for what you will go through for a few months. When I first began this journey I was frightened as over the years I have tried unsuccessfully to get off of Lorazepam. My doctor prescribed this drug to me in 2001 without any warning of it’s addictiveness. I only took 1mg at night to help me sleep as my mind seems to speed up when I lay down! In 2007 when my doctor retired I went off Lorazepam “cold turkey’ only to end up in a walk-in clinic several days later in bad withdrawals. Since then I had tried unsuccessfully on my own to wean off of it. In October of 2017 my family doctor and I devised a plan to completely wean off with her supervision but no alternative drugs (this doctor is very knowledgable on addictions and you should make sure that your doctor is too as it’s very important to have the assistance from a knowledgable doctor).
    I started by taking 1/4 off my little tablet every 2 to 3 weeks. It sound like very little but it is important to do it slowly and even then you will get withdrawals that are named in the article before the posts. For me it was insomnia in a really bad way … I could fall asleep but after 2 or 3 hours I would wake up and not be able to sleep for the remainder of the night. This is when I used breathing exercises and meditation and did not get up from bed. My main objective was to stay relaxed and to retrain my brain to sleep without the assistance of Lorazepam. This was slow but steady. After a couple of weeks I would start sleeping more hours but never a full night. Usually about 5 to 6 hours which to me was much better than 2 or 3 hours. Every time I cut the medication back by 1/4 tablet I would again go through this for a couple of weeks but it eventually would start to even out and I would sleep longer.
    Another withdrawal that was difficult was the vertigo I got and still sometimes get on a daily basis. Some days it’s quite bad and other days it’s just there. Vertigo though is not pleasant as it makes you quite nauseated and lacking energy. However this too subsides with time but is very difficult to have every single day … if you are ready for it, it does make a difference. To this day I still get vertigo here and there for a couple days at a time.
    Heart palpitations are also worrisome as they leave you breathless at times and they too subside in time. Breathing exercises help a lot. The days that I had my worst hearth palpitations I also felt shaky. Almost like I was having small tremors.
    You will also feel very spaced out as if you are stoned all the time. It’s like smoking a joint without smoking a joint but not quite as pleasant! And some days with that comes a euphoria which was the best withdrawal symptom but it does not last long.
    My ears seemed to vibrate with sound and I did not like to listen to anything loud … and my eye sight was a little off … my eyes seemed to shake at times if that makes any sense.
    Your moods will be up and down every single minute of the day. For this reason if you have a partner in life it is critical to speak with them before heading into this journey as you will need their support and if you don’t have it you likely will not succeed. Even with my husband who is a great person I had to remind him a couple of times that I had to look after me and that I needed his full support. This is not the time to make any major decisions or sometimes even small decisions. Just think of yourself and how to help yourself in what you are experiencing.
    When the day came that I was weaning off to 0 Lorazepam I was scared. But I went ahead. The first couple of days were not that bad. And then came the 3rd and 4th day … Could not sleep more than a couple of hours at night … nausea was always with me … my hands shook constantly … my vertigo was bad … confusion set in … I could not do much, not even simple housework some days. I love to write and sketch but could not during this time. It was a big effort just to get out of bed and drag myself to the couch some days. Headaches set in which I normally do not experience. It felt like I had a very tight elastic wrapped around my head from my neck to my forehead … if I turned my head to quickly I felt like I would vomit … I didn’t want to speak with anyone or have anyone see me this way. Most days I stayed in my pj’s and for about a month I only showered about every 3rd to 4th day as I didn’t care and didn’t have the energy. It lasted quite badly for approximately 6 weeks … this is a time where you may be tempted to go back to the Lorazepam as you know that it will make you feel much better but you also know that you’ve done a lot of hard work just to get to this point … over 3 to 4 months of hard work and I was not going to go backwards.
    Cold sweats are another symptom that can hit you when you least expect it … fast and furious … especially at night but even during the day.
    Determined I carried on and NEVER went backwards.
    So here I am today at 80 days. Yes I do still have some withdrawal symptoms. I still do not sleep through a whole night. Normally I wake up after 5 or 6 hours but now when I am laying in bed using my relaxing techniques I do go back to sleep for another hour or two … I do not have vertigo every single day but I still do get it for a day or two here and there … I still get heart palpitations but they are not as often … and the cold sweats still come every night … just not as many.
    I do believe that in another month or two most of the residual withdrawal symptoms will have left me … Only one thing I know for sure though and that is that I will never go backwards. You too can do it … Prepare yourself first … get help from your doctor or a doctor knowledgeable on addictions and withdrawals … have support at home … don’t make any long term plans for at least 3 to 4 months … practice meditation or yoga … and be kind, gentle and patient with yourself.
    I truly hope that this helps someone either going through this or preparing to go through it. Peace & Love

    1. Hi Linda. Congrats! Keep up with the great work. I hope that your message will inspire and help the others…

  32. Thank you Linda for your latest post! It really helped me to understand what is going on with my mom. I am so happy for you and how well you are doing. All the best to you. Carol

