Eating Disorders and Laxative Abuse

Eating Disorders and Laxative AbuseWhen people think about eating disorders, they think about anorexia and bulimia. While these two eating disorders are the most common, there are other issues associated with eating disorders that need to be considered. Anorexia is the act of withholding food from the body, and it is often the primary action of a person with a compulsive need to maintain an unrealistic body image. Bulimia is the act of excessive eating followed by ridding the body of the food just consumed.

Physical Impacts of Anorexia and Bulimia

There are several physical risks associated with eating disorders. Anorexic individuals do not receive the nutrients needed for the body to function, and the body responds by slowing down to conserve energy. It is common for anorexia sufferers to experience the following:

  • Slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Reduction in bone density
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dehydration that impacts the kidneys

A bulimic individual may experience the following:

  • Dehydration which causes a loss of potassium, sodium and chloride and can lead to irregular heartbeats
  • Risks associated with frequent vomiting including possible rupture of the esophagus and tooth decay and staining from stomach acids

Emotional Impacts of Eating Disorders

It is common for a person who is suffering with an eating disorder to cycle between panic and depression. These emotions are directly related to where the person is within his or her cycle of eating. Some of the signs of depression include the following:

  • Decreased energy
  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Indecisiveness
  • Memory troubles
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, guilt and worthlessness

Signs of panic attacks include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Chills or trembling
  • Fear of dying or losing control
  • Hot flashes, perspiration
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains

Eating Disorders and Laxative Abuse

Laxative abuse is the use of laxatives to rid the body of unwanted calories. While laxatives are effective in treating occasional constipation issues, they are not recommended for ongoing consumption or long-term use. Consistent use of laxatives causes the body to become dependent. When a person takes a laxative, the colon stops functioning normally, and it requires the trigger of the laxative to react. When a body system no longer functions properly there is a strong potential for organ damage, infection and cancer.

What to Do If You Suspect Someone Has an Eating Disorder

It is difficult to approach someone about a possible eating disorder, but you could be saving their life by doing so. People with eating disorders have other issues that they are dealing with as well and may feel too overwhelmed to ask for help. Therefore you need to take the risk of approaching this person to let him or her know your concerns and assist him or her in getting the treatment needed. The person with an eating disorder is at risk physically and emotionally, and the sooner he or she gets help the better the chance of recovery.

Many people with eating disorders do not want to admit to a problem, so be prepared to be persistent. Even if you speak with them in a loving and non-confrontational way, they may react defensively. It is important that you remain calm, focused and respectful. Your ultimate goal is to have them realize that they need help to get and stay healthy.

Get Help for Eating Disorders and Laxative Abuse

Call our toll-free helpline to get the information and help you need for eating disorder recovery. We want to help you find the right treatment program to handle eating disorders and can provide you with options, information about insurance and resources for recovery. We are here to help 24 hours a day, so please call now.