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Lorazepam Tapering

This entry was posted in Benzodiazepine and tagged on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

It is amazing to us that the medical profession, particularly medical detox facilities, still continues messing up on Lorazepam tapering and withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines like lorazepam (Ativan) cannot be treated the way other drug withdrawals are; they need to be managed gently, strategically, and compassionately for an effective result.

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successful lorazepam tapering
Alternative to Meds has helped thousands of clients for more than a decade and a half, tapering off benzodiazepines and other medications. Please review our published evidence regarding the success of our programs. Not everyone has a nightmare coming off benzodiazepines, but it is more often than not that a person runs into major troubles trying to wean off potent drugs such as benzodiazepines, especially without the level of help and assistance that is truly required. Clearing out a person’s body burden of accumulated toxins is but one step in our program, that greatly eases the process, and makes it much easier to tolerate and heal from.
Our best patient is usually the worst patient seen by other facilities. We are the handlers of misfits, those who are clearly not an “addict”, but also are given little support by the medical community. This video is of a woman who was tragically near the end. She could barely walk and had little hope of resurrection. Yet, she got off of benzos and antidepressants, took up hiking, and regained her professional career.
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There has been an 8-fold increase in deaths related to benzodiazepines since 1999,1 resulting in many who are seeking lorazepam tapering help. Getting off lorazepam can be difficult to accomplish on one’s own as the withdrawals can be quite extreme. Often, the prescribing doctor may have no idea how to get off lorazepam or other similar addictive drugs. These side effects of withdrawal from lorazepam can be severe and hard to tolerate for someone trying to quit lorazepam, and that scenario often drives ongoing addiction to the drug simply to avoid these physical side effects. Alternative to Meds Center can help.

Our lorazepam tapering program has been devised with client comfort and safety being crucial factors to success. Whether the client is a woman of childbearing age who is trying to quit lorazepam before conceiving or simply anyone who has been suffering from dependence and just feels stopping lorazepam is the best choice for health reasons, we can provide the level of care required to accomplish the goal of getting off lorazepam safely.

Concerns About Lorazepam

Over the last two decades, not only has the number of prescriptions risen, but the number of ongoing prescriptions has also soared. The FDA label information from 2016 recommends the drug only be taken for 2 to 4 weeks. However, from statistics, we see that the drug is often prescribed for much longer periods of time.2 From these stats, it can be concluded that many people are becoming dependent on the drug, taking it for much longer periods, and will need assistance and guidance for stopping lorazepam without injury.

Benzodiazepine injury can occur when lorazepam cessation is too abrupt. As everyone is a unique individual, how fast or slow lorazepam tapering should be done requires extremely well-monitored and medically supervised oversight.

Withdrawal from Lorazepam Can Be Harsh

loazepam withdrawal symptomsA person who decides to embark on reducing or eliminating medications may already be in a somewhat fragile condition. It is important to provide adequate care before, during, and after the tapering process to ensure overall and sustainable success in their journey.

Some of the reactions during withdrawal from lorazepam can be extreme and tend to worsen in relation to dosage, how long a person was taking the drug, the person’s overall health, and age, which is a particularly important factor to consider. Elderly persons may be particularly vulnerable to extreme side effects and adverse reactions when stopping lorazepam. Therefore, we must proceed gently and attentively throughout the process 1

Lorazepam Withdrawal Symptoms can Include:
  • Suicidality
  • Worsened depression
  • Seizures, convulsions
  • Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
  • Tics, jerking motions, or other involuntary motions
  • Akathisia
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Tension, restlessness
  • Agitation, irritability
  • Altered perceptions
  • Confusion
  • Loss of memory
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and environment
  • Headache

These and other symptoms can be more extreme if getting off lorazepam has been done too quickly. These horrific symptoms often include both physiological and mental distress and discomfort.

Is Lorazepam Addictive?

Although the vast majority of prescriptions for lorazepam come from trusted GPs, the answer is a resounding “YES” according to independent researchers as well as the FDA.2 Often, original symptoms such as insomnia or anxiety will return and even worsen while taking benzodiazepines which leads a person to feel they need more of the drug for relief. A person who is desperate for relief will often choose to continue the drug rather than force themselves to endure a torturous and debilitating condition. Pain, both physical and psychological, is the biggest driver of addiction and dependence on benzodiazepine drugs.3


These injuries can be long-lasting and could lead to years of suffering these after-effects.

How to Get Off Lorazepam Safely and Comfortably

Alternative to Meds Center offers a program for how to get off lorazepam in a gentle manner that can be much more easily tolerated and can be surprisingly mild.

This is because we have refined the lorazepam tapering process over the course of well over a decade and a half and have helped thousands of clients to successfully accomplish successful lorazepam cessation.

Methods used at the Alternative to Meds Center are designed to accomplish gentle lorazepam withdrawal, flanked by a wide array of comfort therapies to ease the process considerably. Protocols used in lorazepam tapering are chosen to assist each individual in ways that are most effective for that individual. These can include substitution tapering, medication crossover, interdosing withdrawal, and bridge medications. The client works with their medical team to plan the implementation of the protocols that will best fit the person’s needs and unique profile including their health history, age, and tolerance levels. Frequent consultations are in place to ensure that the program is progressing in a positive and comfortable manner. Patient input is highly weighted as the program moves forward.

