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Medically Reviewed

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Strong, LMHC

Written by Tampa Bay Recovery staff
Updated on December 8, 2023


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Anxiety can be a crippling condition that mars every part of a person’s life. As a result, many people turn to using prescription medications to help ease their symptoms. What if the individual ends up experiencing an addiction to the medication they take? For some already taking this medication or contemplating using it, this brings up the question, “Is Ativan addictive?Tampa Bay Recovery Center explores the possibility of Ativan addiction and what to do if a person needs help overcoming it. We offer outpatient programs that easily fit into a person’s schedule so they can get the help they need while not ignoring their personal responsibilities.

What is Ativan?

Ativan is a prescription drug classified as a benzodiazepine, which is used for its sedative effect. Ativan is a brand name for a generic drug called Lorazepam and can only be obtained legally through a prescription from a medical professional. It is commonly prescribed for people who suffer from anxiety disorders and need help to relax and reduce their stress levels. It can also help people who have insomnia related to their anxiety. This medication is taken orally, and its usage should be monitored by a physician.  

Is Ativan Addictive?

To answer the question, “Is Ativan addictive?”, it’s important to consider a few factors. Lorazepam is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule IV drug. This means it has a low potential for abuse compared to other substances, such as opioids and cocaine. Other Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. The use of the phrase “low potential” can be deceiving because Ativan is a benzodiazepine, which is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. This type of medication is one of the three most commonly misused drugs. For this reason, it is reasonable to assume a real risk of developing an addiction to Ativan. 

Ativan causes a sense of relaxation and an often euphoric response, which can become addictive for many people. People who begin using the drug for medical reasons can find they enter a cycle of abuse they cannot control. Alternatively, an addiction can begin for someone who takes Ativan recreationally and loses control. Contributing factors that may influence a person to become reliant on Ativan abuse include a family history of addiction, abuse of another substance (alcohol or drugs), and any dual diagnosis disorders. 

Once a person becomes addicted to Ativan, they will require the intervention of a professional addiction treatment program.


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What are the Signs of Ativan Addiction?

Whether a person has just started taking the drug or has used it for a long period of time, they may wonder, “Is Ativan addictive?” Someone who has developed an Ativan addiction will show signs that they are in trouble. Depending on the length and the severity of the addiction, the signs may vary, but the most common ones include:

  • Increasing the amount taken because of developing a tolerance
  • Doctor shopping – seeking multiple prescriptions from several physician
  • Taking Ativan without having a prescription for it
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug
  • Faking symptoms to get a prescription
  • Ativan usage interferes in the individual’s personal or professional life

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

One way to tell if Ativan is addictive for a particular person is if they have withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it or cut way back on their dosage. Not all withdrawal symptoms are the same; many depend on the severity of the addiction and how high a dosage the person takes. Common withdrawal symptoms for Ativan abuse include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shakiness
  • Headaches
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

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Tampa Bay Recovery Center is a premier leader in the provision of addiction treatment in Tampa. If you or someone you love is in need of professional care to address a substance use disorder, reach out to us right now at (813) 733-8774 to speak with an admissions specialist who can get you started on the road to recovery.

How is Ativan Addiction Treated?

Someone who becomes addicted to Ativan will need to seek a professional rehab that offers structured treatment. For many, outpatient programs provide resources needed to overcome their substance use disorder. Outpatient program options include three levels. The first and most time-intensive ones are Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), which require attendance at therapy for day-long sessions several days per week. 

Just below the PHP level are Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), which usually require attendance for a half day over several days per week. Many facilities offer the convenience of Evening IOP and Virtual IOP

All outpatient programs offer multi-disciplinary types of therapy that help people overcome their substance use disorder. Individual, group, family, and trauma therapy all offer something specific to help people learn to live without abusing drugs. Skilled therapists use their experience to help the individual make a connection between why they feel tempted to abuse Ativan and how to make healthier choices. In addition, FDA-approved medications can be taken to help offset troubling withdrawal symptoms and help becoming sober for life easier to accomplish.

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Begin Treatment for Ativan Addiction Today!

Are you someone who developed anxiety that required taking medication to help minimize the symptoms? Are you taking Ativan and have reason to ask yourself, Is Ativan addictive?” If you need help overcoming addiction while also receiving treatment for anxiety, we can help. Tampa Bay Recovery provides comprehensive care for substance use disorders that accompany mental health disorders like anxiety. Our experienced staff provides multiple therapy modalities that help you recover both your physical and mental health. We respect your unique needs and design a treatment plan that addresses all of them.

If you want to get highly effective treatment for Ativan addiction, visit our admissions page now. Our friendly staff is happy to answer your questions and get you enrolled quickly.

Our Philosophy

We believe that getting help for substance use disorders is about much more than just trying to get through another day of not drinking or using drugs. Our mission is to help people reclaim their lives by teaching them how to effectively deal with the stress, trauma, and anxiety that contribute to their addictions. 

Meet Our Team

Our staff has over 60 years of combined experience in treating behavioral health disorders. Our compassionate and empathetic approach has helped hundreds.