Alcohol and drugs don’t mix. Alcohol and a prescription drug like Ativan definitely don’t mix. Why? Because despite the profound intoxication these two substances deliver, death can be the result.
By themselves, alcohol and benzodiazepine medications like Ativan are two of the most dangerous substances to abuse. By themselves, and in heavy doses, they can produce significant, life-threatening sedative effects and seizures.
When combined, the harmful effects they deliver are further magnified.
Having an occasional glass of wine while on Ativan may not cause immediate harm. However, benzodiazepines are habit-forming and can cause people to become dependent rather quickly. The same can be said for alcohol. So, that occasional glass of wine with Ativan can quickly morph into a daily activity, putting you at risk for ruinous effects.
Whatever the case, it is never safe to mix Ativan and alcohol. If you are engaged in this sort of polysubstance abuse, it is only a matter of time before you experience a range of harmful effects.
What is Ativan?
Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam, a benzodiazepine medication used to treat seizures, anxiety, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal. It also addresses nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.
Like other drugs of its class, Ativan enhances the effects of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that reduces fear and anxiety in the body, giving users a feeling of relaxation. Lorazepam itself is included on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, which contains the safest, most effective medications needed in a health system.
Like other benzodiazepines, Ativan is only intended for short-term use. However, when employed as a long-term treatment, it can cause people to become dependent, where they display withdrawal symptoms. This can occur even when Ativan is taken at prescribed levels.
When abused by itself in a recreational fashion, Ativan can set an array of withdrawal symptoms.
Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms
According to VeryWell Mind, when a daily dose of Ativan is stopped or reduced abruptly, withdrawal symptoms can appear in eight to 12 hours. Benzodiazepine medications are capable of producing a number of symptoms. Plus, the heavier the dose, the more severe the effects, some of which can be life-threatening like seizures.
Ativan withdrawal symptoms include:
- Hallucinations (Auditory, tactile, or visual)
- Racing pulse
- Panic attacks
- Nausea or vomiting
- Memory problems
- Concentration problems
- Aches and pains
- Hypersensitivity to stimuli like light and touch
- Abnormal bodily sensations (skin-crawling, goosebumps)
- Hand tremors
- Muscle spasms
- Feelings of unreality
- Visual disturbances (flashes of light or blurred vision)
Withdrawal and The Dangers of Alcohol
As with Ativan and other benzodiazepines, a person can experience life-threatening seizures from alcohol when they are in withdrawal.
What’s more, the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can manifest as common and severe. People with a history of heavy drinking are prone to incurring severe, highly dangerous symptoms.
The common symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal are:
- Increased heart rate
- Sweating and chills
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling exhausted
- Pale skin
Severe effects can include:
- Hand tremors
- Accelerated breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
When Alcohol Withdrawal Becomes Deadly
And if those symptoms were not enough, there are even more dangerous effects associated with alcohol. These effects are called delirium tremens (also known as DTs), which is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal.
Individuals who have engaged in a heavy pattern of drinking for 10 years or more are at risk of developing DTs. Although, only 5 percent of people in alcohol withdrawal develop DTs, and that still accounts for thousands of cases each year given the sheer prevalence of alcohol abuse in the U.S.
Life-threatening effects associated with DTs are:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
- Heavy sweating
- Sudden mood changes
- Rapid heart rate
- Bursts of energy
- Sudden severe confusion
- Body tremors
- Deep sleep lasting for a day or longer
- Sleepiness and fatigue
Any combination of those symptoms is considered a medical emergency and requires treatment as soon as possible.
The Dangers of Combining Alcohol With Other Drugs
Now imagine how dangerous alcohol and Ativan are when taken in combination. Both are central nervous system (CNS) depressants capable of producing profound sedation.
And that is just the start of it. The effects of mixing both are downright ruinous. Overdose is also a real and distinct possibility.
“When alcohol and Ativan interact, they produce a synergistic effect, according to the University of Michigan University Health Service. This means they come together to generate magnified effects that surpass anything they would produce individually, making death a very real possibility. ”
University of Michigan University Health Service
This means they come together to generate magnified effects that surpass anything they would produce individually, making death a very real possibility.
If this combination doesn’t kill you, enough of it can cause you to experience dizziness, stumbling, loss of sphincter control, and memory loss.
When a user on a message board asked about the results of mixing alcohol and Ativan, one poster wrote this elegant response:
“You will be dizzy and nauseous and vomiting through your nose and mouth. Your body will sense something is up and attempt to reject anything you try to force down for the rest of the day. Your throat will be raw, and your sinuses will bleed. You will stumble around, cause a ruckus, and bring much-unneeded attention to yourself.”
Again, that would be the least of your problems.
Mixing benzodiazepines and alcohol can trigger effects that can cause permanent body and brain damage, terminal health conditions, and severe psychological distress. Those effects include:
- Brain damage
- Mouth, throat, and liver cancers
- Low blood pressure
- Breathing problems
- Mood disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and behavior
- Memory loss
What Is a Lethal Dose of Ativan?
