A dangerous trend among binge drinkers has a very catchy name: Drunkorexia. While the name itself is almost comical and has developed a pop-culture status, the “disorder” is anything but. Drunkorexia a combination of binge drinking and anorexia, and is a behavior characterized by swapping food calories for alcoholic calories or a general limitation of food consumed while drinking.
Drunkorexics will purposely starve themselves throughout the day in preparation for a night of heavy drinking. Some drunkorexics will binge on junk food while intoxicated, feel guilty about it later and go on to purge. Some people develop full blown anorexia and alcoholism as a result of this practice The trend has rapidly increased amongst college students, specifically women who are more likely to suffer from body image issues. Women also metabolize alcohol differently than men and are more susceptible to health problems such as organ failure.
Both anorexia and alcohol abuse are extremely dangerous and can have severe side effects. The appeal of being drunkorexic amongst many young girls lies in the pursuit if being glamorous and thin. Others chose to binge drink as a means to cope with their current eating disorders. The term is not yet recognized in the medical field and therefore might not also be seen as a serious issue, but for many their lives are at risk.
As a result of food calorie restriction, alcohol has stronger and faster effects in the body. With this rapid intoxication, the drinker is less likely to make safe choices and may find themselves in danger. Many cases of date rape and rape have resulted from blackouts and binge drinking among women on college campuses. Binge drinking seriously impairs decision making and motor functions, especially when the drinker is not getting adequate nutrition. Anorexia and bulimia also affect the body adversely.
Anorexia and bulimia can result in organ failure, irregular heart beat, rotted teeth, extreme exhaustion and death.
The behaviors might start out relatively harmless such as deciding to forgo dinner for a night of drinking. Just like with any addiction, the habits can be progressive and begin to take control of the person’s life. Calorie counting and alcohol consumption will take precedence over other activities. Students may perform poorly in school or suffer illness more frequently. As with alcoholism, depression is also a risk.
In college, students may feel invincible because of their youth and new found freedom from parental control. Binge drinking is nothing new for a college campus. The fact is that drunkorexia, while a newer word in our culture’s lexicon has caught the attention of counselors who have offered classes and sessions to discuss maintaining a healthy lifestyle with the students.
Currently treatment methods for dealing with Drunkorexia are 12 step groups, therapy, and treatment centers. Someone who is suffering from drunkorexia may want to get a recommendation from a professional to determine which course of action is the best for them.