Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam. It is a short acting drug compared to others in its class. In higher doses it can be used for sleep but usually its just used for anxiety (and is very good for the elderly as it burns off quickly and doesnt bulid up in the elderly persons blood if given in low doses). It can be used to wean people from its chemical cousins that are more potent (other benzodiaipines). See the post below to get acquinted with Ativan (Lorazepam) and Klonopin (Clonazepam) which both are widely used along with Xanax, Valium and many sleeping pills like Dalmane, Restoril and Doral.