• For 24/7 Treatment Help Call

    (800) 526-5053

  • Lorazepam, or the brand-name Ativan, is a benzodiazepine used for the treatment of a variety of health issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and insomnia. Those who suffer from epilepsy or mental illness will sometimes be prescribed Ativan to help ease their symptoms.

    Mixing benzodiazepines with alcohol, including Ativan, Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Klonopin (clonazepam), can cause disastrous results to your physical and mental health. 

    Mixing CNS Depressants

    Benzodiazepines work by increasing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. The GABA chemical lessens the activity in the brain, causing calmness and sedation depending on the dosage administered.

    Both lorazepam and alcohol are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. On their own, depressant substances slow down activity in the brain and cause sedation. Together, effects like sedation, impaired cognition, and slow breathing can increase.

    Combining two CNS depressants can be life-threatening and could result in a trip to the emergency department.

    Effects Of Combining Ativan & Alcohol

    When you combine Ativan and alcohol, numerous side effects can occur. In fact, Ativan by itself can cause effects including fatigue, impaired coordination, and drowsiness. 

    When drinking alcohol on Ativan, you increase the risk of an accidental overdose. Other side effects of mixing Ativan and alcohol may include:

    • dizziness
    • blackouts
    • respiratory depression
    • drowsiness
    • memory problems
    • fluctuations in heart rate
    • slowed breathing
    • impaired motor control

    Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol & Ativan

    Along with an increase in side effects related to sedation, combining Ativan and alcohol can also lead to dangerous problems. For instance, polysubstance use (or substance abuse that includes using both Ativan and alcohol) can result in death if a fatal overdose occurs.

    Mental Health Problems

    Abusing alcohol with Ativan can not only increase depressant-like effects like slowed breathing and sedation, but can also lead to mental health issues like mood changes, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. 


    Both alcohol and Ativan can cause side effects on their own. Together, they cause even more serious issues that could lead to dangerously slowed breathing and overdose. 

    This is largely because both are CNS depressants. When combined, the risk of overdose is increased for both substances, either together or on their own. Heavy drinking and drug abuse that includes high doses of Ativan increase this risk.

    The problems that occur can be exaggerated and can change from person to person due to several factors such as:

    • a previous history of mental illness
    • how much alcohol and Ativan are used
    • the frequency of Ativan and alcohol use
    • genetic makeup
    • a history of drug abuse
    • ​the rate of alcohol consumption

    Treating Benzodiazepine & Alcohol Abuse

    If you or a loved one live with addiction, our healthcare professionals are here to help you every step of the way. We offer detox and withdrawal support services, as well as treatment programs that include group therapy and other treatment options.

    Whether you’re dealing with alcohol withdrawal symptoms or benzodiazepine dependence, we have multidisciplinary staff to help address polysubstance abuse and co-occurring mental health issues

    To learn more about our inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for substance use disorder, please call our hotline today. 

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness - Benzodiazepine-Associated Risks
    National Alliance on Mental Illness - Lorazepam (Ativan)
    National Alliance on Mental Illness - What to Avoid With Psychiatric Medications
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Harmful Interactions

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on July 18, 2022
    Questions About Treatment?

    Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

    100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
    Prefer Texting?

    Our friendly support team is here to chat 24/7. Opt out any time.


    Our Facilities

    Premier Drug Rehab & Mental Health Care Facilities In Massachusetts & Ohio

    Bedrock Recovery

    Canton, MA

    • Medical detox
    • Inpatient & Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • Movie Theater & Fitness Center

    Learn More

    Northeast Addictions

    Quincy, MA

    • Day treatment program
    • Intensive Outpatient Program
    • Full-Day Group Therapy
    • Easy Access to Public Transit

    Learn More

    Spring Hill Recovery Center

    Ashby, MA

    • Residential Treatment
    • Gender-Specific Residencies
    • Outdoor Recreation
    • Expansive 70-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    Ohio Recovery Center

    Van Wert, OH

    • Medical Detox
    • Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • 55-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    For Immediate Treatment Help Call 800-526-5053