Is laxative abuse a form of bulimia? Have you struggled with emotions like anger when you are in recovery from a laxative addiction? Do you think that health looks a certain way? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about recovering from laxative abuse and an eating disorder with Khadija Morsi.


Khadija Morsi is a 20-year-old second-year student and a mental health advocate. She moved to England 3 years ago and is studying industrial design and technology. She has struggled with her mental health ever since she was 9 but only started getting help when she was 16.

Connect with Khadija on Instagram and TikTok, and find out more about her mental health support shop, yourinnerwill.    


  • Bulimia exists in different forms
  • Becoming dependent on laxatives
  • Coping with the emotions
  • Stop commenting on people’s appearance
  • You will recover

Bulimia exists in different forms

Many people assume that those who suffer from bulimia are excessively underweight and try to make themselves smaller by forcing themselves to be sick after eating. However, you can suffer from bulimia and look a “normal” size. You can also suffer from bulimia if you abuse laxatives to induce food expulsion.

Becoming dependent on laxatives

If you abuse laxatives for an extended period, you risk experiencing unpleasant physical and mental side effects.
It sounds like for you it got to the point where you needed [laxatives] to digest anything. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
You may be abusing laxatives if you experience diarrhea, feel nauseous or constipated, or feel tired all the time, as these are some of the symptoms that can develop after continual use. Even when you are recovering from laxative abuse, you may still experience some unpleasant side effects such as constipation and bloating as your body and its digestive system recover.
When I tried to recover, I started to experience bloating and constipation, and weight gain, and no one warned me that this is temporary and it was not going to be like this forever. (Khadija Morsi)
You can find support and medical advice to help you through this transition and remember that recovery is possible.

Coping with the emotions

Like recovering from any addiction, when you experience withdrawal and feel isolated, upset, and vulnerable, many people become aggressive or angry.
I was angry … because it was like an addiction and when you stop it, you get angry and snap out at people, even the ones close to you. (Khadija Morsi)
Addiction can often develop from wanting a sense of control over life, and it can feel daunting to let go when you realize that it is a false sense of control. In those moments, people may become angry as a self-defense mechanism from the vulnerability they feel.

Stop commenting on people’s appearance

For anyone, stop commenting on people’s appearance because you have no idea which internal criticisms they are already battling when they hear your comments, even if you intended them to be well-meaning.
A lot of the time … people commented on my face, “Oh, you look so tired, you look so ill, are you okay?” and that actually kept feeding this voice in my head that I had to keep restricting and using laxatives. (Khadija Morsi)
Health has no size and health has no specific appearance.

You will recover

Recovery is always possible and always there for you. Even though there may be bad days, know that you can achieve recovery and feel secure, calm, and at peace with yourself and your body in a way that is loving and accepting.
I know you’re struggling still with body image and you have those hard days but keep moving forward for yourself too and know that it gets better. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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