What Are the Dangers of Taking Lorazepam and Xanax?

What Are the Dangers of Taking Lorazepam and Xanax?

Published: 08/19/19

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Lorazepam and Xanax are similar drugs. They’re both benzodiazepines. These are drugs that treat conditions including: 

  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Chronic pain
  • Insomnia
  • Panic disorders 
  • Seizures

Benzodiazepines work by affecting the way your brain cells respond to stress. There’s a chemical in your brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. This chemical slows down the brain’s response to stress. Drugs like lorazepam and Xanax help GABA to work better. This causes a calming effect. 

When you take benzodiazepines with other drugs of the same kind, you could have increased side effects. Or worse, you could put yourself at risk of addiction and overdose. 

Drugs from this class depress your nervous system. Your nervous system controls breathing. That means taking too many benzodiazepines can slow your breathing. It can also stop your breathing completely, causing death. 

It’s dangerous to take lorazepam and Xanax together. Here’s what you need to know about both drugs:

Can You Mix Lorazepam and Xanax?

You shouldn’t mix lorazepam and Xanax. When you do, your body ends up with too much GABA. 

Too much GABA can cause mild side effects, such as: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin reactions
  • Stomach upset

It can also cause severe side effects. These include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Mood changes 
  • Trouble moving

Another problem is that taking too many benzodiazepines puts you at risk for central nervous system depression. When you have this symptom, you’ll experience: 

  • Trouble breathing
  • Slow breathing
  • Having a hard time staying awake
  • Trouble with memory 
  • Trouble speaking 

If you overdose on lorazepam and Xanax, your nervous system can forget to tell your body to breathe. When this happens and you don’t get immediate treatment, you can die. If you think you’re overdosing on benzodiazepines, call 911 right away. Don’t wait! An overdose can be fatal. 

The Dangers of Xanax

Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Like other drugs of this kind, it works by increasing the GABA in your body. This causes a feeling of calm. It can work quickly to stop a panic attack. 

Some patients take Xanax daily. Others take it as needed to control panic. Your doctor will talk to you about the best way to use Xanax. You should only take Xanax the way your doctor prescribes. 

Xanax is often abused. Some people take Xanax that they’re not prescribed. It often comes from a friend, a relative, or sometimes from the street. 

Others start taking Xanax with a prescription, but start taking too much of it. They might take more than their recommended dose. Or they might take doses too often. 

Taking too much Xanax can get you high, but it isn’t worth the risk. Abusing Xanax can cause problems on its own. 

Xanax Side Effects

The common side effects from taking Xanax include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Producing more saliva
  • Sexual problems

Taking Xanax puts you at risk of serious side effects. They include: 

  • Delusions
  • Memory problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Issues with mobility
  • Trouble speaking

Call your doctor if you have any of these serious side effects. You could need emergency treatment.

Xanax Overdose

Abusing Xanax puts you at risk of overdose. This is true whether you take it with lorazepam or alone. 

Overdosing on Xanax can happen fast. It might look like you’re falling asleep. The overdose causes breathing to slow. It also makes it hard for you to wake. 

Many people don’t get help fast enough when overdosing. It looks like they’re sleeping, so their loved ones don’t know to get help. 

The signs of Xanax overdose include: 

  • Confusion
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Slow breathing 
  • Slow reflexes
  • Trouble being awake

In 2019, the rate of Xanax overdose was still climbing. But you and your loved ones don’t have to be part of that number. Know the signs of Xanax overdose and call 911 if you think you’re in trouble. 

Lorazepam Dangers

Lorazepam is also known as Ativan. It’s used to treat anxiety disorders. It’s also used to treat epilepsy. 

Ativan works by calming the part of the brain that causes anxiety and panic. This makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. It works fast to stop panic attacks. Doctors use it to calm nervous patients before procedures, too. 

Taking too much Ativan can make you feel high. You may be abusing Ativan if you: 

  • Consuming Ativan between scheduled doses
  • Take more Ativan than you’re supposed to 
  • Take Ativan that’s not prescribed to you
  • Go to multiple doctors to get extra prescriptions

Ativan abuse can harm your health. It can lead to addiction or substance abuse disorders. Get treatment for substance abuse today. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be in recovery. 

