Ativan (lorazepam) is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine that can be an effective short-term anti-anxiety medication. However, it is associated with a very high risk for developing dependency or addiction, even if used as directed. In view of this, it is important to understand what treatment options are available, how to wean off Ativan safely, what to expect during rehab, and how to maximize success after completion of a rehab program.
Addiction Treatment Options
Ativan addiction is caused by significant chemical changes in the brain that can persist for weeks or months after Ativan use stops. Finding a quality rehab program that can help address the challenges associated with Ativan addiction treatment is one of the best ways to maximize the likelihood of a successful outcome.
- Medical Detox
Ativan has a short half-life (12 to 18 hours), so withdrawal symptoms occur quickly after the last dose. Attempts to flush Ativan out of your system are not going to help with the withdrawal symptoms, and may actually bring them on faster. Ativan detox and withdrawal are uncomfortable, both physically and psychologically. In extreme cases, rapid Ativan detox can be lethal. It is recommended that Ativan detox be done under the supervision of medical professionals. Ativan should not be quit “cold turkey.” Prior to detox, an evaluation should be done and a treatment plan established. Most people are prescribed a tapered dose regimen to wean off of Ativan gradually. A benzodiazepine with a longer half-life may be prescribed to attenuate the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
- Residential Rehab
After the initial detox period, many people find that a period in a residential rehab facility allows them to successfully navigate through the first days and weeks of sobriety. Ativan rehab programs offer clients a safe environment with 24/7 access to medical and emotional support. Ativan rehabilitation is not an easy process and avoiding triggers in the early days of sobriety is crucial for success.
- Outpatient Rehab
People with mild Ativan use disorders may find that an outpatient program is sufficient. However, most people enter outpatient rehab after a stay in a residential facility. Outpatient rehab offers the client a way to adjust to sober living without giving up the safety net that rehab facilities provide. Outpatient rehab can vary in intensity. Most rehab facilities offer outpatient programs, with some programs requiring 24/7 commitment and others being bi-weekly or weekly sessions. The goal of outpatient rehab is to help the client reorient to living a sober lifestyle. Many clients develop strong social networks as they progress through outpatient rehab.
- Dual Diagnosis
Many substance use disorders develop as a way to cope with mental health issues or past traumas. It is important to find a rehab facility with a multidisciplinary team that can evaluate whether a dual diagnosis is appropriate. Because Ativan is prescribed as an anti-anxiety drug, most people who develop Ativan dependency struggle with underlying anxiety disorders. Medical professionals who can address anxiety disorders in conjunction with Ativan addiction can maximize rehab success.
- Aftercare and Sober Living
Sobriety after addiction generally requires a lifelong commitment and requires constant maintenance. Quality rehab programs provide long term support for clients in the form of aftercare. Aftercare can come in many forms, but they share a common theme: People in recovery are more successful when they have peer support and access to counseling. Aftercare can include therapy sessions, case management, education, and relapse prevention therapy. Many people who participate in aftercare programs also find new activities and develop strong social networks that can provide lifelong support.
How Long Does Rehab Take?
Detox and acute withdrawal should be done under the supervision of medical professionals and can take anywhere from a week to several months. Protracted withdrawal symptoms are common and generally persist for months, possibly years.
What Does Ativan Rehab Cost?
Rehab cost varies depending on the intensity and duration of the program, the quality of care, and whether significant medical interventions are needed. A 30-day residential program, including medical detox, can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $25,000 for a luxury program. Partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs typically cost anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars for 30-days. Outpatient care can range from $1,000 to $10,000 for 30 days. Other costs that may be associated with a rehab program include admission fees, medical costs and enrollment in aftercare programs.
Does Insurance Cover Rehab?
Many insurance policies (including Medicaid and Medicare) can help defray the cost of rehab. Rehab without insurance is also possible in many cases.
- Government Assistance Programs: Many states offer funding assistance for people seeking rehab.
- Sliding Fee Programs: Several rehab facilities provide sliding fee scales.
- Private Pay Programs: These programs are often exclusive treatment centers for people who can afford to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.
