IRFANA PARVEEN
By Irfana Parveen

B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)

28 April 2022
Medically reviewed by
Dhanashree Padhye
MA (Psychology)
Ativan and Alcohol
Table of Contents

Because “Prescription Drugs” are prescribed by a doctor, many of us think they are safe. This is not right. Medicines are prescribed for beneficial effects and should be taken with all safety measures. Your doctor wants to know that you know and will obey the rules that go with them. Your pharmacist will review the details again when you pick up the drugs.

One of the most dangerous drugs routinely perceived for depression or anxiety is Ativan (Lorazepam). Even though it is a prescription medication, it can be abused. One of the substances often abused with benzodiazepines such as Ativan is alcohol.

People drink alcohol casually. There is a greater risk of mixing drugs and alcohol in this case. This is majorly unintentional. The person may struggle with substance use disorder, mixing multiple drugs to become more intoxicated.

What Is Ativan (Lorazepam)?

Anxiety is treated using this drug. It has a very calming effect on the brain and nerves; This medication improves the impact of a natural substance in the body. 

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How Should You Take Ativan?

As instructed by your doctor, take this medication by mouth with or without food. The dosage is determined by your medical condition, age, and treatment response. To receive the best benefit from this drug, take it regularly as advised by your doctor. Use it at the same time every day to help you remember.

Orally, Ativan is delivered. The dose, administration frequency, and therapy length should all be tailored to the patient's responsibility for the best outcomes. Tablets in the dosages of 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg are available to help with this.

The typical daily dosage range is 2 to 6 mg in divided doses, with the highest amount taken before night. However, the daily dosage can range from 1 to 10 mg. Most people with Anxiety require an initial dose of 2 to 3 mg/day, administered twice daily.

A single daily dose of 2 to 4 mg, generally around bedtime, may be used for insomnia caused by Anxiety or transitory situational stress.

A starting dosage of 1 to 2 mg/day in divided doses is indicated for elderly or disabled patients, modified as needed and tolerated. When taking Ativan, the dosage should be gradually increased.

Ativan Side Effects:

  • Extreme sleepiness,
  • Confusion,
  • aggression,
  • Hallucinations,
  • a worsening of sleep issues,
  • a quick sensation of restlessness or enthusiasm,

These are some of the common symptoms

The following are the most common Ativan adverse effects:

  • Dizziness,
  • Drowsiness,
  • weakness,
  • slurred speech,
  • loss of balance or coordination,
  • memory issues,
  • a shaky feeling

Ativan And Alcohol Together

Ativan is a Schedule IV controlled substance that can lead to addiction and misuse. While benzodiazepines like Ativan can be abused independently, they are frequently combined with other drugs like opioids and alcohol.

According to studies, 3% to 41% of alcoholics use benzodiazepines to enhance the effects of alcohol or reduce the impact of withdrawal.

Because Ativan and alcohol have comparable effects on the brain and body, consuming both simultaneously can intensify those effects, sometimes fatally. They lower your heart rate and respiration. The combined impact of the two can be more substantial than if they were ingested separately. The combination can result in severe sleepiness, breathing issues, coma, and death.

When you drink alcohol, it passes through your digestive tract and into your bloodstream, where it travels throughout your body, including to your brain.

How Does It Affect The Brain?

When alcohol enters the brain, it affects several neurotransmitters, including inhibitory (GABA) and excitatory neurotransmitters. It binds to receptors and increases GABA activity while decreasing glutamate's action on receptors. In summary, it boosts inhibitory neurotransmitter activity while lowering excitatory neurotransmitter activity.

Increased dopamine activity in the brain is also linked to alcohol consumption. This surge in dopamine is followed by feelings of pleasure and reward, which can encourage people to drink more.

Who Should Take Ativan?

Ativan is used to treat Anxiety disorders or to relieve the symptoms of Anxiety or Anxiety associated with depressive symptoms in the short term. Anxiety or tension caused by everyday stress does typically not necessitate the use of anti-anxiety medication.

Who Should Not Take Ativan?

This medication should not be used if you have the following conditions. It is advised to consult your doctor immediately if you face any of these symptoms:

  • Suicidal thoughts due to a low level of albumin proteins in the blood
  • drug abuse and drunkenness with alcohol
  • liver issues asthma
  • serious liver illness
  • Apnea (sleep deprivation)
  • Due to liver illness, pregnancy harmed brain function.
  • Ativan and generic Lorazepam are classified as pregnancy category D drugs, meaning they pose a risk to pregnant women and their unborn children and should be avoided throughout pregnancy.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Do not consider consuming alcohol with this medication, as it can cause physical and mental distress. This medication also causes lightheadedness, and drinking alcohol can worsen its effects and cause extreme dizziness.

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  • Bird, Rebecca D., and Eugene H. Makela. "Alcohol withdrawal: what is the benzodiazepine of choice?." Annals of Pharmacotherapy 28.1 (1994): 67-71. https://doi.org/10.1177/106002809402800114 Obtain On 29/04/2022
  • Myrick, Hugh, et al. "A double‐blind trial of gabapentin versus lorazepam in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 33.9 (2009): 1582-1588. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.00986.x Obtain On 29/04/2022
  • Peppers, Michael P. "Benzodiazepines for alcohol withdrawal in the elderly and in patients with liver disease." Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy 16.1 (1996): 49-58. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1875-9114.1996.tb02915.x Obtain On 29/04/2022
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