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Lorazepam high: Lorazepam – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf

Ativan High | Can You Get High On Ativan?

Ativan (brand name for lorazepam) is an anti-anxiety prescription drug and central nervous system depressant used to treat anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and epilepsy. 

It’s a long-acting benzodiazepine that has a high potency and stays in the system for a long time. Because of its high potency and calming effects, Ativan is likely to get you high when you take a large dose.

How Does Ativan Work?

Because Ativan is classified as a benzodiazepine or benzo, it works by blocking the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter to slow the brain’s mental process. 

With the GABA neurotransmitter blocked, norepinephrine and dopamine slow down the body’s stress reaction which is why it can be such an effective anti-anxiety medication.

Besides anxiety disorders, Ativan is used to treat:

  • panic disorder and panic attacks
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • insomnia
  • seizure disorders
  • muscle spasms

The substance is typically sold as a quick-dissolve tablet, though it is sometimes found in concentrated, colorless liquid as well.  

What Does Ativan Make You Feel Like?

When taken correctly, Ativan can make you feel more relaxed, a bit drowsy, calmer, and less stressed. But when it’s abused, it can bring on an even greater “high” and cause an almost euphoric feeling. 

For euphoria to occur, the dose must be quite high as a normal prescribed dose is unlikely to give you that feeling. 

Because of its addictive qualities and its ability to create a physical dependence in those who use it, the FDA classifies it as a schedule IV drug.

The Risks Of Using Ativan To Get High

One of the biggest risks of an Ativan high is how much you have to take to achieve that high. A normal dose prescribed by a healthcare provider is not likely to get you “high,” but taking a higher dose can. 

Because of the higher than recommended dose needed to achieve this, there is an increased risk of overdose for people who abuse Ativan.

Using Ativan with alcohol or other drugs, like antidepressants and opioids, can also lead to an overdose.

Ativan Abuse & Addiction

Because Ativan is a legal drug and often obtained with a prescription, people may think it can’t be abused or that they aren’t abusing it. 

But anyone who is taking more than the prescribed amount, taking it more often than recommended, or taking it longer than directed is likely abusing the drug. Using it to achieve a high or euphoric feeling is drug abuse.

Side effects of Ativan abuse include:

  • respiratory depression
  • excessive sedation or excessive drowsiness
  • seizures
  • tremors
  • constipation
  • trouble speaking
  • suicidal thoughts
  • increased heart rate
  • memory impairment
  • loss of consciousness

Ativan Overdose

As with abusing any drug, there is a higher risk of overdose, and an overdose of Ativan, especially when mixed with other drugs, can be fatal.  Signs of an Ativan overdose look like: 

  • mental confusion
  • slurred speech
  • lack of energy
  • loss of motor skills
  • muscle weakness
  • low blood pressure
  • slow breathing
  • passing out
  • coma

Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

While an Ativan high can feel good at the time, when the feeling wears off, you may crave more. After a period of abuse, you could develop a physical or psychological dependence, which may lead to withdrawal when you stop use.

Ativan withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • sweating
  • confusion
  • increased blood pressure
  • rapid heart rate
  • nausea/vomiting
  • vomiting
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • panic attacks

Ativan Addiction Treatment

It’s never too late or too early to seek addiction treatment for Ativan abuse. Treatment can range from medical detox to counseling and therapy. Contact our helpline today to find the best option for you or your loved one.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

This page does not provide medical advice.


FDA – Ativan Label
National Center for Biotechnology Information – Lorazepam
National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus – Lorazepam Drug Information

Snorting Ativan (Lorazepam) Side Effects, Warnings & Help

Ativan (known generically as lorazepam) is a medication used to treat anxiety disorders, short-term anxiety symptoms, insomnia, and seizures. 1 It is a benzodiazepine, which means that it belongs to a highly addictive class of drugs that work to slow down the central nervous system (CNS).1 It is intended to be used by prescription only and is often indicated for short-term use only, but many people use and abuse the drug by taking more than the prescribed dose or taking it without a written prescription.

Ativan’s Many Dangers

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ativan is increasingly used in combination with other potentially hazardous drugs, such as opioids.2 Because it depresses the CNS, when it is combined with opioids (which also depress CNS functioning), the results can quickly become lethal.2Combining Ativan with alcohol may also have deadly effects by depressing the respiratory system.2

Ativan is available as a tablet, an injectable, or as an oral solution—all forms can be abused. The tablet form is sometimes crushed and snorted by those attempting to create a more fast, intense effect, while some people choose to inject the liquid form for the same intensified results. When Ativan is snorted, it can be highly addictive and may lead to life-threatening side effects.

