An anorexic mother ended up in hospital when her weight dropped to less than 31kg (five stone) after she spent more than $170,000 (£94,000) on laxatives.
Australian Casey Dunstan, 26, was depressed by her post-baby body and quickly became addicted to laxatives in a bid to lose weight.
Ignoring the three-a-day limit on the drugs she ended up taking 200 pills a day and spending more than $550 (£300) a week on them.
Losing more than 50kg (eight stone) – dropping from 80kg (12st 8lbs) to 27kg (4st 3lbs) – Miss Dunstan was told she would die if she didn't stop.
Horrified at the prospect of her son growing up without a mother, Miss Dunstan has since beaten the illness and got her weight back to a healthy 64kg (10st 1lbs).
Casey Dunstan, 26, became addicted to laxatives after getting depressed about her body after giving birth to her son, and she lost almost two thirds of her bodyweight (pictured in hospital)
Miss Dunstan, from Wallsend in New South Wales, Australia, said being told she might die and leave her son, Nathan, six, (pictured) without a mother was the wake-up call she needed
Following the birth of her son Nathan, now six, in 2012, Miss Dunstan felt 'extremely depressed' by the effect carrying a child had had on her body.
She managed to lose more than 19kg (three stone) in seven months but she still felt her slim figure wasn't enough.
Desperate for new ways to shed the pounds quickly, Miss Dunstan, a law student from Wallsend in Newcastle, New South Wales, turned to diet pills and supplements.
'Even after losing 20kg, I still hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror,' she said. 'I became convinced I needed to lose just that little but more.
'I'd already been restricting what I ate and exercising more, but I wanted that extra help.
'I went to the chemist and couldn't believe the hundreds of different products available to help people lose weight, it was incredible.
'I wanted something to speed up the process. So I decided to try laxatives to help move things along, as I'd been feeling constipated and sluggish.'
Managing to lose 1kg (two pounds) overnight by taking laxatives, Miss Dunstan quickly became hooked as she watched the weight drop off.
She immediately doubled her dose to 12 tablets per day, despite the recommended limit of three, and in less than a month found herself taking 200 a day and eating almost nothing.
'The dose said to take no more than three, but because I wanted it to be really effective, I took six,' she said.
'It worked and the next morning I was a kilogram lighter and over the moon. The next day I took 12. The weight began melting off and it just spiralled into an uncontrollable addiction.
'Before I knew it, I'd swallow 40 tablets in one go after every little thing I ate and would total around 200 laxatives a day.
At the height of her anorexia, Miss Dunstan was taking a dangerous 200 laxatives every day, and eating only yoghurt, a handful of almonds and mushed up slices of banana
Miss Dunstan's illness came to a head when, weighing just 4st 3lbs (27kg), she became dizzy and collapsed at home, leaving her 53-year-old mother, Sandra, to rush her to hospital
'I experienced awful cramps and excruciating pain, but I didn't care.'
As well as the pain and damage to her health, Miss Dunstan's addiction quickly became a financial drain, too.
'The chemist became my second home,' she added.
'I'd be in there at least three days a week stocking up on laxatives and weight loss pills. I was spending $550 [approx. £304] a week, which is just insane.
'It was financially damaging. Any little money I had left after paying rent, bills and providing for my son, I'd always spend at the chemist.'
Miss Dunstan was also dangerously restricting her food intake to just a few hundred