All You Need to Know About Drunkorexia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Drunkorexia is a slang term for someone who reduces dietary calories to make place for alcoholic beverage calories. Despite the known hazards of these activities, research suggests that 30% of women between the ages of 18 and 23 diet in order to drink. “Drunkorexia” is college-age binge drinkers, mostly women.
Drunkorexia is not just a problem in the United States. It is seen in college students around the world.
Men and women who engage in drunkorexia activity appear to have different motivations, and females appear to be more likely to engage in this behavior. According to one study, college women were more than 1.5 times more likely than males to reduce their meal consumption before drinking.
According to studies, the link between weight control motivation and women who drink heavily is particularly strong. Women who restrict their food before drinking have been found to have higher incidents of eating disorders, alcohol abuse, and depressive and/or anxious symptoms.
Symptoms of Drunkorexia
The main symptom of this condition is avoiding food intake to consume alcohol. Other symptoms involve:
• Restriction of food intake
• Excessive exercise or physical activity to compensate for the calorie intake
• Calculating daily intake of calories in order to ensure that no weight is gained when consuming alcohol
• Skipping or missing meals to conserve calories that will be recompensed by alcohol consumption
• Drinking dangerous amount of alcohol to vomit formerly ingested food
• Feeling embarrassed while drinking because of consuming the calories
• Getting sick after a drinking session and then drinking more after purging to sustain high levels of intoxication
• They are more likely to get intoxicated faster if they drink on an empty stomach. They are more likely to become ill and vomit as a result of this. If this occurs on a regular basis, it may lead to tooth decay.
• Behavioral changes
• Obsessive concern over weight gain and body image
• A lack of self-confidence
• Poor coping abilities
• Anxiety about losing control
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Causes of Drunkorexia
Drunkorexia behaviors are more common in college-aged women, but men often experience them too. They come from the dread of weight gain from alcohol. The behaviors may be linked to bulimia or anorexia in extreme circumstances. Individuals who do not have an eating disorder yet restrict their food before going out may nevertheless experience “Drunkorexia.”
Risks of Drunkorexia
• Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to overindulgence and an unanticipated level of intoxication. This can impair judgment and increase the risk of bodily harm.
• Restricting food intake reduces nutritional availability while metabolizing alcohol raises the need for specific nutrients. Nutrient deficits are more likely as a result of this combination.
• Drinking alcohol after a workout limits protein synthesis and muscle regeneration, slowing the recovery process and reducing potential fitness gains.
• Drinking alcohol impairs our decision-making ability and may lead you to harmful eating practices like binge eating.
Complications of Drunkorexia
Following are the long term effects and complications of Drunkorexia:
- Reduced coordination
- Abdominal pain
- Slowed brain function
- Mental disorientation
- Liver Damage
- Higher blood pressure
- Pimples / Acne-prone skin
- Brittle nails and hair
- Unclear speech
- Mood swings
- Abdominal bloating
- Heart problems
- Forgetfulness / Dementia
- Driving under the influence
- Showing no interest in things
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Prevention of Drunkorexia
Colleges and institutions should educate new freshmen about the elevated health risks connected with calorie restriction prior to alcohol consumption to address the problematic behavior of Drunkorexia. High-risk groups, such as those in sororities and fraternities, should be screened and given additional support.
Diagnosis of Drunkorexia
A physical examination may be performed by the doctor to rule out any underlying illnesses that have harmed the patient. The doctor will recommend them to a psychiatrist after an evaluation. The psychiatrist will inquire about their eating and drinking habits. In order to identify this disease, they will also consider their personal and medical histories.
Treatment of Drunkorexia
The treatment method is a combination of medication and therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Understanding the beliefs and patterns that govern bad behavior and replacing them with good ones in order to achieve the desired outcome is the goal of this therapy. CBT is regarded as the most effective treatment for all eating disorders, including Drunkorexia, according to research.
A group of people addresses their concerns to a team of therapists in this therapy. They talk about their eating habits and drinking, as well as how they feel about it, then their concerns are met on an individual basis.
To alleviate the symptoms, the patient may be prescribed medication. Alcoholism, on the other hand, does not have medical treatment. There are drugs that can make drinking less pleasurable, causing you to drink less. Disulfiram (which makes people feel nauseous or spew up), Acamprosate (which helps with cravings), and Naltrexone are among them (this blocks the high they get from drinking). The doctor will evaluate the situation and give medication as needed.