A new kind of eating disorder is becoming an epidemic: drunkorexia. Drunkorexia involves starving yourself (similar to anorexia), then binge drinking later on. It’s super dangerous, because anorexia and binge drinking are each deadly on their own–when combined, they’re especially lethal.
Drunkorexia victims starve themselves so that they won’t put on the pounds from their high-calorie binge drinking sessions later. Binge drinking can already kill a normal, healthy person through alcohol poisoning, but binge drinking on an empty stomach is even more dangerous–because drinking on an empty stomach gets you intoxicated faster. If you feel hungry or thirsty, as “drunkorexics” often do, you may be likely to drink even more, putting you at a greater risk for poor decisions like drunk driving, risky sexual behaviors, alcohol poisoning, and death.
Aside from that, it puts you at a higher risk of longer term problems like liver and breast cancer, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system (meaning you can get sick a lot more). Additionally, drunkorexia-style behavior, even only occasionally, can lead to more severe eating disorders and substance abuse problems later.
Something especially scary about drunkorexia? The starvation-binge drinking cycle is pretty common on college campuses, where, especially in sorority culture, there’s a ton of pressure to both drink (especially during hazing) and be thin.
One girl recently appealed for help for drunkorexia victims after binge drinking and skipping meals for about two years. Unfortunately, there are few resources available specifically for drunkorexia. Binge drinking and alcoholism have separate resources than eating disorders like anorexia, so they’re often treated separately. Her doctors told her without pulling any punches that if she keeps living like this, she won’t live much longer–and that she can die within two years. That’s scary stuff, girls!
What should you do if you think you or a pal are at risk for drunkorexia? First, avoid situations where you think binge drinking will be involved. Instead of heading to a house party, go to the movies, hit up a museum, take a trip to the mall. If being around booze is inevitable, stop at one drink–and that’s if and only if you’re 21, girls!–and be sure to never, ever drink on an empty stomach.
Do you think drunkorexia is common? Do you or someone you know suffer from or partake in drunkorexia to cut Calories before binge drinking? Tell us in the comments!