Drug and Alcohol

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? A Look at Ativan, Drug Tests, Withdrawal, & More

How long does Ativan stay in your system? This potent benzo can be very dangerous when abused. Learn more about the effects of Ativan in our blog.

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? Drug Tests & More About Ativan

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

July 21, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Ativan, a brand name of the generic drug lorazepam, is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety and other conditions. It works by reducing brain activity and calming the body. Although Ativan can be effective in treating certain medical conditions, it may cause serious side effects and is often abused due to its sedative properties.

As such, many people wonder how long Ativan stays in their system.

Ativan is a member of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Benzodiazepines like Ativan are prescribed to alleviate anxiety and stress. It is also recommended to manage sleeplessness generated by acute anxiety and momentary stressful circumstances and for seizure disorders in adults.

Using benzodiazepines for a long time has risks, including the development of addiction. In addition, long-term use of Ativan, as well as other benzodiazepines, increases the risk of severe side effects, including cognitive difficulties and the beginning of Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. When used with other depressants that influence the brain and spinal cord, such as alcohol, antidepressants, and narcotic drugs, benzodiazepines such as Ativan can be fatal.

Stats About Benzos:

According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health results, 4.8 million Americans aged 12 and up misappropriated prescribed benzodiazepines in the previous year. Three percent of the population was comprised of people aged 18 to 25, 1.6% of the population was comprised of people aged 26 and over, and 0.6% of the population was comprised of people aged 12 to 17.

How Long Does Ativan Stay In Your System: What is Ativan?

Ativan is a benzodiazepine prescription drug. It is typically prescribed to address medically relevant anxiety disorders besides serving as a kind of sedation or general anesthesia. However, it may also be employed for managing seizures and spasms and occasionally for relieving withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or another diazepam by functioning as a relaxant.

Benzodiazepines are among the most commonly prescribed medication classes in the United States. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classed all benzodiazepines as controlled substances, with the bulk falling under Schedule IV. This suggests that such drugs have a high potential for abuse and, when used regularly, can lead to physiological dependence.

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

In line with publicly available information, there are estimated recognition ranges for how long Ativan will stay in your system as per specific testing methods.

According to research, blood testing can detect the presence of Ativan for up to three days.

Lorazepam can be identified in the urine for up to 6 days, and various byproducts can be detected for up to 9 days. Therefore, if Lorazepam is routinely overused, urinalysis may reveal the drug's presence after one week or more.

A saliva swab can detect the presence of Ativan for up to 8 hours after it has been consumed.

Hair samples can demonstrate the presence of Ativan up to thirty days after ingestion. Typically, the medicine does not produce good findings in a follicle/hair sample for several days after the user has taken it.

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System: How Long Does It Take For Ativan to Take Effect?

When taken orally, Ativan is absorbed gradually and has a moderate effect (between fifteen and thirty minutes for most people) when compared to other benzos.

In most cases, taking Ativan will have the most significant effect in less than two hours.

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How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System: How Long Do the Effects of Ativan Last?

The effects of Ativan can last between four and six hours of usage. Individuals susceptible to Ativan's effects might witness its anesthetic effects longer than usual. On the other hand, individuals who misuse Ativan tend to consume larger quantities after every 1 or 2 hours to satisfy their urges and cravings.

Ativan abuse gradually causes tolerance to the drug’s effects. This means that a person consuming Ativan must either take medicine daily or face acute withdrawal symptoms. Ativan must be gradually taken off to avoid seizures and other health problems, and this is achieved with the assistance of medically held withdrawal. 

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System: What is the Half-Life of Ativan?

The half-life of Ativan, or the time it takes for a person's body to break down the medicine to half the original level in circulation, is often believed to be around 12 hours; however, for most individuals, an accurate estimation is between ten and twenty hours.

In most cases, it takes 5 to 6 half-lives for a prescription dosage to be cleared from a person's body. Users with such strong resistance may consume extremely high doses, and the chemical may take even longer to remove.

Ativan is metabolized by the liver. This generally takes place after five days of taking Ativan; however, some compounds of lorazepam (toxins formed as a result of chemical breakdown) might remain in a person's system for more than seven days.

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System: How Long Does Ativan Show Up on Drug Tests?

The determination of a set time in which Ativan stays in your bloodstream depends on the organ functioning of a particular person. Ativan lab test methods can examine the presence of the drug at various intervals after consuming the medicine. The time it takes for Ativan to be traced in a person's body is governed by the type of medical tests undertaken. The drug could take 3 to 30 days to leave a person's body entirely.

Here is how long certain drug tests can detect Ativan in the system:

Ativan Blood Test:

A blood test can detect Ativan as soon as 6 hours after it is consumed. Blood tests may be used to determine the drug for up to three days after that. If a patient has been using Ativan at higher doses for 3 days or more, this period may be extended.

