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Does Ativan Make You Sleepy?

Man yawning, wondering if the Ativan made him sleepy

Prescription medications come with a wide range of side effects. Usually, these side effects are directly related to how the drug works in your body. Ativan is a medication used to treat anxiety, some seizure disorders, and even some cases of insomnia. Ativan does make you sleepy, and can quickly lead to addiction.

If you or someone you know misuses Ativan and could benefit from a prescription drug treatment program, Evoke Wellness in Waltham can help. Call (833)-287-7223 to learn more.

Drowsiness Is One of the Most Common Side Effects

Ativan can start working in as quickly as 20 to 30 minutes and last for 6 to 8 hours. For individuals who take medication for insomnia, this is great news. However, for individuals who need to be alert and focused throughout the day, drowsiness can become a major issue. This is often why doctors will prescribe Ativan as a short-term treatment option and seek other alternatives for long-term management of anxiety or seizure disorders.

Understanding Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are prescription medications that act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They work by enhancing the effects of a naturally occurring chemical in the brain called GABA that helps to calm down excitability and overactivity.

Ativan, a brand of lorazepam, is a benzo and is often used for its calming effects. Xanax is another popular benzo medication that many are familiar with. Both Xanax and Ativan, along with other benzos, are highly addictive. Individuals who take benzos can quickly become dependent on them and develop a tolerance.

Ativan Makes You Feel Calm

One of the biggest reasons benzos are so addictive is their ability to make you feel calm. This feeling of calmness can quickly become a crutch for individuals struggling with anxiety or insomnia. Calming effects can even become euphoric when taken in higher doses or combined with other substances. However, this temporary relief comes at a cost.

Side effects of benzo abuse include:

  • Impaired coordination and motor skills
  • Memory problems
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings

The drowsiness associated with Ativan can lead to accidents or injuries, especially when operating heavy machinery or driving. Additionally, combining Ativan with alcohol or other drugs, known as polysubstance abuse, can increase the risk of overdosing.

Benzo Addiction Is Dangerous

Trying to quit benzos alone can be challenging. Acute withdrawal symptoms can include delirium tremens (DTs). DTs can cause extreme confusion, disorientation, and even seizures. In some cases, withdrawal from benzos can be life-threatening. It is crucial to seek medical attention from a detox center when attempting to stop using Ativan or any other benzo medication.

Overdosing on benzos is a real possibility. With long-term use, individuals may develop a tolerance and need higher doses to achieve the same calming effects. Additionally, individuals who have a short-term prescription and develop an addiction may seek illicit versions of benzos to avoid any withdrawal symptoms. Counterfeit drugs can contain fillers or other undisclosed drugs like fentanyl that can be dangerous.

Overdose Can Happen

During 2022 in Massachusetts alone:

  • There were more than 4,900 unintentional drug overdose deaths
  • 360 of those deaths involved benzos
  • 80% of overdose deaths involved fentanyl

Overdose graphic

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Can Help

Since many individuals who rely on Ativan live with anxiety, dual diagnosis treatment can help break the cycle of addiction while managing mental health symptoms. Mental Health Day Treatment alone may not be enough for someone living with both benzo addiction and anxiety.

Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both substance use disorders and mental health conditions simultaneously. Treatment may include medication management, group therapy, and support groups.

Begin Your Journey with Evoke Wellness at Waltham

If you or a loved one is considering outpatient treatment, Evoke Wellness at Waltham invites you to contact us. Our compassionate team is ready to answer your questions, discuss your needs, and help you take the first steps toward recovery. At Evoke Wellness, you will find more than just a treatment program – you’ll discover a community dedicated to your wellness and success. Together, let’s embrace the journey to recovery and the promise of a new beginning. Call us at (833)-287-7223 today or reach out online.