Ativan for the Treatment of Insomnia

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Glass with pills

Ativan for the treatment of insomnia can be a very effective sleep aid. However, it's important to know how it works to help you sleep, and its possible side effects.

About Ativan

Ativan is an anti-anxiety medication that corrects an imbalance of the brain chemical gamma-amminobutyric acid (GABA). The medication inhibits the binding of the chemical, which decreases brain activity. This reduction in brain activity relaxes the body, causing the person to feel less anxious.

Ativan for the Treatment of Insomnia

When you are less anxious, you are better able to fall and stay asleep. Not everyone who takes Ativan for the treatment of insomnia has an anxiety disorder. Stress from work or other daily irritations may leave you up at night thinking and this medication will help your body let go of the tension you may not even know you are experiencing.

Dosage for Insomnia

Many doctors strive to prescribe patients the lowest effective dose. You may receive a prescription for .5 or .10 mg to start and if it doesn't help, your doctor may increase the dosage.

Ativan for insomnia is not a long-term treatment, meaning that you will not be able to stay on this anti-anxiety medication forever. It causes dependency and you will need to take increasing amount of it to remain effective. After a few months, your doctor will assess your sleep disorder and your dosage. If you are still at a low level of the medication, you may be able to stay on the medication a bit longer but if you consistently have to increase the dose, you may need to use a different prescription sleep aid.

Precautions Before Starting Ativan for Insomnia Treatment

If you have a history of drug addiction, you should not seek this treatment for insomnia. Ativan is highly addictive and your body becomes immune to dosages over time, which means you need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect. People who have had drug dependencies in the past may begin to think they need more of the drug before their bodies have become immune and will believe they need the drug or they will never sleep.

It's also important to let your doctor know if you have any of the following medical conditions:

  • Asthma or other breathing disorder
  • Pregnant
  • Liver disease
  • Glaucoma

While doctors prescribe this medication to depression sufferers, it can worsen symptoms for some individuals. Inform your doctor if you have a history or current diagnosis of depression.

Ativan can interact with other medications and make you even more tired or lessen the effectiveness of other drugs, let your doctor know what other medications and herbal remedies you are taking.

Stopping Your Treatment

As your situation changes or you and your doctor decide that you should take something else, you will need to stop taking Ativan. You need to withdraw from this medication slowly and with the guidance of your medical doctor. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and may make you feel ill, cause suicidal ideation, insomnia, memory loss and more. Decreasing your dose over a few days will help lessen these withdrawal effects.

Try Ativan to Treat Your Sleep Disorder

If you don't have any of the precautions listed, Ativan can be an effective treatment for your sleep disorder. Talking to your doctor about Ativan as well as other sleep medications will help you find the one that is most effective for your body and your lifestyle.

Ativan for the Treatment of Insomnia