Author: John Carter

Is it Dangerous to Mix Ativan and Alcohol?

ativan and alcohol

The side effects of Ativan and alcohol are very similar due to their similar mechanism of action on the brain, making their combination dangerous. Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to metabolize Ativan so that Ativan accumulates in the body and circulating levels of the drug increase to well above those present when taking Ativan on its own. When the alcohol intake is more than low-level (a drink or two), this inhibition is total. There is not much evidence that there is a problem with Ativan being cut with other substances by dealers or using counterfeit products in its place. However, some users may cut Ativan on their own with other substances to alter the effects of the drugs. Its metabolites, substances that result from its metabolism or break down, are eventually excreted by the kidneys.

This is especially the case when opioids are used with Ativan and alcohol. Data shows that when benzodiazepines are abused, it is almost always in the setting of polysubstance abuse (using more than one substance), and 24.7% of these people mix alcohol with benzodiazepines. Ativan is sometimes used to boost the pain-relieving effects of methadone.

  1. Continue reading to learn more about the effects of taking Ativan with alcohol and how to avoid the potential consequences of mixing Ativan and alcohol.
  2. Likewise, if someone misuses an Ativan tablet by crushing it up, a larger amount will be absorbed more quickly, posing similar risks.
  3. Taking Ativan with alcohol can increase the risk of severe side effects and long-term health problems.
  4. Although Ativan is sometimes used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, it is not recommended to consume Ativan and alcohol at the same time.
  5. Heavy drinking, binge drinking, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) disrupt and end lives.

Tell your doctor if you have been prescribed any of the above medications or if you take other drugs, including street drugs. This can lead to serious consequences, including slowed heart rate, respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, and even death. Long-term, increasing alcohol’s bioavailability intensifies damage to the stomach, liver, heart, and brain. Ativan is a rapid onset drug and, like other benzodiazepines, designed for short-term use. If taken for longer than two weeks, even a person who is taking this medication as prescribed risks developing a physical dependence on the substance. Psychological, emotional and behavioral effects include damage to your finances, relationships and other areas of your life.

If a person has a prescription for Ativan, it is unlikely they will take it for a long time; benzodiazepines are usually prescribed for two weeks or less of consistent use, or to be used as needed. The only exception, currently, involves seizure disorders like epilepsy. However, for anxiety, insomnia, or even alcohol withdrawal, it is unlikely that a person will take Ativan for longer than two weeks. However, when there is not enough, people can suffer from conditions like anxiety and epilepsy (seizure) disorders. Because of this, benzodiazepines have accepted medical use, and it’s the same reason why alcohol withdrawal can cause seizures and death.

Ativan and Alcohol Effects and Dangers

Getting the right treatment as soon as possible can help prevent life-threatening complications.

Aftercare programs hold you accountable, provide resources to support your mental health and fight urges, and offer a community of people to lean on who know exactly what you’re going through. Alternatively, outpatient rehab provides counseling and therapy for drug abuse on a “part-time” basis. This program allows patients to meet work, family, and school obligations while attending rehab after these commitments or on the weekends. The combined effects of alcohol and Ativan are more powerful than when you consume the substances separately.

This means that damage from alcohol can increase blood levels of lorazepam. Every substance has a half-life, which is the amount of time it takes for the body to eliminate half of the substance. Drugs are completely eliminated in five half-lives, so lorazepam will not be removed until 60 hours after the last dose. Therefore, you should wait at least three days after your last dose of lorazepam to drink alcohol. Getting alcohol addiction help and Ativan addiction treatment is important for successful recovery. Not using these drugs without addressing the underlying causes and effects of the substance use can be difficult, if not impossible.

Preventing Ativan and alcohol abuse

If you or someone you love is struggling with Ativan or alcohol use, help is available at The Recovery Village. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment programs that can work well for your needs. The video below provides an overview of the symptoms that can occur when combining Ativan and alcohol. When you call our team, you will speak to a Recovery Advocate who will answer any questions and perform a pre-assessment to determine your eligibility for treatment. If eligible, we will create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. If The Recovery Village is not the right fit for you or your loved one, we will help refer you to a facility that is.

ativan and alcohol

So, when taking Ativan with alcohol, your body’s oxygen can decrease, which is a primary risk factor for overdose death. Another potential cause of death is inhaling vomit into the airway while unconscious, causing suffocation. No, you should not drink alcohol while taking Ativan or other benzodiazepines. Ativan (lorazepam), a short-acting benzodiazepine, is an anti-anxiety medication that produces heightened effects on the central nervous system when taken with other depressants, including alcohol. Both alcohol and Ativan have significant withdrawal syndromes that are not only difficult to endure but also carry the potential for harm.

Mixing Ativan and Alcohol

Taking Ativan with alcohol can increase the risk of severe side effects and long-term health problems. It was rare for overdoses to be caused solely by benzodiazepines like Ativan. The DAWN report found that opioids or alcohol alongside benzodiazepines increased the risk of more serious outcomes, like longer stays in intensive care, by percent. Even if an overdose doesn’t occur, mixing Ativan and alcohol can cause long-term health issues, including development of a substance use disorder and liver damage, among other conditions. Ativan is only recommended for short-term use for alcohol withdrawal, as prolonged use can lead to dependence and substance use disorder. When discontinuing the drug, healthcare providers may gradually lower the dosage to avoid potential Ativan withdrawal symptoms.

Mixing these types of substances is very dangerous, as the practice can suppress breathing to dangerous levels. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.

Broken relationships and damage to career or school performance are two possible consequences of Ativan use disorder. As a CNS depressant, Ativan works by slowing brain activity, creating a more relaxed environment for those struggling with anxiety. It is also commonly used for epilepsy and seizure disorders due to its depressant properties. Benzodiazepine overdose by itself — when not taken in combination with other substances —  is usually not fatal.

Bottom line: Mixing Ativan and alcohol is not safe

This usually happens when people are using one or both substances for recreational reasons. We need more research on Ativan (lorazepam) specifically, but there is some knowledge about what happens when alcohol is mixed with Xanax (alprazolam). Since it is a similar medication, there are some ways that Ativan may work similarly to Xanax. After all, battling addiction and substance use disorder is a lifelong commitment. If you have taken Ativan in any form and you are wondering about when it is safe to drink, speak to your healthcare provider for direct guidance. Chronic drowsiness is also a side effect, and there is an increased risk of oxygen deprivation from depressed breathing, causing damage to the brain and body.

Effects of Drinking on Ativan

Join 40,000+ People Who Receive Our Newsletter Get valuable resources on addiction, recovery, wellness, and our treatments delivered directly to your inbox. The NIH states that “interactions should be expected from combining alcohol with benzodiazepines” and advises against it. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.