How to Reverse Laxative Dependency

Laxative dependency is the result of overusing (and abusing) laxatives and stool softeners. Some people abuse them to the point where they cannot have a bowel movement without medicinal aides. Laxative dependency often results when people try to self-medicate their chronic constipation, or when people abuse laxatives for weight loss.

If you or someone you know suffers from a laxative "addiction," here are some ways you can help reverse this condition.

(1) Make a list of every laxative you take and how often you take each one. You may be surprised at how many pills and how much liquid medicine you consume.

(2) Start weaning yourself off of laxatives by eliminating the harshest medications from your list. Don't go cold turkey on all of your bowel movement aides; you will have to keep taking the gentle medications. Also eliminate any harsh colon cleansing treatments you use. You may be more constipated for a while, but this is normal.

(3) After your body has adjusted to a regimen of gentle stool softeners, cut your daily dosage in half. This may take some getting used to, especially if you rely on laxatives daily. As long as you can have a bowel movement twice a week, you will be okay.

(4) When your body has adjusted to the new dosing, cut your daily dose in half again. Keep repeating the process until you need to take a laxative no more than once a week. This process can take several weeks or several months depending on how much constipation medicine our took. In the end, your colon will be healthier.

(5) While you gradually cut back on laxatives, drink more water, eat more fiber, and get more exercise. These three actions are the most important and effective things to treat a sluggish colon.

(6) Understand that treating laxative abuse is like recovering from any other addiction. The process can be a frustrating and seem like an uphill battle at times. There may be substance abuse support groups in your area that can help. Check local listings online or ask your doctor for more information.

© Had2Know 2010

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