Drunkorexia: The Dangers of Cutting Calories for Alcohol

by Jeffrey Juergens | |  

What is Drunkorexia?

Researchers coined the term “drunkorexia” after studies found a connection between binge drinking and dangerous eating disorders, particularly the self-starving behaviors seen in anorexia nervosa.

Drunkorexia is a slang term for skipping meals to “spend” more calories on alcohol consumption.

The reasons behind drunkorexic habits might be different depending on gender. Women might skip meals so they can drink without fear of gaining weight. Men may “drink their calories” to get drunk faster or save money on a night out.

Drunkorexia is a prevalent and dangerous trend among young people in America. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or an eating disorder, call us now for help.

The Effects of Drunkorexia

Drunkorexia combines the individual dangers of anorexia nervosa and alcohol abuse, amplifying their effects. Alcohol is absorbed faster on an empty stomach, which can lead to many dangerous side effects. These include:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Listlessness
  • Stomach pain
  • Mental confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Slowed brain function
  • Slurred speech
  • Constipation

The risk of fatal alcohol poisoning skyrockets when drinking on an empty stomach. Drunkorexic behavior also contributes to greater risk for violent outbursts and risky sexual activity.

Long-term Effects of Drunkorexia

Drunkorexic behavior damages both the mind and body while also laying a foundation for more dangerous behavioral disorders to come about.

Many young people don’t perceive drunkorexic behavior to be abnormal or dangerous. Binge drinking on an empty stomach has become more common among young men and women at American colleges. Research shows 26 percent of young adults rely on drunkorexic practices as weight-management techniques. This could lead to chronic illnesses and health problems over time, such as:

  • Liver damage
  • Heart and brain damage
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Substance use disorders
  • Advanced eating disorders

Treatment for Eating Disorders and Alcohol Abuse

Drunkorexia is not yet featured in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Although someone cannot be officially diagnosed with this disorder, they may have an official co-occurring eating and alcohol use disorder. Drunkorexic behaviors should be addressed immediately to avoid long-term damage.

Someone with drunkorexic behaviors might not meet the criteria for anorexia nervosa or alcoholism. This does not make the practice any less harmful.

Drunkorexia increases the odds of developing more severe conditions later in life, making early treatment important. Inpatient and outpatient programs across the country specialize in treating alcohol abuse, addiction and self-starving behaviors.

Psychological counseling can also provide help. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) help those struggling stay focused on recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with disordered eating habits or alcohol abuse, contact us today.

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