Drunkorexia describes the dangerous combination of alcohol abuse and disordered eating (particularly anorexia). It’s been increasingly seen in college-age adults, but can affect people from their teenage years and beyond.
It’s characterized by the deliberate restriction of calories before drinking, binge drinking, and/or excessive exercise to “burn off” the calories from alcohol consumption. If left untreated, this condition can put individuals at risk for serious physical, mental, and emotional health issues. In this article, we’ll be exploring what drunkorexia is, its effects on mental and physical health, the dangers associated with it, and the treatment options available for those experiencing it.
As with many other mental health issues, drunkorexia’s psychology is complex. In most cases, it likely involves a combination of low self-esteem, fear of gaining weight or losing control over eating habits due to uncontrollable cravings to drink. It’s also been suggested that people suffering from drunkorexia may have difficulty regulating their emotions and impulses, which can lead to them using food restriction as a coping mechanism for distress.
While drunkorexia does not fit neatly into any one diagnosis, its symptoms closely resemble those found in anorexia nervosa. Both conditions involve maladaptive patterns of behaviors surrounding food intake—such as restricting calories before drinking or binging on unhealthy foods after excessive alcohol consumption.
There has yet to be conclusive evidence regarding why some individuals turn to restrictive dieting practices before consuming alcohol for relief from emotional distress. However, research suggests that this behavior is often used as a form of “self-medication,” meant to temporarily distract from negative feelings while under the influence. This tactic can become dangerous when combined with binge drinking. It increases the risk of serious physical harm due to alcohol poisoning or injuries sustained during intoxication periods caused by impaired judgment.
Drunkorexia can have serious physical consequences on the body due to its combination of calorie restriction, binge drinking, and at times, excessive exercise. Some of these effects include an increased risk for dehydration, vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, alcohol poisoning and other serious health issues associated with both eating disorders and alcohol abuse.
In addition to its physical repercussions, drunkorexia effects can also be damaging in terms of mental health. This condition is often associated with low self-esteem or an unhealthy relationship with food, which can lead to distorted thoughts related to body image or dieting habits. It is also known for triggering anxiety or depression when individuals feel like they’ve lost control over their behavior surrounding food intake or alcohol consumption. This could cause them further distress if not addressed properly by a professional therapist or psychologist.
The emotional toll that drunkorexia effects have on those experiencing this disorder is significant since it often involves feeling guilt or shame about having difficulty controlling one’s actions. This contributes heavily to developing a negative self-image. These emotions may become even more intense when faced with social pressures regarding one’s appearance. For example, an individual experiencing drunkorexia could be judged harshly by peers because of excess weight gain caused by calorie restriction combined with regular binge drinking sessions.
Dangers of Drunkorexia
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Individuals suffering from drunkorexia are at risk for severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, tremors, and even seizures due to regular binge drinking sessions. This can be especially dangerous if left untreated, since it can lead to more serious medical complications like heart palpitations and even death in some cases.
Risk of Long-term Health Complications
Drunkorexia puts individuals at an increased risk for developing long-term health issues such as liver damage, kidney problems, gastrointestinal distress, and nutrient deficiencies. These issues could have serious consequences on an individual’s physical well-being if not managed properly by a doctor or other healthcare professional.
Increased Risk of Addiction
Drunkorexia increases the likelihood of developing an addiction to either food or alcohol – or both. As these behaviors become more frequent and intense over time, individuals may find themselves unable to control their impulses. This can lead them further down a destructive path that is difficult—but possible!—to recover from. Seeking treatment is a necessary step to regain healthy habits surrounding food intake and alcohol use once again.
Seeking help for drunkorexia is essential to prevent any potential long-term health risks associated with this disorder. Not only that, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your health and overall well-being. Once you take the first step—seeking treatment—you can begin your path towards achieving healthier eating habits while managing your alcohol consumption more responsibly at the same time.
At Eating Disorder Solutions, our experienced and compassionate team is here to help with our holistic approach to heal your mind, body, and soul—no matter how “mild” or “severe” your eating disorder is. The treatment options we have available include residential, outpatient programs, and nutritional therapy to get you on the track to better health. We’ll help you decide which is right for you and create a personalized program just for you. Most importantly, treatment consists of addressing the underlying causes so you can overcome past traumas and heal from within.
Begin Recovery with Eating Disorder Solutions
If you need help overcoming an eating disorder like drunkorexia, contact us at Eating Disorder Solutions for your free consultation today. We’re to help you get your life back on track!