A 2010 study found that nearly 30% of deaths caused by pharmaceutical drugs were due to the overuse or overdose of benzodiazepines like Ativan.3 Furthermore, 75% of overdose deaths caused by benzodiazepines are unintentional.3 When Ativan is snorted, for instance, it may be easier to misgauge or underestimate the effects of the drug, prompting higher-than-recommended dosing, which can then lead to lethal consequences.

Learn more about the effects of Ativan use.

Is Snorting Ativan Dangerous?

Ativan is often used as an anti-anxiety medication because of its ability to quell the otherwise heightened CNS activity that is associated with intense worry, agitation, irritability, and psychomotor symptoms, such as shaking. The relaxing effect Ativan has on the CNS significantly improves these symptoms.

Those who take Ativan without any of these symptoms present, or who take it in excess—even with legitimate anxiety issues—may see the drug suppressing their CNS activity to an unnaturally slow state, which can result in serious health problems.

In many instances, people who snort Ativan or otherwise use the drug illicitly are uninformed about other medications that should not be taken at the same time, which further increases the risk of harm. People who concurrently use the following drugs are at increased risk for dangerous complications:1

  • Antidepressant medications and other mental health drugs
  • Clozapine, an antipsychotic
  • Probenecid, a gout and arthritis medication
  • Theophylline or aminophylline, asthma medications
  • Valproate and other seizure medications

People who suffer from acute glaucoma should also avoid taking Ativan in any form.1

When snorted, Ativan reaches peak blood concentrations at a faster rate than when it is consumed orally.4 When a drug is consumed orally, it is processed through the digestive tract, which is a relatively slow process accompanied by many stages of breaking down the drug for absorption. Snorting Ativan is a high-risk behavior that can lead to serious side effects.

Side Effects of Ativan Use

Even when it is taken as prescribed for a legitimate anxiety issue, use of Ativan is still associated with significant side effects. For example, some people who take Ativan experience:2

  • Dry mouth.
  • Nausea.
  • Reduced or increased appetite.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Changes in urinary patterns (increased or decreased frequency).
  • Dizziness.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Tiredness and fatigue.
  • Restlessness.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Sexual dysfunction.

These side effects are often manageable when it is taken as prescribed. However, in some cases, Ativan use can cause more serious side effects, including:2

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Irregular gait or a shuffling walk.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Persistent tremors.

Side effects such as these may indicate that the current dose of Ativan is having too powerful an effect on the patient’s CNS. In such cases, a doctor may reduce the prescribed dose or prescribe a different medication. If any of these symptoms occur, emergency medical assistance must be called immediately.

Can Snorting Ativan Cause an Overdose?

Ativan is a sedative and a benzodiazepine that slows various processes throughout the body. When Ativan is taken in excess, it can lead to an overdose.3 During an Ativan overdose, the body’s respiration slows dramatically, the brain and other vital organs are deprived of oxygen, and the result could be death.3

The first signs that an individual has consumed too much Ativan include impairment in brain functioning, slurred speech, uncontrolled eye movements (nystagmus), a loss of control over their bodily movements (ataxia), and memory impairment.3 If intoxication continues, the individual may progress into full-blown overdose, which causes:3

  • Stupor.
  • Severely depressed or altogether stopped breathing.

A case of Ativan overdose must be treated immediately to prevent brain and nervous system damage. When a person is treated for an overdose, medical personnel first ensure their airway is clear and respiration is normal. If they are unable to breathe on their own, medical personnel will provide assisted respiration or may affix the person to a ventilator. Next, they will be treated for any cardiovascular problems, such as irregular heartbeat.3

With respiration and cardiovascular functioning stabilized, the person will then be treated orally with activated charcoal, which binds to toxic substances and drugs and removes them from bodily tissues. In some cases, people who have overdosed on benzodiazepines are treated with flumazenil, also known as Romazicon, which reverses the sedative effects of benzodiazepines like Ativan. However, flumazenil may not entirely reverse respiratory problems and may cause seizures in some people. It should be used with extreme caution, if at all.3 Those who have overdosed on Ativan will be monitored until their bodily functions return to stable levels.

Individuals who snort Ativan are likely to show signs of damage to the nasal cavities and sinuses. For example, someone who snorts Ativan may sniff excessively, have frequent nosebleeds, lose or have a diminished sense of smell, or have problems swallowing.

