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Laxative Abuse in Eating Disorders

The overuse and abuse of laxatives within the scope of eating disorder behaviors is often overlooked or simply not discussed, often because the person suffering feels shame about this, or they may even be unable to process that their behavior is dangerous. Laxative use or abuse is seen in eating disorders similarily as a compensatory behavior such as purging or over-exercising. I have myself been in that place, feeling desperate to be "empty", because in my starved mind, a need for food was not acceptable. Unfortunately, laxative abuse is one of the more impulsive behaviors related to an eating disorder, and it can increase in severity very quickly. Not only does this behavior have the potential to cause damage to the bowel, even to the point of internal tearing, it may also cause long term problems with constipation when the laxative intake stops.
Because the human body has such a great potential for restoration, the prognosis is good that when the laxative abuse behavior is stopped, and a well-rounded eating plan is sustained, normal bowel function CAN be restored over time.