Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Medicine For Panic Attacks - Ativan

Ativan is a frequently prescribed medicine for panic attacks.

Have you ever taken it? Then you will know what I mean when I describe what it feels like to take it as a remedy for a panic attack.

For fast action you can put a tablet or two of Ativan under your tongue - don't chew or swallow it - just let it dissolve. It will move fairly quickly into your bloodstream. Somehow the area under your tongue is an expressway to your circulatory system.

At first you don't feel a thing.

Then you start to realize that you feel much less tense. A sense of numbness seems to float into you, and you suddenly notice that you are distant from everything. You feel indifferent to what is going on around you. You notice you are no longer anxious. Whatever caused the feelings of panic appears to have lost its strength.

You try to stand up to get up and walk and find that you are off balance, maybe dizzy. You think you might need help walking.

You feel like the terror and fear have gone somewhere else.

You don't feel sleepy but you could easily drift off into sleep.

You don't have any worries or cares.

You are way too drowsy to drive or to do anything that requires fast reactions or clear thinking. You may notice your speech is slurred.

I loved the feeling of Ativan. Not so much at the time I actually took this medicine for panic attacks to manage my intense feelings of anxiety and fear - but afterwards I would find myself thinking back to the sense of lack of panic and kind of being out of it and I would really want that feeling again.

Ativan is actually one of the many tranquilizers that are commonly prescribed for anxiety and panic. The biggest drawback of Ativan, as a medicine for panic attacks is that it is highly addictive.

I can certainly attest to that.


  1. I'm very interested in this post, because in mid-December of last year, I finished an eight-month taper off Ativan, which I'd taken for about five years. Tapering off the drug was the hardest thing I've ever done.

    As far as I'm concerned, benzos should be illegal. They can end up causing the very things they're prescribed to treat--anxiety, depression, agitation, and so on--so doctors up the dosages in order to deal with the increased symptoms. And the worst part is that most people are not warned about how addictive these drugs are. I certainly wasn't. In fact, I told the doctors who prescribed it that I absolutely did not want to take anything addictive, and they all assured me that it was fine.

    The label says that Ativan should only be prescribed for up to two weeks. And yet, month after month, the pharmacist filled my prescriptions, and the insurance company paid for them. It happens all the time; Ativan is the sixth most-prescribed drug in America. And attempting to withdraw too quickly can cause serious problems, including life-threatening seizures, but few doctors are aware of that, either.

    It's a terrible, terrible drug.

    1. "As far as I'm concerned, benzos should be illegal. "

      As far as I am concerned you should be illegal. Because it is people like you who make life a living hell for people like me. Without Ativan living is constant agony. Before Ativan I was left to endure the most frightening death like experiences, including real physical symptoms associated with major death events like heart attack and stroke that left me paralyzed and forced me to go to the emergency room multiple times. If you knew what its like to be constantly thrown into attacks of near death HORROR, and live in constant paranoid fear of more impending attacks and not even be able to leave the house, than you would think dependency is an extremely small price to pay.

      Because of people like you, desperately wanting to end the agony, being functional and getting back to living has become taboo. The relentless torture I would endure otherwise seems to be the socially acceptable thing to do and I am supposed to live the rest of my life in a constant state of recurrent near death agony.

      Ativan has literally saved my life many times. I can now think straight for once. I can go days even weeks without it or a panic attack, but when they come on I simply medicate them away again. I have been taking it at the same dose for over a year. They are effective unlike the antidepressants many doctors prefer to force down my throat because they think Ativan is addictive.

      From what you've said you must not have had REAL panic disorder, because no one in their right mind would ever choose panic, with the symptoms that accompany it, over feeling content, even if you thought its addictive. The solution if it were addictive is to just keep taking it anyways - it's still better than the panic. People take antidepressants for years. I have had horrible withdrawal symptoms from SSRI's that included black outs, nightmares, and brain zaps, and the worse part is SSRI's didn't even work to treat anything leaving me utterly hopeless. How does it make sense than that SSRIs aren't addictive when they use the claim that peoples depression returns when they stop using it as proof that SSRIs work for depression? How is that not a dependency?

