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Potential Risks of Mixing Ativan with Alcohol

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Graphics show the dangers of taking Ativan with alcohol

When your doctor prescribes you to use Ativan to manage anxiety symptoms, you may think it is safe to take with alcohol. However, that is not the case.

Alcohol is a sedative drug that slows down your brain function, and you feel relaxed. Ativan also affects your brain, and mixing it with alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning.

If you are worried about yourself or your loved one dealing with alcohol addiction, you can get help today. At The Haven Detox-New England, we can assist you with alcohol detox and treatment so you can start an alcohol-free life. 

Click here to learn more about alcohol addiction treatment. 

Key Takeaways

Ativan is a CNS depressant, and its combination with a sedative drug like alcohol can have serious side effects. It is essential to learn about drugs interactions and their impact on your health:

  • Ativan is used to treat various mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Ativan can have severe side effects if you misuse it.
  • Combining alcohol with Ativan can affect your vital organs, such as the liver and brain.
  • This dangerous interaction can cause difficulty in breathing and drowsiness.

If you or a family member is dealing with alcohol addiction and wants to achieve sobriety, then The Haven Detox can help you. 

Get in touch with our medical staff today by calling us at (844) 933-4145.

How to Use Ativan (Lorazepam)

Ativan is a prescribed sedative anxiolytic medication. Lorazepam (Ativan) has similar effects to other drugs that belong in its drug class, known as benzodiazepine. 

This drug treats the symptoms of anxiety disorders, panic disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and various other mental disorders.

You cannot purchase this drug online in the United States since this FDA-approved medication requires a doctor’s prescription.

Ativan is taken orally. Its dose varies depending on age and mental condition. If you want to stop taking it, seek your doctor’s help to reduce the amount slowly, so you do not experience withdrawal symptoms.

Follow the healthcare professionals’ instructions and inform them if you have:

  • Kidney problems
  • Liver disease
  • History of seizures
  • History of allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in benzodiazepine medications
  • Alcohol addiction

Side Effects of Ativan

This anti-anxiety medication, like any other drug, has common side effects, and it is vital to learn about it. 

Common Ativan side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness

Ativan can slow your breathing, but get immediate medical help if it worsens. 

Severe side effects that you should not ignore include:

  • Severe dizziness
  • Mood swings, such as feeling agitated for a moment and then getting excited the next moment
  • Hallucinations
  • Symptoms of jaundice such as pale eyes or skin
  • Sleep problems
  • Confusion

Ativan increases the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which makes you feel sleepy and relaxed. However, taking more than its prescribed dose or combining it with other drugs can cause addiction and tolerance.

Dangers of Combining Ativan and Alcohol

Ativan is a Schedule IV controlled drug because its user is at high risk of abusing it. Long-term use of this medication can also cause physical dependence on it.

According to the National Institute of Health, around 2.1 percent of adults misuse benzodiazepine drugs at least once in their lifetime.

Combining this sedative substance with alcohol will amplify each other’s side effects. If you drink alcohol right before or after taking this drug, you may experience a blackout.

Ativan and alcohol cause soothing effects by acting on the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA, along with serotonin, improves mood and alleviates pain.

Both of these drugs impact its function and reduce its level in your brain. Due to its reduction, neurons firing rate increases which is dangerous for individuals with seizure disorders as it can cause seizures.

Combining these drugs can cause you to experience panic attacks if you have anxiety or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Ativan and alcohol can disrupt your circadian sleep cycle, and patients with insomnia may struggle to sleep.

Simultaneous alcohol and Ativan use can damage your vital organs, such as the liver, brain, heart, kidney, and pancreas. If you or your loved one abuses alcohol and Ativan, it can lead to a condition known as polysubstance dependence, which is a type of substance use disorder.

Effects of Consuming Ativan With Alcohol

The impact of these dangerous drug interactions depends on your mental state, physical health, age, tolerance level, and genes. 

Since they both act on your central nervous system and inhibit its working, their combination can cause breathing issues, coma, and in severe cases, death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2010, 27.2 percent of individuals were in emergency rooms after misusing benzodiazepine with alcohol. Moreover, 21.4 percent of people lost their lives who consumed alcohol while taking benzodiazepine medication.

