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Substance Abuse

One half of individuals with an eating disorder regularly abuse alcohol or illicit drugs.

Often times persons suffering from eating disorders also participate in the dangerous abuse of not only drugs & alcohol, but many over-the-counter drugs as well. Below is a list of commonly abused agents. Please click on the items below to find out more information.

Diet Pill Abuse

Many individuals with eating disorders turn to diet pills in their obsessive quest to lose weight. Abusing diet pills – both prescription and over-the-counter – is one of the most dangerous weight loss methods and can take a serious toll on an individual’s physical and psychiatric health. It's unfortunate that diet pills are so prevalent and accessible in our society. Even minors can purchase diet pills from local grocery stores, health food stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. Diet pill use can easily trigger or exacerbate eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa. More information on diet pill abuse ››

Diuretic Abuse

A diuretic refers to a substance that forces the excretion of water from the body. Individuals with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa often abuse diuretics in an attempt to lose weight. In reality diuretic misuse does not actually lead to weight loss. Instead it merely reduces the amount of water in an eating disordered individual’s body, creating an illusion of weight loss. Diuretic misuse is extremely dangerous since water in the body is essential to many functions. When individuals abuse diuretics they are robbing their bodies of an essential resource. More information on diuretic abuse ››

Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Substance abuse and eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia or Compulsive Overeating often go hand-in-hand. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that one half of individuals who suffer from an eating disorder regularly abuse alcohol or illicit drugs. This compares to nine percent for the general population. More information on drug and alcohol abuse ››

Ipecac Abuse

Some individuals suffering from eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia or Compulsive Overeating participate in the dangerous activity of using Ipecac syrup as a means of purging. Ipecac syrup is a plant extract from the ipecacuanha scrub bush found in Brazil. Ipecac syrup stimulates the central nervous system when ingested and can cause individuals to vomit. Ipecac's sole clinical purpose is to induce vomitting in individuals who have ingested poisonous substances. Ipecac syrup was never intended to be used habitually and is only meant for single use. More information on ipecac abuse ››

Laxative Abuse

Many individuals struggling with eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa purge themselves using laxatives. These individuals operate under the false assumption that they can rid themselves of excess calories by misusing laxatives. This method is actually ineffective since calories are mostly absorbed right after eating. Most laxatives work by directly stimulating nerves or by aggravating the lining of the small intestines. When the intestines are continuously over-stimulated through laxative abuse, the bowels can eventually become unresponsive.  More information on laxative abuse ››