Many people who need rehab services cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with private pay programs, although some people have had success funding their rehab using non-traditional methods like GoFundMe or Kickstarter. Unfortunately, the quality of rehab is often linked to the expense required to participate in the program.
Choosing a Rehab Center for Ativan Abuse
Due to the intense detox and withdrawal associated with Ativan addiction, a rehab center should have a multidisciplinary team that can address both physical and psychological aspects of recovering from Ativan addiction. Consider the following factors when it comes time to choose a rehab center:
- Location. Avoiding triggers is paramount, especially in the early stages of recovery. Sometimes clients are more successful when they choose a program that is not close to home.
- Cost of Detox. Detox and rehab can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Many insurance policies cover some of the cost. Look for centers that offer sliding fee scales. Some states offer low-cost rehab for low-income residents.
- Methods of Treatment Provided. Ativan addiction often requires medically supervised detox and withdrawal that is followed by educational and motivational sessions. Quality rehab programs can address physical and emotional wellbeing.
- Reviews and Success Rates. Be wary of programs that tout a 100% success rate. Quality rehab programs will be up-front about success rates, and some may provide endorsements from successful patients. Accreditation through The Joint Commission (jointcommission.org) or CARF International (carf.org) will guarantee a certain standard of care.
- Duration of Treatment. Most programs recommend a residential stay that can last for days, weeks, even months, followed by outpatient care. Quality rehab centers are proactive about providing clients with aftercare options.
- Staff to Patient Ratio. For inpatient rehab facilities, a staff to patient ratio of less than five to one ensures that the staff can dedicate substantial time to each client.
What to Expect When You go to Rehab
When you first enter the facility, expect an intake process that will include an honest discussion regarding drug use and medical history. Rehab will be challenging, but the rewards of persevering through the discomfort is well worth it. You will meet other people in recovery who may become lifelong friends. You may go on to develop new hobbies or discover new emotional outlets to replace the negative activities that led to drug use.
What Happens After Rehab?
Following residential care or intensive outpatient programs, you should be proactive about continuing to participate in outpatient and aftercare sessions. While the first few weeks of recovery are often the most physically challenging, adjusting to sober living can be the most psychologically challenging. You might be faced with triggers, including friends you used to use drugs with, or the stress of everyday life. By maintaining connections with therapists, rehab facilitators and peers in recovery, you will have a strong support group that can help you through tough times and celebrate great days.
How Rehab Improves Recovery
Recovery from Ativan addiction poses unique challenges that are best addressed by an experienced rehab facility that offers a multidisciplinary approach. Ativan withdrawal is complex and involves uncomfortable, dangerous physical and psychological symptoms. When people undergo withdrawal under the supervision of a multidisciplinary staff, they will have someone available to answer questions and address concerns. These professionals can also evaluate whether someone is a candidate for pharmacological interventions (e.g., long-lasting benzodiazepines) and will be able to address medical emergencies.
Following the detox and acute withdrawal periods, rehab facilities offer counseling and activities that will translate into tools and techniques that will be valuable as individuals reenter the world. Outpatient and aftercare programs are designed to provide continuing support and many people develop strong peer networks.
Key Points: Understanding Ativan Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Keep the following key points in mind when considering Ativan addiction treatment and rehab:
- Ativan can cause dependency and addiction after only a few weeks of use
- Detox and acute withdrawal from Ativan pose unique challenges, including the need to taper, that are best addressed in a quality rehab facility with a multidisciplinary team
- Ativan addiction treatment facilities can evaluate whether a dual diagnosis is appropriate often provide the best outcomes for people in recovery
- Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is common with Ativan recovery and can last for months or years
- Ativan rehab can be expensive but there are ways to offset the costs (insurance, sliding fee scales)
If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, help is available. Call The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health to speak with a representative about how addiction treatment can help.
Drugs.com. “Lorazepam.” November 2017. Accessed July 26, 2019.
Lann, Meredith; Molina, D.K. “A Fatal Case of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal.” The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, June 2009. Accessed July 27, 2019.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Protracted Withdrawal: Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory.” July 2010. Accessed July 27, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.