  33. Hello it’s me again and as of today I am 44 days lorazepam free!! I’ve commented before when I was just 8 days weaning off and that was November 26th. It has been a roller coaster ride but I am doing it! 44 days ago (early January) when I totally went off I thought that it would only take 2 or 3 weeks but 6 weeks later I am still having withdrawal symptoms, however they are slowly getting better. I am not waking up at 3 a.m. any longer and instead waking up around 5 a.m. and for the last 2 days have been able to fall back asleep until 7:30 a.m. Vertigo is still a bit of a problem but my Doctor who has been on this journey with me tells me that this should fix itself up and some days it is not as bad as others. My mood swings are also starting to not be as severe unless I have had a sleepless night, which is only about once a week, sometimes twice. My thoughts are also not as fogged up as they were even a week ago. I do still get body sweats quite a few times a day and night. One thing I want to mention because no one goes into this detail but I did not drive for the first month that I was completely weaned off of lorazepam because of the dizziness (vertigo) and lack of concentration and I think it is a good idea to know that when you are going through this as it can be very dangerous driving in this condition. The best advice my Doctor gave me before I totally went off was not to make any plans for at least 3 weeks and to stay close to home. I do agree Lydia that this is different for everyone. I had been on 1 mg of lorazepam at night for 17 years so it has been challenging but it also has been doable going into it with the right information and attitude and lots of patience with yourself. Also I talked to my husband before I ever started in order to make sure he too was on the same page and was cognitive of the process. Thank you for this site as it too has helped me by reading the information and the stories that your readers share. I will post again in a month or so and update my progress.

  34. My mom was on Ativan for at least 20 years .05 mg. She is 89 and has been off of this horrible drug for about a month. How long can withdrawal symptoms last? Thank you!

    1. Hi Carol. The withdrawal is different for each individual. Its length depends from various factors such as person’s health, metabolism, frequency and dosage of use, level of dependence, body weight, etc.

  35. This is day 8 for me having gone from 1 mg of lorazepam for 16 years at bedtime. I’ve been trying to get off this drug by weaning myself off for the last 7 to 8 years and have always failed and gone back to my 1mg dosage after about a week or two. The reason being the withdrawals. This time I’ve gone into it reading and googling so much on the withdrawals that I feel I am ready to face them. I weaned down to 1/2 the dosage but by the 3rd night took 3/4 dosage but went right back to 1/2 dosage on night 4. It’s been difficult although I had a very good day yesterday and did not feel the withdrawals symptoms until well on into the evening. Today I’m quite anxious and I keep telling myself that this needs to be done in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been walking every morning and doing yoga throughout the day and some meditation too. It helps very much. Believe me in 2001 when my doctor put me on lorazepam he did not tell me how physically dependent I would become to it. If he had have I am sure I would have asked for something else that was not as I was going through the roughest part of my life back then. Now my life is so good and yet my body is addicted to this awful drug but I am determined. When my symptoms feel at their worst I take 8 slow, deep breaths and then drink a full glass of water. It helps me a lot so I will keep doing this. If you have any advice to offer me I am very open to it as I would like to be off lorazepam by late February to early March. I have read that once you are down to .05mg which is half the dose of 1mg you can go cold turkey but this scares me. Please tell me your thoughts on this as I was planning that after Christmas I would go down to 1/4 dose for a few weeks and then go off of it completely. Thank You.

  36. I’m so afraid for my son. He is 17 years old and has low functioning autism. His psychiatrist prescribed ativan a year ago and now I’m trying to wean him off of it. He can’t tell me how he feels and he gets aggressive. Ive been giving him benedryl and ibuprofen to help with his aggression and discomfort. I tried to get in touch with a rehab center and was on hold for an hour and a half, left a message but no one called me back. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Suzanne. First, consult with your son’s doctor on quitting Ritalin. Then, call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant.

  37. I had been on some sort of benzo such as xanax, ativan, clonazepam for 17 years. Went to a detox center a month ago. They gave me hydroxyzine and phenobarbitol for 2 days. On the third day I was released. Had an extremely difficult time with my mind and heart racing, tremors, not sleeping, rapid eye movement, oversensitive senses such as hearing, smelling, tasting and touch, fatigue. I literally felt like I was going crazy. Currently in counseling and have recently started the hydroxyzine 25mg 3-4 times a day. It helps slightly with the anxiety but am still experiencing the shakes, trembling or quivering sensation in the body, insomnia, nonfocused mind, lack of energy or motivation, depression and fear to go anywhere. I struggle to make it daily to counseling. It has been a month since I have had any benzo’s. Shouldn’t my symptoms be better?

    1. Hi Michele. The length of benzo withdrawal depends from various factors such as frequency of use, dosage, length of use, general health, metabolism, etc. You may want to take a look into the Ashton Manual:
      It is a manual that can help you with dealing benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawal.

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