Many alcohol and drug rehab centers use Ativan for alcohol withdrawal. Patients use this drug under medical supervision, and it helps manage withdrawal symptoms. However, if an individual drinks alcoholic beverages like beer, they are at risk of overdose.

Some of the physical side effects of mixing Ativan with alcohol include the following:

  • Drowsiness and dizziness due to lack of oxygen in the brain
  • Shallow or irregular breathing
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Temporary memory loss
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blackout
  • Risk of overdose
  • Strange behavior

You cannot treat such conditions at home. In case of overdose, immediately seek medical attention. In an overdose, an individual may experience respiratory depression as both drugs cause shallow breathing.

Avoid driving a vehicle while impaired due to increased intoxication because both drugs enhance each other’s effect. You will likely experience mental illness such as mood disorder, depression, or anxiety because your brain’s activity and chemical balance is affected.

When you drink alcohol after taking Ativan to exaggerate its sedative and soothing effects, you are at risk of developing substance addiction. Long-term drug abuse can damage your digestive organs like the liver and stomach.

Ativan alone does not lead to liver damage, but excessive amounts of alcohol are likely to cause it because it affects liver enzymes and damages the liver cells.

If you try to quit alcohol and anti-anxiety medication, you will likely relapse due to withdrawal symptoms. It is necessary to get help from a healthcare provider since they can inform you about treatment options to overcome addiction.

Some of the Ativan and alcohol withdrawal symptoms that you may experience include the following:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Delirium tremens
  • Chronic drowsiness
  • Extremely low blood pressure

Trying to detox can be risky and is not advised without proper monitoring. The safest and most efficient technique to treat alcoholism and withdrawal symptoms is a medical detox. 

Medical detox at the residential facility is a suitable option if you are suffering from severe addiction.

At The Haven Detox-New England, we offer residential services that are secure and cozy. Our medical experts provide 24/7 monitoring and use various techniques to lower the relapse risk and help them manage withdrawal symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long after Ativan can you drink alcohol?

Ativan is a short-acting benzodiazepine that acts on your central nervous system. It is not suitable to drink alcohol after taking a lorazepam dose. Even a standard drink of alcohol with Ativan can cause various side effects.Like other medications, this drug also has a half-life, which is used to determine the time it takes to leave your system. This drug has a half-life of 12 hours. 
That means you must wait 60 hours after the last Ativan dose before drinking. Avoid alcohol consumption during those hours to avoid drug interactions.

How many drinks can you have with Ativan?

It’s preferable to avoid alcohol entirely. One or two drinks may not be a big concern for you, depending on your level of alcohol tolerance. However, you might not anticipate how your body could react to this combination if you also take benzodiazepines such as Ativan.Healthcare professionals advise against drinking alcohol while taking benzodiazepines due to the increased adverse effects of the combination.
Your risk of experiencing significant side effects and adverse effects is reduced if you abstain from alcohol entirely while taking these medications.

Can you have one drink after taking Ativan?

Lorazepam or Ativan alleviates the symptoms of anxiety as well as alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol and this anti-anxiety medication can lower blood pressure and affect brain function. Combining these medications can intensify each other’s side effects.Even one drink of alcohol after taking Ativan is not good for your health. Consuming alcohol will impact the effectiveness of a prescription drug that can worsen your anxiety.
Some common side effects of this interaction are blackouts, nausea, lack of concentration, and low heart rate.

Treat Anxiety and Alcoholism at The Haven Detox-New England

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that changes your overall behavior and causes difficulty in making important life decisions. It also leads you to isolate yourself from loved ones.

Long-term alcohol use can lead to mental health disorders. It is time to overcome substance addiction and improve the quality of your life.

At The Haven Detox, we understand your situation. We are here to offer dual-diagnosis treatment for those who struggle with addiction and mental illnesses such as PTSD, anxiety, or eating disorders.

We provide behavioral therapies and a detox program to help clients experience a safe recovery. You are not alone in this battle against addiction. 

Call us today at (844) 933-4145 and receive treatment to overcome addiction.