I take Ativan; it's a benzo, too. Generic name is Lorazepam. I was initially given them after I was hospitalized for the diarrhea and they found the tumor on my adrenal gland. I was pretty much freaking out. Anyways, I have continued taking a very low dose. At the beginning I was taking .5mg up to 3x a day. Now I take half a pill (.25mg) in the afternoon and a whole pill (.5mg) around 10 before bed. So a total of .75mg per day which is a really low dosage. According to a book I have, ativan is half as potent as xanax. So, .5mg ativan = .25mg xanax. Each type of benzo stays in your system a different length of time; but overall, they are short acting. My doctor told me not to worry about becoming addicted- that since he controls the dosage he would not let that happen. I do believe this, as I am still prescribed up to 3 tablets a day and I only take half of that. If I were addicted, I would want more. And actually, I want less- therein lies the problem. It is very difficult to get off of them. Yes, they do help with the diarrhea and also with my overall state of anxiety, but I'd rather not take anything- so I have been trying to taper off of them and cannot seem to get below this .75mg without having terrible anxiety, diarrhea and PVC's all return. I get shaky and nauseous sometimes- whether this is from having the medicine leave my body or just more anxiety symptoms, I don't know. Given the choice, I would take them again. I was a complete basket case when I got out of the hospital- couldn't even get up off the couch- and I know they helped me regain some sense of reality. I know people who take them long-term and are just fine; but before I resign myself to that, I am still trying to stop them.
As for hair loss, I don't think they cause it. As you know, mine is falling out, too. I don't know what to do about this as I am really getting thin right on top. It's embarassing. I find myself looking at people in stores to see if they are going bald and look like me. How awful.
Did the xanax help your diarrhea when you were taking it? And also, you mentioned once previously that your psychotherapist was against you taking it? Have you had any improvement with the psychotherapy? Oh, Shelly, what have our bodies done to us to land us here going to therapists and taking all these drugs for this rotten poop disease!?! If only we could find the way back!