For most people, the term drunkorexia is a new term. It is the name of a disturbing new binge-drinking trend that has swept through college campuses. It is a scary new drinking culture where a person restricts food calories to make room for alcohol drink calories. It is also known as the liquid diet. It is a combination of an eating disorder, anorexia, with binge drinking. Studies have shown that 30% of men and women between 18 and 23 are affected.
According to Wikipedia, it is “a colloquialism for self-imposed starvation or binge eating/purging combined with alcohol abuse.”
This behavior stems from the fear of gaining weight from alcohol intake. The behavior may be related to bulimia, where alcohol causes vomiting much easier and help manage eating anxieties. Those who wish to get intoxicated faster may avoid food during the day to allow alcohol to go through the stomach and the small intestines into the bloodstream. Some others think alcohol has calories so they avoid food. It is a misconception since alcohol has no nutritional value, and it has what is considered empty calories. This drinking disorder can get so bad and have an individual hospitalized for up to 3 weeks.
Avoiding food calories in favor of drinking calories can pose several risks. You compound the dangers of eating disorders and binge drinking, which can pose an even more significant threat to the individual’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Below are some of the risks;
- Drinking on an empty stomach gets someone drunk faster, and reduces self-control. They are therefore predisposed to make bad decisions that they would not have made if they were sober.
- One may also experience binge eating since they are starving and unable to control their urge to eat.
- By reducing the amount of food calorie intake, the individual is at risk of not getting the nutrients they need for their body to function.
There is no specific treatment for it. It is a combination of two different disorders; hence treatment should focus on both. Not many treatment centers are capable of treating both alcoholism and eating disorders. There might be an underlying mental health disorder driving alcoholism and an eating disorder.
Regaining a healthy life free from eating disorders and alcoholism is possible if the individual has the correct information tools. Getting into a dual diagnosis program supervised by addiction certifies physicians, therapists, and psychiatrists to create an individual plan. They will also provide the knowledge, skills, and support needed for the patient to rebuild his life, just like any other addiction—the earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcome.
The individual should learn to moderate and not eliminate food intake. They need to understand their bodies need essential nutrients.