This question has also been asked and answered here: Lorazepam vs Xanax: What is the difference?
True, Xanax (Alprazolam) and Ativan (Lorazepam) are both benzos, but they do act much differently. Xanax is used more specifically for anxiety/panic disorders, including social phobias. As for Ativan, it is used more in a generalized way, helping with a much wider scope of issues. Such issues are: calming of the CNS system (best example that comes to mind is... say you overloaded your CNS system with too too much cocaine,thereby, stressing your CNS system, you go to the hospital, more than likely they will give you an IV push of Ativan to bring your CNS down); helps with TMJ and other muscle spasm issues (though clonazepam is best benzo for muscle pain relief); insomnia; antiemetic prior to chemo or endoscopic procedures; irritable bowel syndrome; severe irritability; and of course, general anxiety. But more often than not, if you complain of a panic attack or severe anxiety, the doctor is going to give you Xanax. Hope this helps explain the difference, I know it's a little wordy.
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