Laxative dependency is the result of overusing laxatives and stool softeners to the point where one cannot have a bowel movement without such medicinal aides. It can come about 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 laxative dependency, here are some steps you can take to help reverse this condition.
Make a list of all the laxatives you take, and how often you take them. You may be surprised at how many pills and how much liquid medicine you consume in a month!
Next, begin to ween yourself off of laxatives by eliminating the harshest medications from your list. Don't go cold turkey on all of your bowel aides; keep taking the gentle medications. Also eliminate any harsh colon cleansing treatments.
After your body has adjusted to getting by with only gentle stool softeners and constipation relievers, 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.
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 every two weeks. This process can take several months, but your colon will be healthier in the end.
In addition to gradually cutting back on your laxative dependency, you should drink more water, eat more fiber, and get more exercise. These three actions are the most important and effective things you can do to get your sluggish colon working back to normal.
As with recovery from other addictions, reversing laxative abuse can be a frustrating, and seemingly uphill battle. There are support groups in your area to help people getting over substance abuse. Check local listings, or ask your doctor for more information.