A man wondering, "What are the signs of laxative abuse?"

What Are The Signs of Laxative Abuse?

Laxatives can be helpful when dealing with constipation issues, but for people with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, they can be harmful tools that worsen mental health concerns. But what are the signs of laxative abuse exactly? Turn to Promises today for mental health and addiction treatment programs by calling us at 844.875.5609.

Understanding Laxative Abuse 

Laxative abuse refers to the repeated use of laxatives as a way to eliminate calories. People with bulimia, for example, may use laxatives to counteract binges, while those with anorexia may rely on laxatives to feel lighter and thinner. If you chronically and compulsively use laxatives, you may be engaging in laxative abuse. 

What are the signs of laxative abuse? They can include:

  • Taking the recommended dose of laxatives every day when not medically needed
  • Binging on laxatives
  • Using laxatives to combat bloat or weight gain
  • Using laxatives if other purging behaviors are not possible

It’s crucial to understand that laxatives don’t help with weight loss. This is because they don’t eliminate the calories you consume. Laxatives work on the large intestine. By the time any waste reaches this area, the small intestine has already absorbed all of the calories from the food. Any weight loss that occurs results only from water weight loss. 

What Are the Symptoms of Laxative Abuse?

If you are using laxatives in a way that is not medically necessary, you can experience several physical and psychological effects. So, what are the symptoms of laxative abuse? They include:

  • Reflex constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration 
  • Increased risk of UTIs
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal distress

You can also feel the need to withdraw socially and may experience anxiety or depression. Long-term effects of laxative abuse can be severe and include bowel nerve damage, liver damage, kidney failure, and other complications. 

If you suspect a loved one is abusing laxatives, some of the signs that you want to watch for are:

  • Long bathroom visits
  • Empty laxative packages
  • Clogged toilets
  • Complaints about abdominal cramping
  • Fainting spells
  • Frequent comments about feeling too full or constipated
  • Secretive eating habits

Because the long-term consequences of laxative abuse are so severe, it’s essential to get help for yourself or a loved one struggling with this problem. 

Treating Laxative Abuse: Turning to the Right Program

Getting help is essential if you’re battling a mental health or addiction concern. At Promises, we provide a variety of programs to help you find the path to wellness.

Residential treatment programs can be a good choice for those who are just beginning their recovery journey. During residential treatment, you receive a high level of continuous care at our facilities. Medical professionals are always available to help you so that you can have a more comfortable and positive experience. 

For those who can’t step away from their lives, we also provide outpatient programs. Options like partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs continue to offer a high level of care while allowing you to return home every night. 

To help you achieve long-term recovery, it’s important to get to the underlying cause. This means individual and group sessions that use evidence-based therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and more. During our group sessions, you can also hear from others who are struggling with similar challenges. 

Begin Addiction Treatment at Promises Today

Laxative abuse can put your health at serious risk. If you or a loved one is struggling with this problem, we can help at Promises. With our team of experts ready to assess your condition and offer the medical and mental health support you need, you can start your recovery safely. Get the level of care you need by calling Promises at 844.875.5609.

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