Mental Health Home > What Is Lorazepam Used For?

Lorazepam is approved to treat anxiety disorders. It is also approved for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms associated with depression. However, the drug is not for "everyday anxiety" and is recommended only for short-term use (for two to four weeks or less). There are also several off-label lorazepam uses, such as treating alcohol withdrawal and restless legs syndrome.

What Is Lorazepam Used For?

Lorazepam (Ativan®) is a prescription medication that is licensed to treat anxiety. An injectable form of the drug is also available. The injectable form of lorazepam is used for decreasing nervous tension and anxiety before surgery, as well as treating severe seizures (known medically as status epilepticus). Lorazepam is part of a group of medications called benzodiazepines.
 

Lorazepam and Anxiety

Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event, such as a big exam, business presentation, or first date. Anxiety disorders, however, are illnesses that load people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear that are chronic and unremitting, and that can grow progressively worse.
 
Depending on the type of anxiety, a person can experience several possible anxiety symptoms, including:
 
  • Feeling shaky, jittery, or nervous
  • Feeling tense, fearful, or apprehensive
  • Avoiding certain places or activities because of fear
  • A pounding or racing heart
  • Trouble catching your breath when nervous
  • Unjustified sweating or trembling
  • A knot in your stomach
  • A lump in your throat
  • Finding yourself pacing
  • Being afraid to close your eyes at night for fear that you may die in your sleep
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying.
     
In general, two types of anxiety treatment are available for an anxiety disorder:
 
Lorazepam is approved to treat anxiety disorders. It is also approved for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms associated with depression. Lorazepam is not for "everyday anxiety" and is recommended only for short-term use (for two to four weeks or less).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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