Drunkorexia- Is your daily wine habit becoming too much?

Is your daily wine consumption becoming too much?

Ok so let’s lay the cards on the table with the sensationalizing of women and their daily wine consumption. The past decade of memes and social media posts of how women deal with their daily stress with a glass of wine is fun to chuckle at, Afterall there is so much truth behind it all. Nonetheless, has this trend hit home to you like it has with my social circle? It’s eye opening to see the number of women consuming alcohol on a daily basis. I get it life is stressful, especially this past year, regardless this trend in my opinion has created unhealthy coping skills for many of us. So, I am asking you this- Are you slipping down the rabbit hole of cocktail hour to cope with life? Maybe it’s time to reset, and take a real good look at what you are actually doing to hide the pain.

When an alcohol use disorder is united with disordered eating behaviors, then it can be a disaster. Drunkorexia is a term describing the replacement of meals with alcohol. While the term is not proper clinically, people use it to refer to behaviors like skipping meals, excessively exercising as a way to negate the calories consumed from alcohol. Although it is not recognized as a formal eating disorder or an alcohol abuse disorder, drunkorexia is identified widely by the mental healthcare and eating disorder community as dangerous behavior. Excess consumption of alcohol along with disordered eating is dangerous and can increase the chances of developing serious health problems such as cardiovascular diseases and liver problems.


It is a term that is used for a condition of binge drinking, which is combined with self-imposed starvation with anorexia nervosa. It also addresses those people who use purging to reduce caloric intake to reduce the calories from alcohol. The usual term drunkorexia is a woman (in the college) who is a binge drinker, remains hungry all day in order to get drunk at night. This term has been appeared in media reports but is not recognized diagnostic term officially.

Drunkorexia: A Worrying Trend

it is a major concern for young people. Drinking more and eating less is getting a trend among people who enjoy socializing but also want a smart figure. A study showed that 8 out of 10 college students recently engaged in a minimum of one behavior linked with drunkorexia.

And it is not only the college kids. Studies have revealed that almost 30% of women in their early 20s are skipping meals so that they can drink more. If someone drinks with an empty stomach, then it can increase the blood alcohol content at a fast rate and also can cause dangerous alcohol behaviors like violent assaults and uninhibited behaviors.

Drunkorexia is risky behavior

Drunkorexia is dangerous, and here is why: if people will not get enough calories from food, however, they get calories from alcohol, then they get empty calories. The result can be a high risk for dehydration, vitamin depletion, and other physical and mental health problems. Those people who are eating less and drinking more can be at risk for binge drinking, and it is classified as 5 or more drinks in 2 hours for men and 4 or more drinks in 2 hours for women or. Also, drunkorexia can increase the risk of developing alcohol abuse or an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or bulimia nervosa. Drunkorexia causes high rates of these serious health problems compared to people who drink and eat the right amount of food beforehand. Students who are engaged in this behavior are also at increased risk for unprotected sex, sexual assault, and hospitalization.

Because drunkorexia is unhealthy, it affects physical appearance. Alcohol eats the body’s vitamins and nutrients, hastening the aging process. Decreasing calories with binge drinking can cause acne-prone skin, anemic, nails and hair that are brittle, dizziness, and constipation. Drunkorexia can keep you from getting weight, but a malnourished body with an unhealthy appearance.

Women are at higher risk

As per some studies, almost a third of students in college say that they reduce their food they eat before alcohol to compensate for the calories in alcohol. Some studies also found higher rates of this behavior. It can put many students at increased risk of alcohol-related accidents and other consequences of drinking. If they are not eating before alcohol, they can get drunk, and then they’re likely to face negative effects of alcohol such as blacking out, getting into a fight or sick, having a hangover, or getting advantage of sexually. All the negative impacts of alcohol people can have those more often get to that point fast if they haven’t eaten. In some studies, it has been found that women are more likely than men to reduce food before drinking alcohol. Particularly, women who experience more sexual objectification can engage in this behavior more. This disparity can reflect the gendered pressures that women face and the high social value that is placed on women’s sexual attractiveness in the culture. Although men and women face pressure to have idealized body types, women can be more likely to strive for thinness while men can aim for muscular physiques.

