Ativan and other medications of that class (called Benzodiazepines) have been used for many years for anxiety, insomnia and general stress. You certainly can get off of the medication. I usually recommend fixing the problem, if known, rather than treating the symptom. If there is a specific thing that is making you stressed or anxious, the first place to start is to try to fix or eliminate that problem. Most patients i see these days are generally not happy; most of the time it is social reasons causing it (family, marital, workplace stresses), often it is also financial (large mortgages, living paycheque to paycheque etc... which may not be easy to fix). If stress is coming from personal social reasons, see if they can be mended. If financial, speak to someone about reducing your financial stress. If you are generally and always have been a stressed kind of person, as long as you remember, then it's likely that your biological makeup is contributiing to this.
For intrinsic anxiety, i find that medidation and hypnosis are excellent ways of managing your stress. Most people find self hypnosis a difficult thing to start, so it is helpful to find a qualified provider who can help you with starting the meditative process. There are lots of studies that show the benefit of meditation for stress, cardiac death and many other medical conditions. Eastern societies have long understood the benefit of meditation and the western world generally finds it weird (lol) but i have been using it on patients for over 20 years with benefit.
have a great day.
Response by Dr. Ihab Matta MD CCFP