Drunkorexia: It’s a bizarre new term that describes a life-threatening eating disorder more young adult women are exhibiting. The behavior involves girls refusing food and then consuming large amounts of alcohol in order to get an alcoholic “buzz” more quickly and conserve the calories the alcohol brings.
Like other eating disorders, drunkorexia can be deadly, but is emerging as a dieting trend in some media headlines. As described in a recent post, as Lady Gaga and her self-proclaimed “drunk diet,” the behavior is gaining attention among college-aged girls.
Drunkorexia is also affecting young adult women who may avoid eating food during the day or for a period of days if they know a party or social event is coming up. The motivation is similar to other eating disorders that begin with a desire to remain thin, but escalate to an out of control and life-threatening situation.
Experts warn that diseases like diabetes, heart problems and nervous system disorders are more likely with this kind of poor nutrition. Women who avoid food and then consume alcohol are also at higher risk for alcohol poisoning, as well as triggering the onset of other eating disorders, like bulimia and anorexia.
Contrary to media headlines, refusing food and then binge drinking is not glamorous. In addition to health risks from malnutrition and risks for alcohol poisoning, women who participate in severe calorie restriction followed by binge drinking may also be starting a journey toward alcoholism that can take a lifetime to recover from.
Professional counseling and peer support can help young women recover from dysfunctional eating patterns like drunkorexia before the behavior becomes a long-term and potentially fatal battle with an eating disorder.