      IF you think Ativan is addictive, you are a product of lies perpetuated by an anti-drug cult. And the only reason seizures are even associated with Ativan or benzodiazepines in general is because they are prescribed to treat epilepsy so if they don't take their medication than, duh, they are at risk for the condition coming back. Just like if people with high blood pressure stop taking their beta blockers. The busybodies twist this around in their crusade against what they perceive as a drug that gets you high.

      Benzodiazepine withdrawal was invented by these busybodies who have neither tried Ativan nor had real panic attacks or experienced a severe anxiety disorder and assume that all panic attacks are simply attitude problems or a little nervousness, things which can be talked back to health, and that any chemical that has an observable effect on the mind is an evil drug synonymous with "getting high" (which is wrong, because it doesn't get you high, it doesn't make you in any way impaired or intoxicated or unable to think clearly - in fact it is quite the opposite if you're taking it for legitimate reasons). Ativan simply makes the panic vanish and I have the ability to function and can get on with my life.

    2. it should not be illegal because people like you put down other innicent people down make them feel like shit thats why there is fukken ativan so those people can have balls to go out and chill bitch your life is perfect but think about other people idiot

  2. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with Ativan and congratulations on successfully breaking away from this drug!

    I hope that stories like yours will help others to think carefully before taking this drug.

    I fully agree with you about the dangers of Ativan.

    The very first time I took Ativan was a fairly large dose to combat an episode of intense anxiety. But for days afterwards I would catch myself thinking about Ativan - replaying the sense of relaxation and calm in my head and basically having a bit of a fantasy about it - craving it psychologically.

    At the time I put that down to my own weirdness - wow I must really have an "addictive personality" I am so strange!

    I basically ignored the initial warning my body and mind had given me.

    I had no idea how extremely addictive it was.

    Certainly Ativan does eliminate anxiety very effectively at first, but as you said eventually our bodies build up a resistance and of course larger and larger doses are needed.

    Now there are two problems - the anxiety which is still there and getting worse, and a potential drug addiction.

    I am really sad to hear that Ativan is the sixth most prescribed drug in America.

  3. I can't wait to break free from Ativan. It's an awful drug and getting off is a nightmare. I'm down to .125 mg, and even tapering this seemingly low dose has been a struggle.

    But I'll never give up or give into this drug.

    Thank you for spreading word.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. No one is addicted to 1/4th of a pill. You are probably misdiagnosed M√ľnchausen syndrome as are probably most of the other posters here including the person who made the thread in the first place. None of you seem to know much about REAL anxiety disorders or treating them.

      Normally, reading about other`s experiences helps me with my own symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks but having come across your blog and reading these comments has left me angered because instead of discussing panic disorder you have merely stigmatized it further for those who have improved their conditions greatly with the use of drugs and you have subsequently lowered these disorders to the level of common everyday anxiety which leaves people who struggle with severe ailments like GAD and PD in the dark.

  4. It's a real shame that addictive drugs are being prescribed when there are so many other ways of dealing with panic attacks

  5. Apart from these changes, most kids tend to develop a kind of anxiety that is result of environment around them including exam pressure, peer pressure, other worries about their future and sudden changes

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  6. Hi poslm.. I agree with everything you said. I have panic attacks and I take Ativan. I'm wondering if I can talk to you through emails? My name is Erin.
    Thanks for your time.

  7. I am really interested about the methods on how to relieve anxiety. Individuals who suffer from such problem should meet their physician to be well treated and assisted.

  8. poslm, you do not know wtf you are blabbing about. I will leave it at that. a panic attack may last an hour but ativan lasts MONTHS

  9. ativan has to be THE worst drug ever
    BAR none.

    1. Your ignorance is astonishing. Not only is it not the worst drug, it is one of the tamest of the benzodiazepines. Just because your sorry self can't handle a milligram of dope doesn't mean you know anything; "Jeff"

  10. Hi there, thanks for sharing your experience.

    In India, there is an another drug similar to Ativan, mixed with a "calcium channel blocker" to control high blood pressure named - Lonazap.

