New Biography Reveals Karen Carpenter Took Over 90 Laxatives At Once As She Battled With Anorexia


Mariane Angela Contributor
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“Lead Sister: The Story of Karen Carpenter” delves into the struggles Karen Carpenter faced with anorexia nervosa during the 1970s and early 1980s.

The famed musician’s struggle led to her passing at the age of 32 in 1983, per Daily Mail. In January 1982, the emaciated Carpenters singer-drummer sought help, checking into the City Regency Hotel in Manhattan for six months of intensive therapy sessions with psychotherapist Steven Levenkron, each session costing $100. Her commitment to therapy was evident, despite the demanding timeline and expenses.

Carpenter’s deep-seated compulsive behaviors became apparent during these sessions. She admitted to taking over 90 Dulcolax pills at once and consuming ten pills of Synthroid daily, a thyroid medication known to accelerate metabolism.

By September 1982, Carpenter was admitted to Lenox Hill, an intensive-care hospital in Manhattan, where she weighed a mere 77 pounds and suffered from severe dehydration. Her blood potassium level had plummeted to a life-threatening 1.8, and her digestive tract was in shambles, necessitating intravenous nutrition, the outlet added. (RELATED: Jessica Simpson’s Dramatically Thin Frame Sparks Concern)

During her hospitalization, Carpenter experienced a turnaround, allowing herself to be cared for and gaining 20 pounds over seven weeks. She also took significant steps in her personal life, and the singer signed a divorce petition from Thomas James Burris, whom she had married in 1980, in her hospital room on October 28, asserting her independence.

Overcoming her eating disorder and completing therapy with Levenkron in November 1982, three years short of the recommended duration, Carpenter presented her therapist with a needlepoint canvas reading “YOU WIN — I GAIN.”

Despite her progress and being eager to rebuild her life, in February 1983, she was discovered unclothed and motionless on the floor of her childhood home in Downey, California, by her parents, Harold and Agnes.