Ativan taper works to minimize and even avoid the undesirable effects of withdrawal. Some people may decide to attempt an at-home taper.

Once an individual acquires a tolerance to Ativan, it can be quite difficult to move forward. Said patients or recreational users will often take extra quantities of the drug to achieve feelings of relief or euphoria.

Deciding to stop Ativan isn’t as simple as not consuming the drug any longer, as withdrawal can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. Stopping the drug takes a proper adjustment stage as well as comprehensive care along the way. Medical detoxification provides both.

Effective detoxes usually use time to their advantage, and perhaps the best example of this is the taper method. An Ativan taper utilizes all of the resources at a rehabilitation center’s disposal, combined with ample recovery time to help users succeed.

Tapering Off Ativan (Lorazepam)

The human body has the remarkable ability to regenerate, healing itself from the physical and psychological trauma of all kinds. Its power to do so for drug use is no different. Tapering gives the patient’s body the platform to do so. Over time, bodily systems can course correct and readapt themselves to life without benzodiazepine (benzo) use.

Following a physician-approved Ativan taper works to minimize and even avoid the undesirable effects of withdrawal. Deciding to quit the drug cold turkey without a taper can lead to:

  •  Headaches
  •  Lethargy
  •  Confusion
  •  Insomnia
  •  Irritability
  •  Spasms
  •  Nausea
  •  Constipation
  •  Panic disorders
  •  Hallucinations
  •  Anxiety
  •  Seizures

Each medical taper begins with a tapering schedule provided by a physician. Some people may decide to attempt an at-home taper. However, given the risks of Ativan withdrawal symptoms like seizure, a benzo withdrawal tapering schedule should only be done under medical supervision.

Substitution Taper

Sometimes, doctors recommend a substitution taper. This type of taper trades a short-acting benzo like Ativan for a long-acting one like Valium. Long-acting benzodiazepines last longer, meaning withdrawal is held off and the patient doesn’t have to take Ativan doses all the time.

The first step in a substitution taper is to convert the amount of Ativan the person is taking to an equivalent Valium dose. Generally, 0.5 mg of Ativan is equal to 5 mg of Valium. Therefore, 4 mg of Ativan is equal to 40 mg of Valium and so forth.

If someone is taking less than the equivalent of 40 mg of Valium daily, they may start on a low-dose taper. If someone is taking the equivalent of 40 mg or more of Valium daily, they may be started on a high-dose taper.

Taper schedules are highly individualized because benzo withdrawal symptoms can be unpredictable and do not necessarily follow a steady time course. If someone starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms while on a taper, they are often kept on the current benzo dose until symptoms resolve. At that point, the taper can continue.

Recovery from Ativan use is an incremental effort. A person will have to give their absolute best during each step in order to see results. But, with a little structure to guide the way, recovery can be a not-so-distant reality for many.

If you’ve tried the taper method on your own with little success, you may need assistance from a medical professional. The Recovery Village provides rehabilitation services for people from all across the country. Contact us today to discuss treatment options that can meet your needs.

Rob Alston
Editor – Rob Alston
Rob Alston has traveled around Australia, Japan, Europe, and America as a writer and editor for industries including personal wellness and recovery. Read more
Jessica Pyhtila
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Ativan.” December 1, 2016. Accessed June 21, 2020.

World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Manag[…]e in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed June 21, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.