During their stay at the center, we also provide many adjunct therapies including CBT and other counseling protocols for clients to assist with their recovery. These types of therapy have been clinically proven to successfully alleviate symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. Other nonpharmacological interventions have also proven very successful and include exercise programs, revamping the diet, therapeutic massage, colon hydrotherapy, yoga, Qi Gong, acupuncture, IV + NAD treatments, targeted supplementation, nebulized glutathione, art therapy, equine therapy, and a host of others. You can review these in more detail on our services overview pages.5-11

Addressing Precursors and Root Causes is Important

lorazepam tapering root causesWe can look for precursors to a client’s original symptoms, whether these were depression, anxiety, insomnia, or others. We know that toxicity is a common culprit 4 which can be tested for. The toxic load can be gently purged from the body, often leading to welcomed relief of these original symptoms and which can have significant positive impacts on a person’s well-being.

Diet is another key element of natural mental health, which is well-supported in our lorazepam tapering program. Mineral and vitamin stores can be replenished, also leading to great improvements in overall wellness. Trauma and lifestyle changes can be thoughtfully and gently addressed through private counseling and coaching, as well as pain management techniques that can be both learned for self-care as well as administered by expert therapists available to our clients in-program.

Many other factors can be addressed in treating original symptoms and when the client has experienced relief from these and is stably sleeping and eating well, then the tapering process can begin and can progress as gently and as slowly as is needed to accomplish the task without distress or suffering.

How to Find out More About Our Lorazepam Tapering Protocols

Please contact Alternative to Meds Center to find out more details about this well-managed lorazepam tapering program, and how it could well be the program that you or a loved one has been hoping to find.

1. Chatterjee R “Big Hike in Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Traced to Primary Care Doctors” 2019 Jan 25, NPR [INTERNET] [cited 2022 Aug 23]

2. “Guidelines for the Rational Use of Benzodiazepines – When and What to Use” Royal Victoria Infirmary Department of Psychiatry, Newcastle on Tyne, UK, [INTERNET] 1994 Jul, US National Library of Medicine [cited 2022 Aug 23]

3. FDA approved Lorazepam label information issued 2016 Sep, [cited 2022 Aug 23]

4. Kawada T Katsumata M, Suzuki H, Li Q, Inagaki H, Nakadai A, Shimizu T, Hirata K, Hirata Y “Insomnia as a sequela of sarin toxicity several years after exposure in Tokyo subway lines” US National Library of Medicine [INTERNET] 2005 Jun [cited 2022 Aug 23]

5. Baandrup L, Ebdrup BH, Rasmussen JØ, Lindschou J, Gluud C, Glenthøj BY. Pharmacological interventions for benzodiazepine discontinuation in chronic benzodiazepine users. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Mar 15;3(3):CD011481. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011481.pub2. PMID: 29543325; PMCID: PMC6513394. [cited 2022 Aug 23]

6. Darker CD, Sweeney BP, Barry JM, Farrell MF, Donnelly-Swift E. Psychosocial interventions for benzodiazepine harmful use, abuse or dependence. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(5):CD009652. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009652.pub2. PMID: 26106751. [cited 2022 Aug 23]

7. Otto MW, McHugh RK, Simon NM, Farach FJ, Worthington JJ, Pollack MH. Efficacy of CBT for benzodiazepine discontinuation in patients with panic disorder: Further evaluation. Behav Res Ther. 2010 Aug;48(8):720-7. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 Apr 28. PMID: 20546699; PMCID: PMC5962448. [cited 2022 Aug 23]

8. Khong E, Sim MG, Hulse G. Benzodiazepine dependence. Aust Fam Physician. 2004 Nov;33(11):923-6. PMID: 15584332. [cited 2022 Aug 23]

9. Jorm AF, Christensen H, Griffiths KM, Parslow RA, Rodgers B, Blewitt KA. Effectiveness of complementary and self-help treatments for anxiety disorders. Med J Aust. 2004 Oct 4;181(S7):S29-46. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb06352.x. PMID: 15462640. [cited 2022 Aug 23]

10. McPherson F, McGraw L. Treating generalized anxiety disorder using complementary and alternative medicine. Altern Ther Health Med. 2013 Sep-Oct;19(5):45-50. PMID: 23981404. [cited 2022 Aug 23]

11. Taylor DJ, Peterson AL, Pruiksma KE, Hale WJ, Young-McCaughan S, Wilkerson A, Nicholson K, Litz BT, Dondanville KA, Roache JD, Borah EV, Brundige A, Mintz J; STRONG STAR Consortium. Impact of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia disorder on sleep and comorbid symptoms in military personnel: a randomized clinical trial. Sleep. 2018 Jun 1;41(6). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy069. PMID: 29618098. [cited 2022 Aug 23]

Originally Published Nov 5, 2019 by Lyle Murphy

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Lorazepam Tapering
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