The Dangers of Drunkorexia

Yes, limiting or reducing caloric intake before alcohol will get you drunk quickly. Getting drunk fast means your blood alcohol content is rising at a faster rate. Blood alcohol content rising fast can be risky as you may feel fine one moment and blackout the next moment. Being black out puts you at risk for brain damage. High rates of alcohol can also cause liver failure and heart complications, like strokes. Research shows that the more alcohol people consume, the more at risk they will have to develop alcohol dependence as their brain learns to depend on that substance to function. Restricting calories can cause engagement in binge eating later. Our bodies can survive and get the calories they need for functioning.

Our body needs a balance of minerals, vitamins, and macronutrients (like proteins, fats) to work effectively. If we are not giving our bodies what they require, our ability to think clearly will diminish, we will lose muscle and bone function, and our bodies will begin using the energy intended for our essential organs to function. Electrolyte imbalances can happen, which can cause irregular heartbeat, confusion, seizures, numbness, twitching, blood pressure changes, bone disorders, kidney failure, fatigue, and weakness. Vomiting can lead to teeth deterioration, esophageal tears and contribute to electrolyte imbalances. Concentrating on what you are or are not eating, how much you exercise, and how much you drink can restrict your ability to engage in eloquent relationships with family or friends at work or school.

Even if you tell yourself that this is merely a college thing, research suggests that engagement in these behaviors can exacerbate the chances of developing long-term eating disorders.  

What are the Signs of Drunkorexia?

Binge drinking, a traditional occurrence among college students and weekend drinkers, is defined as the fast consumption of huge quantities of alcohol over a short time. There is no difference between beer, hard liquor, or wine.

Signs of Binge Drinking and Alcohol Poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Irregular breathing
  • Extreme confusion
  • Inability to be awakened

The CDC has listed many problems related to binge drinking. They are:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Children born with fetal spectrum disorders
  • Neurological damage

Almost, 75% of all alcohol consumed in the USA is by adults in binge drinking.

Eating disorders combined with excessive alcohol can take various forms. For those people who suffer from drunkorexia, the likelihood of getting an eating disorder is amplified if the eating disorder does not exist already. There are thoughtful consequences that are attached to starving the body of calories on heavy drinking. In many cases, the user’s body will not absorb or process the alcohol fast enough to evade alcohol poisoning.

Drunkorexia and Addiction

If someone engages in binge drinking on a regular basis in the existence of an eating disorder, that person is vulnerable to get an addiction to alcohol. The addiction cycle is not subtle, and the grip of it is strong. The mistake a lot of people make is thinking that drinking on the weekends does not make them susceptible to alcoholism.

It is debatable whether drunkorexia is a new disorder or not, but the people experiencing anorexia or bulimia are prone to alcohol or substance abuse. As per a 2009 study by the International Journal of Eating Disorders, there is a crucial need for interventions for college women who are targeting binge drinking and eating disorders.

What is the Treatment for Drunkorexia?

There is no certain treatment for “drunkorexia” because it is not a medically diagnosable disorder. It is, as mentioned above, a combination of two disorders. Treatment will address both the eating disorder and the alcoholism. Not all treatment centers can address all these. There can be a fundamental mental health disorder driving both the eating disorder as well as the alcohol addiction. An accurate diagnosis is crucial to address both conditions.

Retrieval of healthy eating habits and maintaining abstinence can be done with accurate information and tools. A dual diagnosis program supervised by certified physicians, psychiatrists, and therapists can make an individualized plan for the patient and provide the support and knowledge necessary to rebuild his/her life. The earlier the intervention, the better the result.

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