Getting Help for Ativan Addiction

When you first decide to get help for Ativan addiction, you will go through detox, which is the initial period when the body adjusts to being without the drug. Throughout the detox period, you may experience the effects of acute benzodiazepine withdrawal, which is characterized by unpleasant symptoms such as heightened anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and irritability or mood swings.2

Because Ativan is a prescription medication and not an illicit drug, some doctors or drug addiction treatment centers will help you taper off the drug gradually to lessen the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Depending on how gradually you are tapered off of Ativan, acute withdrawal symptoms may persist for as long as 3 to 5 weeks.6

In many cases, it is extremely important that those struggling with significant Ativan addictions are medically supervised during and, in some cases after, the acute withdrawal period. In addition to the risk of relatively rare but severe withdrawal complications, such as extreme agitation and seizures, it is during this time that it will be the most challenging to resist relapse, since cravings and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will be at their strongest.

Ativan addiction can be treated in an inpatient (residential) or outpatient setting. Many patients who find that their home environment increases the temptation to use—due to the availability of drugs or memories of past drug use—prefer inpatient settings. Inpatient treatment also may involve relatively more comprehensive care and intensive treatment than some outpatient programs.

Outpatient treatment is often less expensive and allows you the flexibility to maintain your day-to-day responsibilities (such as school, work, and family life) while also getting specialized care. Intensive outpatient programs often require patients to report to treatment for several hours each day, up to 5 days per week. Moderate outpatient programs may require twice weekly attendance for 1 to 2 hours per session.

Though supportive medications may be used to manage some of the symptoms associated with Ativan withdrawal, there are currently no specifically approved pharmacologic interventions to comprehensively treat Ativan addiction; rather, mental health and substance abuse professionals offer specialized treatment modalities that include evidence-based practices.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common and effective form of therapy for substance abuse because it teaches you to identify unhealthy thought patterns that used to result in substance abuse behaviors. By identifying those problematic thought patterns, you can learn new ways of responding to difficult thoughts and emotions. CBT also teaches you useful coping skills for handling stress and maintaining sobriety.

Motivational interviewing is another effective tool used in addiction treatment programs, in which a therapist helps you identify inner motivations for changing your behavior. By tapping into internal drives rather than external motivations or reasons for getting sober, you have a far better chance of successfully beating your addiction.

In some cases, psychodynamic therapy may be beneficial. However, psychodynamic therapy requires you to explore unresolved and often upsetting past memories, which are thought to cause current problematic behaviors. This is often painful for people at first and is not recommended for those who are new to sobriety.

There are numerous options available to treat an Ativan addiction. Call us free today at to learn about your addiction treatment options.

Recommended Ativan Rehabilitation-Related Articles

Treatment of addiction to Lorazepam, price and methods of treatment from Lorazepam

What is Lorazepam, origin, history

Lorazepam belongs to psychotropic drugs, tranquilizers of the benzodiazepine series.

The drug was synthesized in the USA in 1963. Since 1977, the drug has already been marketed by the pharmaceutical company Wyeth. The widest possibilities have opened up.

But, unfortunately, already in the 80s, the first information about the emergence of dependence on Lorazepam began to appear.

There is evidence that in the production of this group of drugs it was already known about the possibility of dependence, but such information was not for doctors.

The guilt of the producers has not been proven. And in 2010, secret data on the studies carried out were revealed that benzodiazepine drugs can really lead to brain damage.

However, the effectiveness of Lorazepam is undeniable. It is still one of the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepines in the US and Western Europe. Lorazepam is also included in the list of essential medicines by the World Health Organization.

Effects on the body

The main effects of Lorazepam on the body are:

  1. Sedative.
  2. Central.
  3. Anticonvulsant.
  4. Anxiolytic.
  5. Sleeping pills.
  6. Muscle relaxant.

Medical indications for prescribing Lorazepam:

  1. Acute anxiety disorders.
  2. Panic attacks.
  3. Emotional anxiety and tension.
  4. Preparation before surgery.
  5. Nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy.
  6. Relief of alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

To achieve a therapeutic effect in anxiety, Lorazepam is prescribed up to 2 mg 2-3 times a day. In case of insomnia – 1-4 mg 30 minutes before bedtime.

The use of Lorazepam for a long time, especially in high doses, forms psychological and physical dependence.

To avoid this, continuous use of Lorazepam is excluded. Do not use the drug for more than 4 weeks to avoid the development of drug dependence.

Simultaneous administration with alcohol is strictly contraindicated.

