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High on Ativan: What Are The Dangers?

Last Updated: February 7, 2024

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Reviewed by Daniel Hochman, MD

High On Ativan: Is It Possible?

Yes, Ativan can result in a “high.” On Ativan, users have reported feelings of relaxation; sensations similar to smoking marijuana; waves of inebriation, similar to alcohol intoxication; the sensation of floating; hallucinations that make things look alive.

Side Effects Of Ativan?

Side effects of Ativan can be severe and include amnesia; a fogged mind; slurred speech; talking nonsense; impaired motor skills; uncontrollable eye movements; drowsiness; muscle weakness; twitching; fainting; insomnia; nightmares; body pains; aggressive behavior; and suicidal thoughts. These and other impairments may result in falls and accidents if operating machinery.

Ativan High & Recreational Effects

Ativan (Lorazepam) is a strong benzodiazepine often used in the treatment of anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. Ativan is also sometimes prescribed to fight nausea caused by chemotherapy. However, the drug is habit-forming and can result in addiction when used for long-term periods.

Like many other benzodiazepines (such as Xanax and Valium), if Ativan is not taken as prescribed, it can induce tolerance and lead to dependency. The sedative effects of benzodiazepines can also cause what is reported as a “high”: a subtle, euphoric feeling.

The dosage taken as well as the method of Ativan ingestion affects the experience. Prescribed Ativan is typically consumed as a 0.5mg to 2mg pill. When abused, some people snort Ativan, which can lead to damage in nasal cavity and lead to a sinus infection. There are reported cases of putting Ativan pill under the tongue as well.

Users report that high on Ativan results in:

  • Feelings of mellow relaxation
  • Sensations similar to smoking weed
  • Waves of inebriation
  • Body sensations, like floating in the air
  • Hallucinations that make things look alive
  • Calm mind that can be compared to meditation
  • Feeling slow-paced, a sense of stillness

Ativan Negative Experience & Side Effects

Attempts to get high on Ativan result in detrimental side effects and “bad trips.” Ativan users have reported:

  • Amnesia
  • Having their mind in a fog
  • Slurred speech
  • Talking nonsense
  • Impaired motor skills (walking like a zombie)
  • Uncontrolled eye movements
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Twitching
  • Fainting
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Body pains
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts

People also report that although Ativan causes some problems with their motor coordination, and some people experience accidental falls.

Some users also report being talkative and oversharing with people they don’t know, which can also be risky for their well-being. Generally speaking, Ativan, like any other benzodiazepine, can cause relaxation and increases people’s self-confidence. These effects are similar to those of alcohol intoxication. In higher doses, Ativan can lead to euphoria, excessive talkativeness, and sedation.

This can be not only uncomfortable for the users, but it may lead to risky behavior, which can result in dangerous acts for the people around. For example, driving while highly sedated can be fatal.

Ativan Potential Dangers & Abuse Potential

The most concerning aspect of Ativan abuse is how readily the medication is prescribed by doctors. Often, people don’t consider Ativan for a dangerous drug. Mixed with other drugs, however, the effect Ativan has on individuals can lead to death. Ativan should never be taken with alcohol.

Also, Ativan addiction can cause severe withdrawal symptoms; never stop Ativan abruptly, but taper it down. The usual dosage is between 2 and 6 mg per day, and taking more than 5 mg at a time can lead to dangerous respiratory problems. Talk to a health professional about ways to reduce and quit the drug, and also about available treatment options.

Last but not least, comorbid disorders may occur during Ativan abuse or withdrawal. As Ativan can cause depression and irrational fear, therapy should be provided. Note that some patients report real suicide attempts. Ativan affects each person differently, so take it only as prescribed and only for a short-term period.

Page Sources

  1. Tthe U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ativan® C-IV (lorazepam). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/017794s044lbl.pdf.
  2. Funderburk F. R. Relative abuse liability of lorazepam and diazepam: an evaluation in 'recreational' drug users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 1988; 22(3):215-22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3234245.

Published on: February 4th, 2016

Updated on: February 7th, 2024

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.

Medically Reviewed by

Daniel Hochman, MD

Dr. Daniel Hochman is a board certified Psychiatrist and leader in the field of addiction. He is the creator of a revolutionary online addiction recovery program, selfrecovery.org. Dr. Hochman advocates for using strategies proven through hard science, and describes them in ways that are easy to understand and incorporate into one’s life. His treatment approach focuses on the underlying emotional causes of addiction to achieve a deep, lasting life change.


Leave a comment

  • Bob
    I take Ativan for anxiety, and this article generally describes my experience well.
  • lorraine drake
    my son took a very small amount one half of a 0.5 pill and was so drunk he could not walk silly and laughing droopy eye lids he is handi capped and takes this before dental work is this okay
    • Natalie
      I take ativan, the same dose for dental work as well. I’m 23. I find it helps to calm my nerves. A lot of dentists will actually write a prescription for it to be taken before the procedure. Always talk to your prescriber about questions or concerns. Hope this was somewhat helpful. <3
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