Ativan Urine Test:

Because Ativan goes through the kidneys, it is found in urine testing. The system removes the drug, which uses urine as a pathway. This medication can be detectable in samples obtained up to 6 days after the previous dose. This timeframe may be extended for people who take the medicine regularly at a higher dosage.

One method of Ativan urine screening involves looking for the molecule lorazepam-glucuronide. This molecule is produced whenever the system breaks down the medicine. This test method can detect Ativan for up to 9 days after its final dose. 

Ativan Hair Test

Like many other compounds, Examiners send samples taken to a research facility when finding Ativan through hair testing. Compared to any other chemical analytical process, such research facilities can find Ativan in specimens collected for a far longer period. This period can extend up to thirty days following each treatment.

Ativan Saliva Test

Narcotics examiners rarely utilize salivary tests to screen for Ativan. However, a drug examiner employing a salivary medical exam may be able to identify the substance for up to 8 hours after its last use.

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How Can You Tell If Someone Is Addicted to Ativan?

Many individuals addicted to Ativan obtained their first dosage from their medical providers as a prescription for various ailments such as insomnia or anxiety. As a result, Ativan users frequently visit their physicians and other doctors to acquire more medicine.

Ativan abusers might also sleep more, become angry more rapidly, and slowly become absentminded. Ativan abusers are prone to forgetfulness, losing essential documents, and even forgetting the day of the week.

The appearance of withdrawal symptoms is the most reliable indicator of Ativan addiction. 

What are Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms?

Ativan withdrawal symptoms are intense and, in some cases, can turn fatal. Anyone who has become dependent on or misusing the medication should seek medical assistance to recover. Seizures are common and can be fatal during Ativan withdrawal.

Fortunately, Ativan withdrawal symptoms can be clinically treated using safe and efficient detox drugs and a gradual reduction in dosage to alleviate the following withdrawal symptoms: 

  • Excessive sweating

  • Nausea and diarrhea

  • Extreme anxiety

  • Sleep deprivation 

  • Sprained muscles and trembling 

  • Sweating and a high temperature 

  • Strong blood pressure and heart rate variability  

  • Suicidal ideation  

  • Delusions 

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System: Ativan Addiction & Dependency Problems

Ativan can cause both mental and physical dependence if used for an extended period. Individuals with a history of drunkenness or psychological issues appear more vulnerable to lorazepam addiction.

Because Ativan is intoxicating, users may develop physical dependence and adverse effects. It might be difficult for someone suffering from a chemical dependency to stop using Ativan, especially when there are complications associated with it, such as:

  • Failure to meet responsibilities at a job, college, or in the family

  • Troublesome relationships with friends or relatives

  • Engaging oneself in risky situations

  • A reduction in the person's interest in formerly essential hobbies

  • Isolation from social circles 

  • Financial problems

Individuals with a long Ativan addiction history might become acclimated to the medicine. A higher dose is required to achieve the same outcomes when a person takes medication regularly for an extended period. Developing sensitivity to Ativan may put a person battling drug addiction at risk of benzo withdrawal & overdose.

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What Does an Ativan Overdose Look Like?

Ativan poisoning is possible at any dosage above what your doctor has prescribed. The same caution applies to everyone using a range of prescribed medications. Accidents involving benzodiazepines can be either unintentional or planned. In either case, it is vital to understand the signs and symptoms of Ativan overdose.

Here are a few examples of what a benzo overdose looks like:

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Strange and confused behavior

  • Profuse sweating

  • Dissociative experiences

  • Organ dysfunction, such as kidney failure

  • Slowed breathing

  • Bluish, cold, and/or clammy skin

How is Ativan Addiction Treated?

Based on your current circumstances and needs, joining a support network or pursuing personalized therapy can give you the resources you need to remain sober. If you or someone you care about is battling with Ativan addiction, get assistance from a drug rehab. Addiction is a medical problem.

Treatment with Ativan or other drugs is widely available. Recognizing how underlying psychological and psychosocial medical issues may motivate addiction is a vital component of addiction treatment. Rehabilitation clinics use a range of treatment and therapy techniques, such as:

  • Medical drug detox

  • Medication-assisted treatment

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)

  • Training in motivation and coping strategies

  • Recreational therapy 

  • Community support groups

  • Family and individual counseling

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? Long Enough to Cause Damage. The Forge Recovery Center Will Help

Ativan addiction can be dangerous – it’s a powerful drug that’s all too easy to overdose on. Ativan withdrawal can be very difficult, especially on one’s own. It can be enough to make a person want to give up.

At The Forge Recovery Center, you won’t be alone when you’re fighting Ativan addiction. You’ll have a dedicated team of addiction professionals alongside you ensuring that detoxing from Ativan is as comfortable and safe as possible. Guided by a trauma-informed philosophy, our addiction center is ideal for long-term healing. This allows clients to safely explore and treat the roots of their Ativan addiction.

Ativan addiction denies people the happy, healthy lives they deserve. If you’d like to learn more about our effective, evidence-based Ativan treatment program, reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today.

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