With prolonged use, and even more so with the use of high doses, overdose symptoms develop, in which there are:

  1. Confused mind.
  2. Drowsiness.
  3. Disorientation in space.
  4. Coma.

How addiction to Lorazepam develops

The development of dependence on Lorazepam is typical for a third of those taking this drug for more than 4 weeks. Lorazepam is one of those benzodiazepines that have the highest risk of dependence.

Lorazepam can cause drug dependence from the 7th day of administration even without exceeding therapeutic doses.

And if patients begin to violate the dosing regimen, then addiction develops rapidly.

The dangerous thing is that even those who had no addictions before any disease for which Lorazepam is prescribed may be potential drug addicts. Everything can start simply with small doses prescribed by a doctor. Over time, a person begins to understand that he simply cannot do without medicine. This is how addiction develops. The condition is aggravated by the fact that with long-term use of Lorazepam, its effectiveness is significantly reduced, which forces drug addicts to constantly increase the dose. This is how physical addiction develops.

In drug addicts, the maximum effect after an intravenous injection is noted after 10 minutes, with an injection into the muscle – within an hour. But when taking pills, the period takes from 90 to 120 minutes.

To achieve a euphoric state, drug addicts use Lorazepam as an independent drug, and in combination with other drugs. The most common combinations are Lorazepam and tranquilizers, Lorazepam and alcohol.

Signs of use

As a person becomes dependent on Lorazepam, behavioral and physical changes develop. Typical markers of Lorazepam abuse are:

  1. Being in a euphoric state.
  2. The clarity of perception of the surrounding world is reduced.
  3. Development of apathy, drowsiness, lethargy.
  4. Sharp bouts of rage, aggression for no apparent reason.
  5. Gradual onset of frequent mood swings over short periods of time.
  6. Loss of self-organization.
  7. Development of forgetfulness regarding the performance of one’s duties.
  8. Change in gait – becomes shaky, uncertain.
  9. Staggering in standing position develops.
  10. Frequent states of entering into a stupor.
  11. Decreased reaction speed, the ability to concentrate on one type of object or action for a long time.
  12. When taking high doses may develop hallucinations, twilight disorders of consciousness.
  13. Psychosis, delirium.
  14. The appearance of defects on the skin.

It is quite difficult to have a dialogue with such people. Their speech becomes slurred and slurred. Thoughts and remarks are interrupted all the time, as the patient constantly jumps from one topic to another.

With a sharp withdrawal of the drug, withdrawal syndrome develops – “withdrawal”. This is accompanied by mental and physical disorders.

Psychiatric disorders:

  1. Irritability, which can develop into aggression.
  2. Tension.
  3. Depression, lethargy.
  4. Development of restlessness, anxiety, panic.
  5. Fatigue.
  6. Sleep disturbance with frequent nightmares.
  7. Depersonalization.

Physical disorders:

  1. Violation of autonomic functions in the form of sweating, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, increased body temperature.
  2. Refusal to eat.
  3. Nausea, vomiting.
  4. Headaches, dizziness.
  5. Trembling of the fingers.
  6. Discoordination of movements.
  7. Visual disturbances.
  8. Difficult speech.
  9. Sensory disorders.
  10. Photophobia.
  11. Acute hearing, smell, taste, tactile sensitivity.
  12. Frequent alternations of feeling hot and cold.

From the second or third day may appear:

  1. Twitching of the muscles of the face, arms, legs.
  2. Pale skin.
  3. Pupil dilation.
  4. Poor reaction to light.
  5. Development of nystagmus.

The duration of the withdrawal syndrome in lorazepam dependence ranges from 2 weeks to a month. Cases of the duration of “breaking” up to six months are described.

Consequences of use

The result of lorazepam addiction is:

  1. The development of personality defects with a complete change in a person’s personality.
  2. Intellectual-mnestic disorders.
  3. Acquisition of a mask-like face.
  4. Depletion of facial expressions.
  5. Slowness of speech and all movements.
  6. Rudeness, selfishness.
  7. Callousness, indifference, cruelty.
  8. Loss of moral and ethical standards of behavior.
  9. Almost complete loss of performance.
  10. The development of lesions of internal organs, primarily the liver.
  11. Intravenous vascular lesions.

Can I quit on my own? Treatment of addiction to Lorazepam

Even if a person independently came to the decision to stop taking Lorazepam, it is almost impossible to do it on his own. The abstinence that occurs after the withdrawal does not allow you to do it yourself. Only when you are in a drug treatment clinic can you get rid of addiction.

