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The ‘Drunkorexia’ Phenomenon

They often say that one disorder can feed into another. And that apparently is the case with a newer issue called “drunkorexia.” Covered in outlets like The Washington Post, this alarming trend involves purposely avoiding food throughout the day in preparation for a night of binge drinking. Worse yet…purging is also commonly linked, as a way to consume heavy cocktails without gaining weight.

Apparently, this is a growing phenomenon among primarily females. As the article explains…many young women do get caught up with body image concerns, while also getting enticed by the party-like atmosphere of college.

“Drunkorexia addresses the need to be the life of the party while staying extremely thin, pointing to a flawed mindset about body image and alcoholism among college students, mostly women,” Post journalist Cara Rosenbloom writes in her article. “But drinking in this manner is dangerous, particularly because the lack of food in the stomach means a faster absorption of alcohol.”

Indeed, it is common knowledge that drinking on an empty stomach can do a lot more damage on organs like the liver. It also lowers the immune system and puts people (especially with low weight counts) at a much greater risk for alcohol poisoning.

And when you think about young women on a college campus, the idea of being blackout drunk can raise many other concerns. Sadly, we are all aware of the sexual assault risks that can happen at those wild parties. Not to mention the drunk driving dangers and the possibility of fights and physical violence.

In an earlier article on The Fix website, drunkorexia was called out as a major concern. For one thing, it was reported that as many as 16 percent of U.S. college students engage in this practice. Plus with the advent of social media, airbrushed supermodels and glorified Instagram icons, “perfect” looks and body sizes are often thrust in front of these 20-somethings’ faces.

Dr. Douglas Bunnell, former president of the National Eating Disorders Association, was interviewed for the piece and believed that anorexia and alcoholism make for a very dangerous combination. He also mentioned that it was easy to see the allure of both from the eyes of a vulnerable young coed.

“Both disorders are behaviors that are glorified and reinforced,” Dr. Bunell told the site. “Binge drinking is almost cool and hip, and losing weight and being thin is a cultural imperative for young women in America. Mixing both is not surprising, and it has reached a tipping point in terms of public awareness.”