Lisa W., who shares her recovery her story for Heroes in Recovery couldn’t shake alcohol and Ativan from their merciless grip on her life. After returning home from yet another shot at rehab, “My life was insane,” she says of those days, “I went back to two full-time jobs, caring for everyone I knew except myself, not working any planned recovery.”

Three months later she found herself back in rehab. “I walked into the treatment center raw. I was spent. I was done…I didn’t want to live, and I was too afraid to die…I went on to stay over 45 days in rehab, and I did everything they told me to do (this time). I didn’t care what it was. I knew what I had been doing was not working. I was reborn there.”

It is a common — and potentially deadly — practice to combine Ativan with other substances. Taken alone, Ativan (generically called lorazepam) is a fast-acting tranquilizer. It slows down brain function. This can bring on feelings ranging from deep relaxation to euphoria. Drugs that suppress central nervous system activity are particularly bad to mix with Ativan. Naturally, all prescription drugs should be taken under the guidance of a doctor.1

What Happens when Ativan and Alcohol Are Combined?

As a sedative, Ativan may help control anxiety or insomnia. However, there are people who misuse this and other types of drugs. Some take more than prescribed. Some take drugs without medical monitoring. Those who take Ativan recreationally often mix it with alcohol. They likely do this to enhance the drug’s sedative qualities. Basically, alcohol makes Ativan more accessible to the brain.

Together, Ativan and alcohol can produce these side effects:

Loss of motor coordinationEmotional depressionSlurred speechLabored breathingConfusion
Episodes of amnesia, or blackoutsWeaknessLoss of consciousnessComa

Ativan and Opiates



1 “Ativan.” Food and Drug Administration, Reference ID: 4029608, September 2016. Web. Accessed 28 July 2017.

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2 “Harmful Interaction: Mixing Alcohol with Medicines.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Publication No. 13–5329, 2014.Web. Accessed 28 July 2017.

3 “FDA Warns about Serious Risks and Death when Combining Opioid Pain or Cough Medicines with Benzodiazepines; Requires Its Strongest Warning.” Drug Safety Communications, Food and Drug Administration, 31 August 2016.Web. Accessed 28 July 2017.

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4 “Polydrug Abuse: A Review of Opioid and Benzodiazepine Combination Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 125, Issue Numbers 1-2. 1 September 2012.Web. Accessed 28 July 2017.