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Drunkorexia: Understanding the Dangers and Seeking Help

The Dangers of Drunkorexia

A concerning trend known as “drunkorexia” has emerged among some young women (and some men). Drunkorexia is common among college students and parents need to be aware of the dangers it poses to health. Let’s discuss this risky behavior, its warning signs, consequences, and treatment options.

What is Drunkorexia?

Drunkorexia is a term used to describe a behavior pattern in which individuals restrict their food intake or exercise excessively in order to make room for the caloric intake of alcohol. This attempt to minimize weight gain from alcohol can lead to severe physical and mental health problems.

Symptoms Associated with Alcohol Abuse and Restricted Eating:

  1. Skipping meals or severely restricting food intake before drinking alcohol.
  2. Engaging in excessive exercise to burn calories before consuming alcohol.
  3. Frequent binge drinking episodes accompanied by minimal or no food consumption.
  4. Developing a preoccupation with body image and weight loss.
  5. Exhibiting signs of alcohol dependence or addiction.
  6. Frequent mood swings, irritability, or anxiety.
  7. Experiencing gastrointestinal issues like stomach pain or vomiting.

Warning Signs of Drunkorexia

Recognizing the warning signs of drunkorexia can be crucial in identifying the problem and seeking timely help. Look out for the following signs:

  1. Significant weight loss or fluctuation.
  2. Obsession with counting calories and excessive concern about body weight.
  3. Frequent and excessive alcohol consumption, especially on an empty stomach.
  4. Skipping meals or restrictive eating patterns before drinking.
  5. Engaging in intense exercise routines to “compensate” for alcohol calories.

Health Consequences Associated with Caloric Restriction and Excessive Drinking

Drunkorexia can have severe health consequences due to the combination of disordered eating behaviors and heavy alcohol consumption. Some of the potential health risks associated with drunkorexia include:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies: Restricting food intake can lead to inadequate intake of essential nutrients. This can result in malnutrition vitamin deficiencies.
  2. Increased risk of alcohol poisoning: When there is little or no food in the stomach, alcohol is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream, leading to rapid intoxication and potentially dangerous levels of alcohol in the body.
  3. Impaired cognitive function: Combining disordered eating habits with alcohol can impair cognitive function and decision-making abilities. Alcohol affects the brain, and when combined with malnutrition or dehydration, cognitive effects can be exacerbated.
  4. Liver damage: Heavy alcohol consumption can cause liver damage, such as fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis.
  5. Gastrointestinal problems: Drunkorexia can contribute to gastrointestinal issues like stomach ulcers, gastritis, and acid reflux due to the irritant effects of alcohol on the digestive system.
  6. Electrolyte imbalances: Restricting food intake in combination with excessive drinking can lead to electrolyte imbalances in the body. Electrolytes are essential for maintaining proper hydration, nerve function, and muscle function. Imbalances can cause issues such as muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and even seizures.
  7. Mental health issues: Drunkorexia can exacerbate existing mental health conditions or contribute to the development of new ones. Alcohol abuse can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Treatment Offers Hope

If you or someone you know is struggling with drunkorexia, it is crucial to seek professional help. Breakthrough Recovery Outreach offers residential recovery programs that help patients suffering from alcoholism.

With therapy, the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and a strong support system, people recover and go on to live happier, healthier lives.

Contact us to learn how we can help!