Drunkorexia

Aoife takes a look at this new concept…

Drunkorexia is a non-medical term that refers to someone who restricts food calories to make room for alcoholic drink calories. This term was coined to describe people who are afraid to gain weight but also have a desire to binge drink. It is something that is most commonly seen in younger people (18-25). Drunkorexia is a very concerning condition for many reasons. It has been described as a mix between anorexic behaviours and binge drinking.

Risks

Missing out on calories from food in favor of drink calories has several risks. These behaviors pose a threat to an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

  • Minimizing the calories that are consumed by food and replacing them with alcohol means that the person will be missing out on essential nutrients needed for everyday functioning. If these drunkorexic behaviors are happening regularly, the effects on the body will be more damaging.
  • Binge drinking can harm your body, and binge drinking on an empty stomach makes it all the more extreme. Eating before alcohol is consumed slows down the abortion process. Alcohol can only be processed at a certain rate by the liver, so the slower the absorption the better. If more is drunk before the liver can metabolize it, the alcohol will be absorbed into the blood and into organs (including the brain) causing intoxication. Persistent binge drinking can leave people with permanent damage to vital organs.
  • Drinking on an empty stomach will reduce your self-control and inhibit your decision-making. Depending on the level of intoxication, these behaviors could land the person in a dangerous situation.
  • Any time that someone is restricting what they eat, the body will react physically and psychologically to the hunger. These reactions feel much stronger when intoxicated and binge eating will become a risk.