“Drunkorexia” is a relatively new term that describes the practice of restricting the amount of food a person eats in order to consume greater amounts of alcohol. Essentially, drunkorexia combines two dangerous behaviors – eating disorders and binge drinking.
“Drunkorexia” is a relatively new term that describes the practice of restricting the amount of food a person eats in order to consume greater amounts of alcohol. Essentially, drunkorexia combines two dangerous behaviors - eating disorders andbinge drinking.
Drunkorexia is not an official medical term, but it’s the best way to describe a worrisome problem that is a mixture of eating disorders and addiction. The New York Times, which ran a feature article on drunkorexia, explained that people who engage in eating disorders while abusing alcohol are “starving themselves, with a cocktail in hand.”
The largest demographic that admits to drunkorexia are college-age students. According to an article in the September 2009 issue of Behavioral Pharmacology, of the college-age students that admitted to drunkorexia, many were women who were using the disorder to cut down on calories.
- Girls who are bulimic and binge drink are more likely to engage in drunkorexia.
- Up to 40 percent of bulimic women report a history of drug or alcohol problems as well.
- Among individuals with eating disorders, those who have bulimia are more prone to the problem of drunkorexia than are those who are struggling with anorexia.
Although the disorder is a not a new phenomenon, its prevalence is increasing. Media outlets are beginning to examine the epidemic of drunkorexia, and healthcare professionals are becoming more aware of the dangers associated with this behavior.
As the number of people who suffer from eating disorders increases, experts are seeing a rise in substance abuse as well. In cases where drunkorexia is about reducing calories, the disorder stems from a preoccupation with weight and a desire to be skinny. The key element to drunkorexia in these cases is a fear of weight gain.
Many of those who admit to drunkorexia are unaware of the consequences that the disorder will have on their body.
Drunkorexia is dangerous because drinking alcohol on an empty stomach poses health risks. Food acts a buffer to keep a person from becoming intoxicated too quickly. When a person drinks on an empty stomach, there is no food present to slow down the absorption of the alcohol. This means that a person gets intoxicated faster.
Rapid intoxication can lead to medical problems such as memory blackouts and alcohol poisoning. People who drink on an empty stomach are also more likely to get sick later.
Women are more likely to suffer from the medical consequences of drunkorexia because of their anatomy. Women’s bodies produce lower quantities of an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol. This places them at a higher risk for blackouts and health problems.
In addition to this, alcohol is a toxin that increases the risk of developing myriad illnesses and health problems. Alcohol abuse increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, liver disease and obesity. It has also been associated with psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Drunkorexia is a very dangerous disorder, and people who engage in this type of behavior are often in need of professional treatment before the problem ruins their lives. A variety of treatment options are available, including outpatient therapy, hospitalization and residential programs.