Ativan vs Xanax:
When it comes to anxiety disorders, there are a great deal of medications on the market. Two of the most commonly prescribed medications are Ativan and Xanax. Both are in the drug family called benzodiazepines. Both are fairly addictive. Your doctor will likely make a choice based off of factors like how quickly the medicine kicks in, how long it lasts, what the side effects are, and how easy it is to become hooked. Thus, the type of anxiety you face (constant social anxiety vs occasional panic attacks, for example), and the likelihood of addiction (personal and family history) will be taken into consideration before choosing a drug.
Let's start with the speed of response. As a general rule, Ativan causes a faster patient reaction. Thus, it is often prescribed for those who suffer from panic attacks. Xanax, on the other hand, while it takes a little longer to begin working, has a longer half-life. That means that it remains in your system longer, and thus creates a longer lasting effect. This can be good for treating general anxiety which is experienced all the time. Some people who have used both drugs claim to have experienced the opposite effect. Thus, the patient's body chemistry does have some effect on the how they will respond to the drugs.
Let's discuss the potential for addiction to these medications. While both are highly addictive, the risk factor is considered greater with Ativan. Thus, those with a personal of family history of addiction may be placed on Xanax instead of Ativan. The reason for Ativan's high risk of dependence seems to spring from the speed of its effectiveness and its short half-life which makes the body crave it again sooner.
Ativan vs Valium:
Of course, these are not the only alternatives when it comes to anti anxiety medications. Some have also wondered about the comparison of Ativan vs. Valium. Valium is very useful for constant anxiety issues because it is one of the longest lasting benzodiazepines. Of course, the longer half life makes Xanax and Valium show up on drug tests as long as a week after taking them, whereas Ativan is usually out of a person's system in two and a half days. It also means that while Ativan is the most addictive of the three drugs, the other two are harder to kick if someone does become addicted because withdrawal symptoms last longer.
Regardless of which benzodiazepine your doctor decides to prescribe for you, you can rest assured that these factors were taken into consideration.