Why People Become Addicted to Laxatives

December 9, 2016

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Addicted to Laxatives

We regularly read about drug and alcohol addiction; however, there are many more addictions with which people struggle. What do you know about being addicted to laxatives? You might wonder how in the world anyone could become addicted to laxatives or if this is even possible. These medications are intended for short-term use only and misusing them can cause you to get addicted to laxatives. Abuse can cause your intestines to become dependent on the use of laxatives.

Why Do People Abuse Laxatives?

People abuse laxatives for different reasons. Some may feel that they need to have their bowels move every day which is not always the case. What is normal for one person may not be normal for another. Others depend on laxatives with the misconception that they will aid in weight loss; however, this is not the case. Most of the weight lost from laxative use is water weight which returns the following day. Individuals with eating disorders often abuse laxatives after going on an eating binge, thinking that they will force the food through the system and they will not absorb the calories from it. The fact is, by the time the laxatives work on the large intestine, the food has already been absorbed in the small intestine.

Physical Consequences of Being Addicted to Laxatives

Regardless of what you may think, the physical effects of laxative addiction can be very dangerous and even life-threatening. Abusing laxatives most commonly causes dehydration. Significant water loss is the cause of dehydration which is a side effect of diarrhea. Prolonged dehydration can lead to death! Individuals may notice blood in their stools when taking laxatives excessively; chronic bleeding can lead to anemia.

Being addicted to laxatives can result in permanent damage to the digestive system resulting in having to have part or all of the colon removed. Removing the colon will mean having to live with a colostomy bag for the rest of your life. Another dangerous effect of laxative abuse is that it leads to an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes maintain nerve and muscle function throughout the body. Imbalance of electrolytes can result in:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Stiff and achy joints
  • Trembling
  • Sunken eyes
  • Rapid heart rate

Extreme electrolyte imbalance and one lasting over an extended period of time can lead to swelling of the brain, shock, seizures, and coma. Laxative addiction can also cause colon cancer from all of the damage caused to the colon. There also is a potential for heart failure in those who are addicted to laxatives.

Laxative Withdrawal and Addiction Treatment

Withdrawing from laxatives will cause temporary weight gain. This weight gain is only from retaining fluid and will be temporary. You may be constipated, bloated, and have abdominal discomfort. These withdrawal symptoms usually last from one to three weeks. Most people that become addicted to laxatives suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. These eating disorders are extremely dangerous and often lead to the death of individuals. Bulimia is a condition where the person binge eats, and then forces vomiting, exercises to the extreme, or takes an abundant amount of laxatives thinking they are purging the body of the food they just ingested. However, as mentioned above laxative abuse is mainly water weight loss. However, this does not deter the person with the eating disorder from thinking this helps them not to absorb the food.

If you are addicted to laxatives, chances are you also are suffering from an eating disorder. Individuals with eating disorders need extensive treatment to overcome this disease. If you are suffering from an eating disorder, you will need treatment from medical professionals for the physical problems as well as comprehensive treatment for the psychological problems associated with this condition. After resolving the psychological issues, you will need help from a nutritionist to teach you how to eat healthy meals once again.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are addicted to laxatives, or if you have a loved one who is, don’t wait. Get help immediately. These diseases can be life-threatening, and trained professionals will help you resolve the issue.

Don’t delay another second
when help is so close.

Call 866-493-0802 Now!

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