Life is stressful. People develop many ways to cope with this stress. Some are healthy. Others are not. One unhealthy coping method is recreational Ativan use. Doctors prescribe Ativan for anxiety and panic disorders. This makes the drug seem safe or harmless, especially if you’re taking the drug to self-medicate symptoms like these. However even well-intentioned recreational use leads to issues like addiction.

What Is Recreational Drug Use?

Recreational drug use takes many shapes. Merriam-Webster defines a recreational drug as, “a drug (such as cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamine) used without medical justification for its psychoactive effects often in the belief that occasional use of such a substance is not habit-forming or addictive.”1 This definition is problematic, as it only lists commonly illegal substances. It does not reference the fact that prescription drugs can be and often are more commonly misused than illegal ones.

In fact as early as 2007 the Office of National Drug Control Policy recognized, “Next to marijuana, the most common illegal drugs teens are using to get high are prescription medications.”2 Recreational drug use includes misuse of prescription drugs like Ativan. Drug misuse and abuse includes taking a drug for its intended purpose but without medical approval or supervision.

What Does Ativan Look Like?

Lorazepam tabletsAtivan is available as an oral tablet, an intravenous solution, an injectable drug, or an oral concentrate.

Most recreational users have access to the oral tablets, which can be taken by mouth or snorted in the form of a powder.

What Is Ativan?

Ativan is a brand name for lorazepam. It is one of many benzodiazepine drugs. This class of drugs has calming effects on brain, nerves, and body. It slows mental and physical processes and can produce pleasurable or euphoric effects. It has valuable medical properties. It also has the potential to cause mental and physical health issues.

What Happens When You Take Ativan Recreationally?

Any Ativan use comes with side effects. The National Alliance on Mental Illness lists the following common side effects:

  • Feeling dizzy, drowsy, fatigued, or lightheaded
  • Impaired coordination, decreased ability to concentrate 3

Side effects interrupt daily life. They affect how you feel physically and mentally. They can get in the way of experiencing the world around you. They can get in the way of doing what you enjoy. You are more likely to experience these side effects if you are using the drug recreationally. You are more likely to experience them to a greater degree. Dizziness and coordination issues can lead to accidents and injury.

Less common but more dangerous side effects can include the following:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble speaking
  • Feeling very tired or passing out
  • Increased heart rate
  • Memory impairment

As with common side effects, less common ones are more likely and more serious when you use Ativan recreationally. If you use Ativan with other drugs or alcohol, even more issues can arise. You increase your risk for dependence, addiction, and overdose.

Other Issues Related to Ativan Use

Recreational Ativan use does more than put your health and safety at risk. It can also jeopardize your personal freedom and your future. When you use Ativan recreationally, you do not get it legally from a doctor. You may get it from friends or family. You may turn to in-person or online dealers. Users who do have a prescription can get more of the drug by requesting prescriptions from multiple doctors (a practice known as doctor shopping) or by pretending to lose medication. All of these methods of getting Ativan are illegal. They can result in fines or even jail time.

Addiction Causing

Using Ativan in unsafe ways can easily lead to addiction.

Lorazepam exerts powerful effects on the brain cells that respond to GABA, a neurotransmitter that can make you feel calm, sleepy and serene.

Ativan Use and Withdrawal Issues

If you use Ativan recreationally, you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the drug or try to take less of it. These symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle pain

If you’ve been taking high doses of the drug, you may even be at risk for seizures during withdrawal. Medical supervision for detox and recovery ensures you stay safe and are as comfortable as possible.

Ending Ativan Use Issues

Black Bear Lodge at SunsetTake the complications of Ativan use out of your life. End the issues of recreational drug use. Call Black Bear Lodge at 706-914-2327 and learn more about effective, compassionate addiction treatment. We offer an integrated array of recovery services. You can get the care you need. You can find a drug-free life.


Merriam-Webster. “Recreational Drug.” Accessed 20 Jun. 2017.

2 Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Teens and Prescription Drugs.” Feb. 2007. Accessed 20 Jun. 2017.

3 National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Lorazepam (Ativan).” Oct. 2016. Accessed 20 Jun. 2017.