Ativan and Alcohol

Understanding Ativan and Alcohol

Mixing Ativan and alcohol also has profound effects on one’s brain and body. Learn more here.

Ativan and Alcohol  

What is Ativan?

Ativan is one of the most popular benzodiazepines used to treat panic disorders and anxiety attacks. Ativan is a combination of drugs. Ativan is a propranolol, an antihistamine, and at least one antidepressant. All of these are known to make panic attacks easier to control, but none of them are as effective as the combination of all three.1 Ativan also tends to cause less drowsiness than other benzodiazepines, meaning people will not feel like they are taking a sleeping pill when they are having a panic attack. However, Ativan is also a bit more addictive than most benzodiazepines.

How Alcohol and Ativan Works

Ativan works by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is responsible for regulating mood swings, anxiety attacks, and restlessness, among other things. Studies have shown that Ativan works by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, which then increases the amount of serotonin. This in turn reduces the amount of anxiety and restlessness. Ativan can also increase the number of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), another chemical in the brain vital for controlling mood. Many different chemicals cause many changes in the liver, including one called CYP2E1, which causes a huge increase in the liver’s activity. The combination of Ativan and alcohol can increase the production of this chemical greatly. This is one of the main reasons you tend to feel so sluggish after drinking alcohol; therefore, taking both Ativan and alcohol at the same time will only make the hangover worse.

Ativan and Alcohol Effects

Because of its many benefits in treating mental disorders, Ativan has become widely used as one of the go-to panic disorder treatments. This is in spite of the fact that Ativan is a highly addictive drug. Taking it regularly causes several negative side effects, including loss of sleep, memory loss, increased aggression, and heart palpitations. When one is taking both Ativan and alcohol, one must know that alcohol works as a diuretic. What that means is that when people drink, especially to excess, it flushed out the body of excess fluids, especially when the amount of alcohol that has been consumed goes over the recommended daily allowance.

Dangers of Ativan and Alcohol

Whenever one combines alcohol and Ativan, any possible side effects associated with Ativan and alcohol will be enhanced. In particular, it has been shown that mixing both can have many adverse effects on the brain, such as seizures and hallucinations. If you were to take even just a small amount of Ativan and then drink alcohol, you could be in danger of developing these severe mental conditions.

In addition to the potential side effects of both, there is also the possible interactions between Ativan and other drugs. For example, if you drink while taking any medications such as benzodiazepines, you could cause serious health problems such as in a coma or death.

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

How long Ativan will stay in your system depends mainly on the frequency of use, dosage, and metabolism. How fast your body can expel the drug, and its metabolites will be the main indicator of if it will be detected or not on a drug test. While Ativan can de be detected in blood, hair, and urine, the most common test to find it would be urine. Since it is a slow-acting benzodiazepine, the drug itself will take up to several days to eliminate from your body. Still, its metabolites can be detectable, on average, from six to nine days after last use.

Ativan vs. Valium

When comparing Ativan vs. Valium, Valium often leaves a patient’s nervous system more stressed, leading to potentially dangerous side effects or toxicity. On the other hand, Ativan has no negative interactions with other medications as opposed to the adverse effects of Valium. Ativan is not perfect, though, and does have some sedating properties and tends to make a person groggy, and can also make people act impulsively when taken. If alcohol and Ativan are taken together, this would, of course, cause an increase in these feelings as well since alcohol also tends to lower a person’s inhibitions.2

Feelings Created by Ativan or Valium

There is one side effect from taking either Ativan or Valium that can lead one down a path of abuse, and that is an increased urge to take your medication even when not required for a panic episode. Many doctors think that this occurs because the patient is more sensitive to their drugs. In addition to this, in a comparison of Ativan vs. Valium, they both often cause feelings of being:
  • Anxious
  • Nervous
  • Irritable
  • Depressed
These feelings are compounded if you take Ativan or Valium for a long time or take Ativan and alcohol together. You may notice that the symptoms you once suffered are now being produced more frequently, meaning that you may need to stop taking the medications altogether or potentially seek treatment for a comorbid disorder such as treating alcohol and Ativan abuse.

Different Effects on the Body

While both of these drugs may cause severe mental symptoms if abused, they have slightly different physiological symptoms. Ativan tends to cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and dry mouth, while Valium tends to cause sweating, headaches, and a very fast heartbeat. This is because of the way that Valium increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. When taken, dopamine makes the brain more sensitive to certain stimuli. One should discuss these symptoms with your doctor to determine while taking these medications.

Ativan and Alcohol Treatment

If you think you have a problem with Ativan and alcohol, it is best to seek Ativan and alcohol treatment. Those who have preexisting alcohol abuse problems are encouraged to seek help before beginning an Ativan treatment regime.

Do not feel as if you are alone, and there are many thousands of people just like you who are struggling with substance abuse related to both alcohol and Ativan. Do not wait and seek help today.

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