Lorazepam Side Effects

Ativan causes some mild side effects. They include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Dizziness
  • Mood changes
  • Sexual problems
  • Sleepiness
  • Upset stomach 

There are serious side effects that can happen, too. They include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Fever
  • Tremor, or a trembling you can’t control
  • Problems breathing
  • Having trouble speaking 
  • Skin rash
  • Yellow skin and eyes

Call your doctor right away if you’re having any of these serious Ativan side effects. You could be having a severe reaction.

Lorazepam Overdose

If you take too much Ativan, you can overdose. It’s even easier to overdose by accident when you’re mixing Ativan and Xanax. 

That’s because they’re both the same kind of drug. When you take two drugs that both slow the nervous system and increase GABA, they can affect your body more strongly than either drug alone. That means your chances of having an overdose increase.

You should know the signs of Ativan overdose. An overdose can cause death without fast treatment. 

Symptoms of Ativan Overdose

  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Mental changes
  • Severe dizziness 
  • Slow breathing
  • Slow reflexes and reactions
  • Problems staying awake

If you are having an Ativan overdose or think someone you love is, then call 911 immediately. An Ativan overdose is a medical emergency. It can cause death. 

What Happens When You Mix Lorazepam and Xanax?

You shouldn’t mix lorazepam and Xanax. When you do, you’re taking two benzodiazepines at once. Both of these drugs have two effects on your body: 

  1. They both help your body keep more GABA around.
  2. They both slow the central nervous system, including your brain and basic functions, such as breathing. 

When you’re taking two benzodiazepines at the same time, your body can’t process them fast enough. The GABA makes your body sleepy and relaxed, and your slowed central nervous system might forget to tell your body to breathe. 

People die every day from mixing these types of drugs. It’s not worth the risk. 

Mixing Benzodiazepines and Other Substances

There are other drugs you should never mix with benzodiazepines. That means you should never take Ativan or Xanax with: 

  • Alcohol: You shouldn’t drink any kind of alcohol while you’re taking these drugs. It puts you at risk for breathing problems and death. 
  • Barbiturates: These drugs treat pain and sleeping difficulty. They also cause sedation. They include phenobarbital and zaleplon.
  • Opioids: Opioids are used as pain medication. They include fentanyl and oxycodone. They also include street drugs, like heroin.

Ativan and Xanax aren’t the only drugs you should avoid mixing with alcohol, barbiturates, or opioids. All benzodiazepines act the same way. You should also avoid: 

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Temazepam (Restoril) 

Recovering from Drug Abuse

If you have a problem with lorazepam or Xanax (or both), then you need help. Recovering can be easier with the help of:

  • Inpatient treatment: Many patients start their recovery with inpatient treatment. Here, 24/7 care allows you to recover under medical care without the stressors of life and work. 
  • Medication-assisted treatment: Some kinds of addiction and abuse disorders can be treated with medication. The medication helps keep away withdrawal symptoms so you can focus on getting better. 
  • Talk therapy: One-on-one time with a therapist is one of the best ways to recover. Talk therapy is often paired with other treatment programs to get the most out of it. 
  • Group therapy: Therapy groups offer social support and a safe space to talk about recovery. Group therapy might not be a required part of your treatment plan, but it’s a helpful tool and you should take advantage of it. 

Every patient has their own treatment plan, because there’s no single combination that’s right for everyone. Your doctor will help you find the right treatments for your recovery. 

It’s always a good time to start your journey to sobriety. You’ll be more successful in recovery with the help of the right medical care team. Get in touch with one of our treatment specialists today. 

Sources:

  1.  Medical News Today: The benefits and risks of benzodiazepines  <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262809.php>  
  2. Science News: Overdose deaths tied to anti anxiety drugs like Xanax continue to rise <https://www.sciencenews.org/article/overdose-deaths-tied-antianxiety-drugs-xanax-continue-rise
  3. MedlinePlus: Lorazepam <https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682053.html