    I have got young hypertension (started when I was 22, now I am 34) however 4 years back i started "feeling of doom" or very frequent anxiety attacks and sometime so worst that I couldn't even drive or concentrate on very basic things.

    And in few days I started to see very bad, negative and destructive dreams in which I usually see me dying, my daughter and wife are suffering with bad conditions, etc.

    So one day i decided to consult a psychiatrist and luckily found a good one. In starting he suggested me a number of medications as I was already having very high blood pressure (170/120) and diagnosed with severe anxiety and starting stages of having depression.

    Psychiatrist did also suggest me to take Lonazap as "SOS" medicine and if can be controlled, do not take it as a regular medicine. I do not feel that I cannot live without this medicine but it really suits me if I have sudden increase in my BP or if I feel anxiety disorders.

    Is there somebody out there that uses such medicine only at the time of anxiety and not as a regular course?


  11. I'm currently suffering from repeat panic attacks. The feeling is horrible as I have been at doctors and even to ER multiple times in 1.5 months. I had a panic attack age 20 and dealt with a mild panic disorder for a couple of months. I took Clorazepam and Paxil at the time. The Paxil made things worse but the clorazepam simply just took the fear away and made me relax. They are not addictive. You make things addictive in terms of behaviour and thought. Now at 33, I got these panics again and it's been hell for me. Why would I go through daily functioning with overwhelming fear and sensations like I am dying, gonna pass out or having a heart attack on daily basis which is the worse feelings alive. If you feel sick like this everyday you only get sick. I'm speaking from experience. I take Ativan now regularly 1-2 times a day. I refuse to take antidepressants because honestly I've taken them all and docs say they work and take time to work and you may feel worse. Well I've been through the feel worse state and months have passed and I feel worse. So I eliminated them. I don't feel a difference taking them or not. The panics happen just the same and they scare me. I try not to take Ativan if I can but sometimes you need to be a doctor yourself and put yourself in a program. It's the brain and the brain can fool you. I don't wish anyone to get panic disorder or any real disease. I've lost my relationships over this, but then again what good is it being with someone who cannot truly like you for who you are and disrespects you over simply because you going through a tough time. With things like this you need confidence and to be surrounded by people who truly care about you and talk to you to get your mind of things like this. You need to try to be positive. Taking Ativan and related drugs at least make you function and continue your day rather than crunching up in a ball, holding your chest and wondering if you should call 911 to go to the ER.

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  16. i suffer from panic attacks too and most of the symtoms you are describing i have experienced. the worst is i cant move my hands because if i am driving there is nothing i can do about. most of the time though i get them at night when i am in bed and i find it best to sit still and take deep breaths.
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  17. I was prescribed Ativan about 2 months ago. I did not know I had a panic disorder. I had no clue what I was in for. The first time it happened, I thought I was dying. I was at my pc and I had this "feeling", it started in my brain and I could literately feel my body draining of power. I thought I was having stroke or a heart attack. My heart was racing. I started shaking. I could not breathe well. I kept trying to steady my breathing like when I have an asthma attack. I could not even formulate thoughts. I was by myself. I was able to call 911 and was barely able to talk. When the first responders showed up and walked through my door, I cried. I told myself that I knew that I was not going to die alone. They did an EKG, checked my glucose, check my BP. My BP was through the roof, my heart rate was high, my respirations were high. I was close to hyperventilation. They took me out to the ambulance and put me on O2. He told me that I was NOT dying. That's a relief! He said my glucose was normal as was my EKG. So no heart attack either. I was not showing any signs of a stroke and as he talked to me, I began to feel better. He told me he was pretty sure I had just had a panic attack. I had no indicators that I suffered from a panic disorder before that day. I ended up not going to the ER via the ambulance. I went to my PCP later that day and she prescribed me Ativan. I am on 1mg twice per day. I have started seeing a psychologist to figure out what is causing the attacks and how we can stop them and get me off the meds. So far Ativan has helped me feel normal again. I still have attacks but none so far as severe as the first one. I know the beginnings signs and I take my pill then and after a few minutes, I am ok. I do find that going outside and focusing on breathing helps me.

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