Treatment consists of the following manipulations:

  1. Compulsory hospitalization.
  2. Cancel Lorazepam.
  3. Detoxification therapy.
  4. Symptomatic treatment.
  5. Rehabilitation period.

All stages of drug addiction treatment are extremely important

Lorazepam — drug efficacy, description and composition

About the projectHow it worksAbout evidence-based medicineFeedback

About the projectHow it worksAbout evidence-based medicineFeedback

The drug has proven effectiveness 900 05

Medicinal product

Indications and clinic.


  • • Withdrawal state

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Indications for use

  • • Withdrawal state
  • • Dystonia 900 28
  • • Neurasthenia
  • • Neurotic disorder, unspecified
  • • Panic disorder [episodic paroxysmal anxiety]
  • • Preparatory procedures for subsequent treatment or examination, not elsewhere classified
  • • Sleep-wake disorder of non-organic etiology
  • • Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder
  • • Somatoform dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system
  • • Anxiety disorder, unspecified
  • • Phobic anxiety disorders

Breastfeeding risk


Compatibility with breastfeeding. High level of safety for an infant or lactation.

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International clinical guidelines

Included in: Evaluation and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults


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– –

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You can check the presence of the drug in the lists yourself and study clinical studies on this active ingredient

Checking the active ingredient

  • lorazepam

    765 randomized clinical trials and meta-analyses

    Worldwide database of medical publications with more than 28 million articles


    17 meta-analyses

    medicine, bringing together 37,000 scientists from more than 130 countries.



    US key online resource for originator and generic drugs.


    Listed on the

    WHO List of Essential Medicines for Adults.



    WHO List of Essential Medicines for Children.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of the drug

  1. We understand which active substance of the drug should be analyzed
  2. We are looking for meta-analyses and randomized clinical trials on the active substance in international databases
  3. Based on the amount of data collected, we conclude that there is a proven efficacy of the drug

A scientific approach to choosing a drug

90 002 Evidence medicine is the most advanced method of clinical practice to date, used in all developed countries.

A doctor who uses the principles of evidence-based medicine in everyday clinical practice, makes decisions based not on personal experience or the experience of colleagues, will prescribe to the patient only those drugs that have been tested by clinical trials, that is, their effectiveness has been proven.

The meaning of evidence-based medicine

International databases of drugs and clinical trials

  • Worldwide database of medical publications with more than 28 million articles

  • Global independent medical research database of 37,000 scientists from over 130 countries

  • US-based key online resource for original and generic drugs

  • 90 002 World Organization List of Essential Medicines WHO Essential Medicines List

A drug is only proven to be effective when there are positive results from high-quality clinical trials

Why is this so?

Questions and answers

How is the proven efficacy of a medicinal product determined?

According to the principles of evidence-based medicine, the drug is considered effective only in the presence of positive results of clinical studies of a high level of evidence. The effectiveness of a drug that has even a huge number of studies of a lower level cannot be considered proven.

How are high-quality clinical trials conducted for drugs?

In randomized controlled trials (RCTs), participants are randomly assigned to groups. Some patients fall into the experimental group, while others fall into the control group. Both groups are followed for a certain period of time and analyze the outcomes formulated at the beginning of the study. The effectiveness of treatment is evaluated in comparison with the control group.

An analysis of the combined results of several RCTs is called a meta-analysis. By increasing the sample size in a meta-analysis, more statistical power, and, therefore, the accuracy of assessing the effect of the analyzed intervention, is provided.

What is the therapeutic efficacy of drugs?

It is worth separating the concepts of proven efficacy and therapeutic efficacy of drugs. Therapeutic efficacy is the ability to produce an effect (for example, lowering blood pressure), proven efficacy reliably confirms therapeutic efficacy. Thus, in theory, a drug may have therapeutic efficacy without having proven efficacy.

What are the criteria for assessing the proven efficacy of a drug in the MedIQ project?

We use the world’s largest and most reliable drug and clinical trial databases as criteria for assessing proven efficacy. An example is the List of Essential Medicines of the World Health Organization. Any drug included in this list is vital for the treatment of various diseases, proven by numerous clinical studies.

If a drug has no studies, but it works for me, is it proven to work?

According to the principles of evidence-based medicine, a drug can be considered proven effective only if there are positive results from clinical studies of a high level of evidence. Your personal experience or the unconfirmed opinion of a doctor cannot be evidence.

I don’t trust the results of your analysis. How can I check them?

The MedIQ evidence-based system is transparent, each user can check which active substance is analyzed and study the results of studies for each criterion.