How Laxative Abuse Leads to an Eating Disorder

Laxative abuse occurs when one attempts to rid their body of unwanted calories in an attempt to lose weight, feel thin, or feel empty, through the repeated, misuse of laxatives.  The keywords in the last sentence are “misuse”.  A common misconception regarding laxatives is that by ingesting them and them purging, you’re acting in a way as to lose weight. However, in fact, this is not true.  Laxative abuse is potentially serious. It has been known to lead to intestinal paralysis, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, and renal failure. It’s also important to understand how laxative abuse leads to an eating disorder.

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

One of the top three most common eating disorders is bulimia nervosa.  When one is struggling with bulimia nervosa they will binge and then purge. Bingeing is the act of consuming a large amount of food, generally of a high caloric count. Purging is the ridding of the body of the substance. Purging can be done in many ways including self-induced vomiting, but also by abusing laxatives.  How laxative abuse leads to an eating disorder is quite simple – if one believes the laxatives are working and they being to feel thin, they will continue to abuse the laxatives and will fall into a repetitive habit of continually purging and could eventually begin bingeing as well.

The Cons of Laxative Abuse

As previously mentioned, the belief that laxatives are effective in weight control simply is not true. The truth of the matter is, by the time laxatives act on the large intestine, many of the foods and calories from them have been absorbed by the small intensive.  Not only is this an unhealthy habit, but unfortunately there is proof of how laxative abuse leads to an eating disorder.

The good news is, you can treat eating disorders and the Delray Center for Healing is the place to do it.  If you, or someone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, seek help today.

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Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.