The term “drunkorexia” isn’t found as often as other disordered eating issues such as binge eating and anorexia nervosa, but it is still just as worrisome. This mix of eating issues and alcohol can lead to many dangerous side effects, including death.
If you want to find out more about drunkorexia and how it can affect people, especially college students, read on.
What is Drunkorexia?
Drunkorexia is used to describe a common behavior, especially among college students, where people restrict their eating throughout the day and then binge drink at night. This can include not eating as much or purging after eating. This is so the lack of calories during the day “balances out” those ingested at night from alcohol.
Drunkorexia is highly dangerous, especially for those who have a smaller amount of body fat or for those on medication. Without food, it is very easy to become intoxicated at a faster rate.
What Does Drunkorexia Do to Your Body?
While cutting back calories to make room for an alcohol binge later may seem harmless, it has many damaging side effects. These include:
- Stomach Issues – Skipping food for alcohol can lead to your digestive system malfunctioning. Bloating, throat damage from throwing up, and constipation are not uncommon for this disordered eating pattern.
- Alcohol Side Effects – Because drunkorexia exacerbates the effects of alcohol, the dangers from intoxication increase. Alcohol poisoning, brain damage, liver disease, cardiac problems, and type 2 diabetes are all short and long term side effects.
- Nutrient Deficiencies – Eating less decreases the amount of nutrients your body takes in, and alcohol increases the need for said nutrients. This deadly combo can lead to problems such as brittle hair and nails, increased likelihood of acne, and dizziness.
Additionally, this eating and drinking pattern may increase the risk of dangerous situations, and the possibility of dementia later in life.
What Are Symptoms Of Drunkorexia in Others?
If you suspect that a loved one has drunkorexia, there are a number of noticeable symptoms. These include, but are not limited to:
- Not eating a lot (if anything) during the day, and binge drinking at night
- Mentioning stomach and digestive issues, such as constipation
- Bad breath and/or dental work
- Calorie counting
- Constantly dieting
While one of these symptoms may not be an indicator of drunkorexia, a combination of these red flags could mean that someone has it.
How Do You Get Help for Drunkorexia?
Many different treatment options exist for drunkorexia, including intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization, and inpatient or residential treatment programs. Which one is best depends on numerous factors, such as the severity of the case, age, and gender.