Ativan, Alcohol Effects, and Dangers

Drunk young man sleeping on sofa after party at home. Table with food and drinks alcohol is visible.

The National Institute in Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that, in 2019, just over 25% of individuals aged 18 years old and over admitted to binge drinking in the previous month. When you add Ativan into the mix, the effects of both drugs are increased.

This can lead to severe health issues and may even be fatal.

What Are The Effects Of Alcohol?

People drink for a variety of reasons such, as helping them cope with emotional trauma, esteem issues, to become more sociable, or it can be due to a family history of alcohol addiction.

By entering the brain through the bloodstream, alcohol can affect a range of neurotransmitters, in particular GABA and glutamate. Through its interaction with these, a person can feel less socially awkward and more relaxed.

Alcohol also weakens the central nervous system (CNS). The result can be a reduced heart rate and slower breathing.

What is Ativan?

Ativan is also known as lorazepam. It is prescribed as a short-term solution to:

  • Help people alleviate anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol withdrawal

Side effects of Ativan are:

  • Feeling drowsy
  • Experiencing lightheadedness
  • Poor coordination
  • Bouts of dizziness
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Fatigue

Ativan also influences the GABA, by boosting its effect. So, to this degree, it has a similar effect as alcohol. It reduces the amount of fear and anxiety that a person is experiencing and enhances a sense of calmness.

Medical professionals prescribe Ativan as a short-term solution. That’s because there is the risk of developing a dependency or addiction to it.

Can You Drink On Ativan?

As with any prescribed medication, there is the possibility that Ativan can be abused. One way this misuse can occur is to combine it with alcohol.

A reason behind mixing these two drugs is to enhance the feelings they provide. That is, the person may want to relax to a greater degree than is offered by taking only one substance.

It could also be that someone is struggling to sleep and so considers combing Ativan and alcohol to increase the sedative effect.

The danger lies in how both drugs working together can affect the CNS. A person’s heart rate and breathing drop as a result of taking either Ativan or alcohol. When consumed in combination, there is the risk that heart rate and breathing decrease to dangerous or fatal levels.

How Long After Drinking Can I Take Ativan?

Before drinking alcohol, you will need to wait until Ativan is cleansed from your system. This period is determined by the half-life of the drug (which is the time it takes for half of the Ativan to leave your body).

It can take up to 20 hours for one half-life to occur. To be completely cleared from your system it takes Ativan about 5 half-lives. So, you need to wait at least 4 days before you can have alcohol.

For those who struggle with alcohol addiction, then abstinence from drinking is vital.

Can You Still Take Ativan After Drinking?

For those on Ativan, there can be lapses in abstaining from drinking. When these occur, then you will need to wait for the alcohol to be removed from your system before taking Ativan again.

How long this period is depends on how much alcohol you have had. Your body is capable of eliminating one standard drink every hour. So if you have had 10 standard drinks, then you need at least a 10-hour waiting period before taking your medication.


Alcohol and Ativan have similar effects on the body. They act on the CNS to help relax an individual.

It can be tempting for some to take both substances together. The motivation for doing so is to increase the sensations offered by the experience.

That can heighten the risk of the person having an adverse medical reaction due to a drop in blood pressure and decreased breathing. It’s advisable to abstain from alcohol if you are prescribed Ativan.

If you are struggling with dependency issues, seek professional medical advice and support. There are substance abuse professionals who can readily help you recover from alcohol dependence or addiction, and help you create the kind of life you truly desire.

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