Carrie knows the basic signs of a heart attack. Her father had one last year. So when she felt sharp, stabbing pains in her chest one night and began struggling to breathe, she headed straight to the hospital. What she didn’t know—until a doctor in the ER gently informed her—was that similar symptoms occur during Ativan withdrawal. What she mistook for a heart attack was, in fact, a panic attack induced by abruptly stopping her medication.
If not handled properly, coming off of benzodiazepines like Ativan can be terrifying. If you take the cold turkey detox route, it can even be life-threatening. What’s more, going through this struggle alone—as so many attempt to—can make it all ten times worse.
Remember: you’ve had anti-anxiety medication in your bloodstream for an extended period of time. Trying to abandon it wholesale without preparation or medical support gives your body no time for a healthy transition. When you’re dependent on a substance like benzodiazepines, medically supervised detox is crucial—not only because of the delicate nature of the tapering process and dangerous nature of cold turkey withdrawal, but because at its core, it’s a misunderstood addiction.
Going through the standard healthcare system is better than going it alone, but may not provide you with the comprehensive clinical care you need for a full recovery. If you truly want to learn how to cope with your anxieties while breaking free from the clutches of benzodiazepines, then you need a treatment center with the tools and support networks that can handle both your chemical dependence and any co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety, you may be suffering from in tandem.