In most cases, Ativan overdoses won’t be lethal. However, you might be wondering – what is a lethal dose of Ativan? Well, that can vary from one person to the next, especially if an overdose isn’t treated immediately. The best way to overdose is to avoid using the drug altogether. If that’s not possible, following your doctor’s orders and avoiding Ativan and alcohol or other depressants is a good start. It’s important to keep an eye out for adverse symptoms and seek professional care if you take a lethal dose of Ativan or feel like you can’t stop using it.
Lorazepam and alcohol are extremely dangerous, but Ativan can also cause issues by itself, which is why you must follow what your doctor prescribes. Ativan and alcohol pose serious risks, but don’t let that fool you. If you’ve ever wondered – can I drink on Ativan, the answer is no. Toxic levels of the drug may cause an overdose but not always be fatal. These can lead to life-threatening symptoms like respiratory depression.
When taking the medication, you might wonder – how soon can I drink after using Ativan? The answer is to wait a few days as it’ll prevent you from overdosing. There are various factors to consider when determining if you’re at risk of overdosing. These include the following:
- Your Ativan tolerance: How tolerant you are of the drug will factor into you experiencing a potentially fatal overdose. Even after a few days of use, you can become tolerant of Ativan, which is influenced by your metabolic rate, age, weight, and past benzo use.
- How often you use Ativan: Your Ativan use will also determine if you’re at risk of overdosing. For example, someone with a high tolerance, because they consume it regularly, is less likely to overdose. Recreational Ativan use is far more dangerous than using as prescribed, especially if you snort or let the pills dissolve under your tongue for a more intense high.
- Ativan and alcohol: As was mentioned earlier, mixing Ativan and alcohol is dangerous. Mixing any drug with alcohol is not smart, but opioids and alcohol cause overdose effects at a much higher clip. Benzodiazepines, alcohol, and opioids are depressants that each slow down the central nervous system. Combining these drugs will intensify each other’s effects and lead to slowed breathing, which can cause death.
- Your dose of Ativan: Determining a lethal dose of Ativan is challenging because of the factors at play. The maximum daily dose of Ativan is 10 milligrams for adults. Six milligrams is the most common dose among doctors. A lethal dose can be anything over 11 mg.
Bear in mind that if you’re mixing Ativan, have low tolerance, or you’re a smaller person, you can overdose on a smaller dose. There is no minimum or maximum dose. We all have a unique chemistry that can make us susceptible to overdosing at lower or higher doses. Your weight, genetics, gender, and underlying health conditions will contribute to what a lethal dose might be for you. When your doctor prescribes Ativan, they take these into account a safe amount, which is why purchasing on the street and using recreationally can have fatal outcomes.
Signs of an Ativan overdose include the following:
- Profuse sweating
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Uncoordinated behavior
- Memory loss
Someone overdosing on Ativan will also have problems breathing. This can lead to heart attack, coma, and even death. If you’re around someone and suspect they’ve overdosed, you must call 911, gather information to relay to first responders and keep the person safe until emergency help arrives.
How Professional Treatment Can Help You
If you are considering mixing alcohol with Ativan, don’t do it. You will only be bringing about a galaxy of trouble.
If you are already experimenting with this combination, you will need to consider professional addiction treatment. Why? Because alcohol and benzos can kill you if you attempt to quit these substances on your own. Take a look at the withdrawal symptoms of both to remind you.
In a reputable professional treatment program, you can receive the comprehensive, multilevel therapy and care that can address this kind of polysubstance abuse.
A professional program starts with acute treatment, where the Ativan and alcohol are removed from your system, along with other toxins. A medical team comprised of doctors, nurses, and other staff members will monitor you around the clock and treat any health conditions and withdrawal symptoms that arise.
Once you have been stabilized, a licensed therapist will conduct a biopsychosocial assessment that examines your biological, psychological, and sociological needs regarding your treatment plan.
For severe cases where two or more substances are being abused, it is highly recommended that you receive full-time, comprehensive therapy and counseling through clinical stabilization services.
In clinical stabilization, you will have access to an array of services that treat your entire being, mind, body, and soul. The goal of this program is to address the psychological and emotional root of your use.
The following treatment services are offered in clinical stabilization:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Trauma-informed sessions
- Family-focused therapy
- Genetic testing
- Relapse prevention
- The 12-steps of recovery
- Emotional regulation
- Motivational enhancement
- Medical education
- Wellness skills
- Nutritional assessments
After the intense, prolonged treatment offered in clinical stabilization, you may not feel ready to fully transition back into your everyday life. This is where an outpatient program can help you.
Outpatient is designed to be a bridge between clinical stabilization and the normal world. You can live at home or in a sober living community and receive therapy and counseling on a part-time basis.
You can also receive life skills education to help you resume your normal life. You can also receive relapse prevention training to help you achieve sustained recovery.
If you are taking Ativan and alcohol, you are on a collision course with permanent damage and death. A professional treatment program can literally save your life and help you regain sobriety. Let us help you locate a program that allows you to take back your life.