''I have come to the conclusion that it is essential for personal reasons that I take a break from cricket for a short period with immediate effect,'' he said in a statement on Thursday.
''During this time, I intend with the assistance of the appropriate professionals to rebuild all facets of my game so as to sustain the remainder of my cricketing career."
Lara's decision seemed to rule him out of Zimbabwe's tour of the Caribbean, starting on Saturday, as well as the subsequent series against Pakistan, scheduled in the beginning of April.
"I regret any disappointment that my decision will cause West Indies cricket fans, but ask for your patience,'' Lara said. "I would also like to thank the West Indies cricket board for their support at this difficult time.''
Lara, 30, quit his captaincy a week ago following the New Zealand tour where West Indies lost both Tests and all five one-day internationals. In his resignation letter, then, he talked of the ''devastating failure that has engulfed West Indies cricket''.
Roger Harper was subsequently appointed coach, instead of Viv Richards whom Lara supported.
Lara was named in a 20-man squad invited to a seven-day training camp starting this weekend. But newspaper reports say Lara had previously organised a party to celebrate a carnival at his home in Trinidad over the next few days.