Hello -- I'm so glad I found this site! Briefly, I was given my first benzo -- Serax -- back in 1982 during a very anxious period. I took it short term -- a few months -- and stopped with no withdrawal problems. Over the years, I would get a Serax prescription if I was feeling a lot of anxiety -- and again, I would take it for short periods, a few months or so. As time went on, I found that after taking it for these periods, I would have to taper off before I could stop. I would cut back, and then quit -- always with no awful withdrawal symptoms. About 2 years ago, I went through a very difficult time with family and work issues. My father was diagnosed with cancer and heart disease, and I was experiencing emotionally depleting problems at work. I started on Serax -- and have been on it since -- about 2 years. I asked for the lowest dose -- 10mg capsules, and would take them 2 or three times a day. Last July my father died and problems at work continued, so I asked for the prescription to be increased to 15mg. I took usually 2 a day -- three if especially anxious, and occasionally 4 per day. Things have calmed down considerably -- work problem resolved, and I decided to taper off the Serax in April. Things were going smoothly until about three weeks into the taper. I think I was cutting back too much -- I was taking half what I was. I started feeling more anxious, but that I could cope with. Then started the digestive disturbances. At first I didn't connect the problem to the taper, until last weekend when I started having loose bowels, bloating and cramps, usually after I ate -- sometimes throughout the day. I was not sleeping well -- tossing and turning -- waking two or three times during the night. When I got up in the morning I had to head right to the bathroom. Thinking this might be connected to the Serax taper, I searched for 'digestive problems with benzo withdrawal. That led me here -- and I read several posts that described what I was experiencing. I started to feel anxious -- realizing I was most likely dependent on the benzo -- began to worry about my digestive symptoms -- over the course of the last week I've been increasingly anxious and almost panicky. I decided to up the dose back to where it was hoping to stabilize my system and then begin a much slower taper. I live alone -- and I really don't discuss my benzo taking with anyone. Today I was feeling desperate -- and afraid of what I have to face. I was just feeling like I made it through so many difficult situations and finally could focus on getting myself in a better place, and now I'm confronted with what seems an even bigger problem -- being dependent on benzos. I really don't know where to turn -- how to begin the right taper -- who I can talk to. I emailed my Dr. today telling her I wanted to begin a slow taper -- using Ashton schedule -- haven't heard back. Don't know what to expect.
From what I've read -- you all sound like wonderfully supportive people. So glad you're out there...