Ativan is one of the most popular benzodiazepine medications. While it is used to treat anxiety and seizures, many users fall addicts to the substance. This is interesting, considering Ativan is a Schedule IV drug, which means it technically has a lower potential for misuse and dependence. But despite this classification, Ativan can still be habit-forming, so here’s how to get Ativan out of your system safely.
What is Lorazepam?
Ativan is the brand-name for the generic drug lorazepam, which is a benzodiazepine. These drugs act as sedatives or tranquilizers; Ativan binds to GABA receptors in the brain, producing a calming effect. However, these prescriptions should be only for short-term use.
Some street names for benzos include:
- Nerve pills
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How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?
Ativan (lorazepam) is available in tablets, liquid concentrates, or intravenous medication. Of course, the different routes have different timetables for how long it takes them to take effect. Still, the effects can kick in as little as 15 minutes and last for up to 24 hours.
Overall, lorazepam is fast-acting, but it has a long half-life. Lorazepam’s half-life is about 12 hours, which means it decreases in concentration in the body by half every 12 hours.
Ativan is metabolized by the liver and eliminated from the body through urine. However, tests for Ativan can track the substance even nine days later after the last dose.
Ativan appears in blood tests six hours after use. However, the detection window can go as long as three days after the last use, sometimes even longer.
Because Ativan is eliminated through urine, Ativan remains in the body for up to six weeks after last use. In this case, dosage and length of use play a determining factor. Urine tests can detect lorazepam in samples up to six days after the last use. In those who’ve been taking the drug for more extended periods, it can appear in tests up to nine days after or more.
Like other drugs, Ativan can be detected in saliva samples, most of the time up to eight hours after the last use. However, because it only detects after eight hours, saliva tests are often not used to drug screen for benzodiazepines like Ativan.
Lorazepam can be detected in hair samples for much longer than other methods. Overall, hair tests can detect Ativan up to 30 days after the last use.
Factors That Affect How Long Lorazepam Stays in the Body
Like many other substances, some factors affect how long benzos stay in your system. Things like the length of Ativan use, frequency, body mass, sex, and even hydration levels play a significant role. These different factors will affect the detection window.
The first thing that plays a role is the dosage and frequency of use. People who use benzos regularly can have positive drug test results even after 45 of the last use. Heavy users can have positive tests 90 days after quitting. It all depends on how much and how frequently they have doses of Ativan.
Beyond the length of time and the class of drug abuse, it’s also essential to know if, during that same period, someone also misused other drugs. For example, many individuals mix benzos with alcohol to enhance its effects. This will affect the amount of time the drug stays in the system.
Body Composition & Sex
Drug metabolites are usually stored in the fat cells in the body. This means, the higher your body fat or BMI, the slower you metabolize and excrete benzos. For example, women often metabolize benzos slower than men because they tend to have higher body fat levels.
If your body isn’t at its optimal level, it might take longer to metabolize benzos. Your metabolism also plays a role. Usually, those with substance abuse problems have impaired digestive enzymes that can affect metabolism. Age, gender, weight, and overall physical activity can also have an impact. Overall, older people tend to clear drugs slower than younger people, for example.
How to Get Ativan Out of Your System
The problem with getting Ativan out of your system is that it produces negative withdrawal symptoms. If you have a valid prescription for benzodiazepines, odds are you’re struggling with severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other concerns. Quitting benzos cold-turkey means these symptoms can exacerbate and cause life-threatening consequences.
Common Ativan withdrawal symptoms include hallucinations, panic attacks, and tremors. However, people can easily experience dizziness, depressive episodes, confusion, restlessness, and suicidal thoughts without supervision and treatment.
Benzodiazepine detox can be a long process. While there are many treatment options, inpatient benzo detox might be the safest plan. With inpatient treatment, patients need to stay at a detox facility where there is proper medical supervision and care.
Additionally, with this type of care, users receive a more in-depth and medical approach to rehab, including doctor and nurse oversight. Inpatient treatment can help patients looking for ways to ease benzo withdrawal symptoms through medication assistance and more.
A medical detox program may also incorporate medication-assisted treatment, such as naloxone, to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and help people be better prepared for rehab. A doctor will most likely start prescribing lower doses or a less potent benzo medication to decrease its dependency instead of eliminating the drug gradually.
Choosing a medical detox approach also positions patients in the best possible scenario to continue treatment. Most detox facilities offer inpatient rehab programs to continue addiction treatment under clinical supervision. For those with co-occurring mental health conditions, an inpatient rehab program also provides them with the mental health assistance they need to prevent another depressive episode and continue treatment.
Getting Help for Ativan Addiction
As of 2011, Ativan was the fifth most widely prescribed benzodiazepine, with more than 27 million prescriptions written (and the number has continued to rise). While benzos are incredibly addictive, those who are willing to break the addiction cycle can seek treatment. Because cutting cold-turkey can be hazardous, it’s best to start with a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and benzodiazepine detox process to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.
Speaking with an addiction treatment specialist as soon as possible is the best way to start seeking help for benzo addiction. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our drug addiction recovery programs include:
- Benzo Medical Detox: A clinically supervised detox process to ensure the patient’s safety and make the withdrawal phase as comfortable as possible. This also gives patients access to medical care in case they experience unfavorable side effects.
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Often, people who misuse benzos mix it with alcohol, struggle with opioids misuse, or have co-occurring mental health illnesses. A dual diagnosis treatment plan collectively and holistically treats the various ailments.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs: A form of drug rehab that offers more flexibility to patients looking to seek addiction treatment while maintaining daily obligations like work, school, or caregiving.
- Long-term Recovery Programs: It’s easy to relapse after treatment, with long-term recovery assistance, patients can have the ongoing support they need to maintain long-lasting sobriety.
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug abuse, seek help immediately. Contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute today and speak with our addiction specialists to learn more about our comprehensive and personalized addiction treatment programs. Our addiction treatment center is ready to welcome you with open arms.