The Ativan detox process can be an excruciating ordeal and often requires medical care to prevent severe symptoms. Knowing what steps to take can help make the process easier.
Ativan’s Effects on the Brain & Body
Ativan, one of several benzodiazepine class drugs, interacts with the brain’s chemical system in ways that can compromise your physical and mental health over time. Typically prescribed for short-term use only, Ativan does a good job of relieving anxiety, reducing seizures, and treating insomnia. It does this by increasing GABA, a neurotransmitter that slows activities in the brain and central nervous system.
After taking Ativan for the prescribed four to eight weeks, it can be difficult to stop taking the drug. It only takes four weeks of continued use for the brain to become physically dependent on Ativan’s effects. Physical dependence leaves the brain unable to function normally without the drug.
Dependence brings about a range of distressing side effects that can easily drive you back to using Ativan. These developments mark the beginning of a cycle of drug abuse and addiction. They also provide clues on how to get Ativan out of your system and why staying the course can be so difficult.
Ativan Elimination Half-Life & Its Effects
Elimination half-life has to do with the length of time it takes half a dose of Ativan to leave your system. While Ativan is one of the more fast-acting benzodiazepines or benzos, it has a long half-life of anywhere from 12 to 34 hours depending on your physical makeup. If you’re considering benzos detox, the worst of withdrawal will likely occur within this 12 to 34-hour time-frame.
What’s even more concerning about Ativan metabolism processes is the metabolites that linger in the body long after the drug clears your system. Metabolites are byproducts of metabolism that contain residues of Ativan. This means certain types of drug testing (urine, hair, and saliva) will come up positive if metabolites are still in your system.
Here are general guidelines for the different types of testing:
- Blood – can detect Ativan for up to 24 hours
- Saliva – can detect Ativan for up to 2.5 days
- Urine – can detect Ativan for up to 10 days
- Hair – can detect Ativan for up to 90 days
Take The First Step Towards Recovery
Talk to a Intake Coordinator
How to Get Ativan Out of Your System – Things You Can Do
An Ativan detox will only go so fast due to the leftover metabolites but there are some things you can do to speed things along. Depending on your overall health, it typically takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to clear out your system. Here are a handful of things you can do along the way:
Supporting your body’s natural detoxing processes offers one of the quickest ways to get Ativan out of your system. Hydration is one of those essential processes. More specifically, staying hydrated by drinking water. Water helps the liver do its job, processing and expelling chemicals and waste materials from the body.
The more hydrated you are the faster Ativan metabolites leave your system. For men, drinking 125 ounces of water per day provides adequate hydration. For women, it’s 91 ounces. These amounts may vary depending on your activity level and daily diet. Vegetables and fruit tend to have a high water content, so be sure to take that into consideration.
Regular exercise offers a range of health benefits, one of which is strengthening your body’s detoxification system. Like a healthy metabolism, regular exercise keeps the trains moving, cleaning out the cells, and flushing out waste. Exercise also helps reduce inflammation, which is another way your body retains waste materials.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep goes a long way towards supporting your body’s health and will also help get Ativan out of your system. The recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night gives your body the time it needs to repair cells, rebuild cells, and clear out toxins that accumulate during the day. If getting proper rest is difficult for you, consider trying to follow a sleep schedule. Also, blue light displays from computers and mobile devices can make it harder to fall asleep so it helps to reduce screen time as much as possible.
Eating foods that naturally speed up your metabolism offers another way to speed the Ativan detox process along. Likewise, not eating foods that slow metabolism also helps.
Foods rich in antioxidants act as natural cleaners in the body, helping cells clear out free radical materials. Keeping your cells in good working order helps boost metabolism. Antioxidant-rich foods to choose from include vegetables, berries, nuts, fruits, coffee, and green tea.
Since a big part of the metabolic process occurs in your gut, eating foods that promote gut health will naturally speed up your metabolism. Foods high in prebiotics do just that. Prebiotics feed the healthy bacteria in your gut, which not only boosts metabolism but also clears out waste materials. Foods high in prebiotics include asparagus, tomatoes, bananas, oats, and artichokes.
Things to Consider
Once Ativan starts to interfere with brain function, going cold turkey can cause more harm than good. Ativan withdrawal can bring on severe withdrawal effects, including panic attacks, hallucinations, and seizures. Stopping drug use altogether may also cause rebound symptoms to develop, which can be worse than the original symptoms that Ativan was prescribed to treat.
Before trying to get Ativan out of your system consider Ativan rehab where doctors can help you taper off the drug. Medication treatments used in rehab help reduce withdrawal effects during the tapering process, which makes Ativan detox bearable. While it may seem more convenient to do a “do-it-yourself detox,” the likelihood of experiencing severe withdrawal and relapse isn’t worth the risk.
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Hooked on benzodiazepines: GABAA Receptor Subtypes and Addiction
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Water, Hydration, and Health
- ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.