Drunkorexia: A Risky Cocktail

Have you ever skipped a meal so you can drink alcohol without putting on weight?

You may have drunkorexia, a popular term for the combination of excessive drinking and anorexic behaviors.­ Drunkorexia is linked to body image concerns. That’s why it is particularly common among weight-conscious young women, but muscle-conscious men can have it, too. People who have drunkorexia are very aware of the caloric values of food, drink and exercise, and will do whatever it takes to be able to drink the alcohol.

Drunkorexia is common on college campuses. Studies show that as many as 26 percent of students use dieting and exercise to offset alcohol intake and control their weight.

Drunkorexia can be even more problematic than getting drunk. Drinking on an empty stomach speeds up the absorption of alcohol and increases levels of intoxication and cognitive impairment, all of which can have nightmarish consequences, such as accidents, unprotected sex, ulcers, malnutrition, and alcohol overdose.

If you have drunkorexic behaviors, you may not yet have an eating disorder, but you are at increased risk of developing an eating disorder. For anyone, drunkorexic or not, if you begin obsessing over food and calories, that obsession may take on a life of its own and begin directing your behavior and thinking. When you no longer feel that you can control your thoughts and actions, you probably do have an eating disorder.

Many of our clients come to us after entering treatment for substance abuse. When they become sober, they realize that they have both an eating disorder and an addiction. The two problems often have similar root causes, so it is beneficial to work on solving them both simultaneously. We have a variety of therapeutic tools to help you recover. We’ll help you work through the experiences, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors that have brought you to this point. Get in touch with us to learn how we can help you change course and prepare for a more satisfying, engaged life!