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Ativan (Lorazepam), like all the benzodiazepines, is extremely addictive.

It’s not recommended for long term use (not for more than 2 to 4 weeks). The longer you use it and the higher your daily dose climbs, the more dependent you become - and as your daily dose goes up, so too does your risk of negative side effects: like memory disruption, thinking problems and over-sedation.

Have you been on Ativan for a while? Wondering if you’re maybe addicted or know you’re addicted but not sure how serious things have become? Well, read on then and take this very quick and easy self test to find out.

Ativan Addiction Facts

  • In some cases, people experience withdrawal symptoms after having used at therapeutic doses for as little as a week.
  • Ativan is not designed for continuous long term use - In general, using any benzodiazepine for longer than 2 to 4 weeks increases your risk of addiction and withdrawal problems.
  • Ativan quickly loses its effectiveness as a sleeping aid (due to tolerance development) and there is no evidence that Ativan helps with anxiety after 4 months of continuous use.1
  • Once dependent, you need to slowly taper down your daily dosage to minimize withdrawal symptoms. A cold turkey detox is dangerous and very needlessly uncomfortable. Make sure to read the complete guide to safe benzo tapering before you even think about getting started.

Benzodiazepine Addiction Self Test2

The following self test is based on the Bendep-SRQ (SV), which is a clinically proven valid and reliable instrument to measure for the presence and severity benzodiazepine dependence.3

Consider each statement and then beside it:

  • If you feel you that it not true for you, make a check-mark in the Not True column.
  • If you feel that it is partly true, true or absolutely true, make a check-mark in the True column.
The Statement
Not True
1. I generally take my medication on time because if I don’t I start to feel bad.    
2. I feel nervous if I can’t access my medication.    
3. Friends and family members have asked me to use less medication.    
4. I use more of my medication than what is instructed on my prescription label.    
5. I feel safe and secure when I have my medication on me.    
6. My medication isn’t as effective as it used to be.    
7. I run out of my medication more quickly than I am supposed to.    
8. My use of medication gets me in trouble.    
9. Sometimes I change what is written on my prescription.    
10. I have been considering stopping.    
11. Just before it’s time to take my medication it’s all I can think about doing.    
12. I spend a lot of time thinking about this medication.
13. I think this medication is really harming my life.    
14. I go to refill my prescription before I am scheduled to.    
15. Sometimes I take a lot of medication at once.    


Interpreting the Results

OK, for your scores:

  1. A check mark in the Not True column equals a 0 score
  2. A check mark in the True column equals a 1 score

The results of this test will reveal your addiction severity across 3 measures:

  1. Problematic usage (the severity of problems caused by Ativan usage)
  2. Preoccupation (how focused you are on getting and taking this medication)
  3. Lack of compliance with your doctor’s instructions

High scores in any one subset indicate the presence of an addiction. High scores in all subsets indicate a severe addiction.

Problematic Use

Add up your scores from questions 3, 6, 8, 10 and 13

If you score:

  • 0, you have very low problematic usage
  • 1, you experience moderate problems from your use
  • 2, you experience a high degree of problems from your usage
  • 3, 4 or 5, you experience a very high level of problems from your usage


Add up your scores from questions 1, 2, 5, 11 and 12

If you score:

  • 0, you have no or a very low preoccupation with Ativan
  • 1, you have a low preoccupation
  • 2, you have a moderate preoccupation
  • 3, you have a high preoccupation
  • 4 or 5, you have a very high preoccupation

Lack of Compliance

Add up your scores from questions 4, 7, 9, 14 and 15

If you score:

  • 0, you have no or low non compliance issues
  • 1, you have a high degree of non compliance
  • 2, 3, 4 or 5, you have a very high degree of non compliance
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Page last updated Sep 15, 2015

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