There is another eating disorder on the horizon only this one involves not eating as well as lots of drinking. It is called drunkorexia and women are three times as likely it as men. The idea behind this pattern of behavior is that women ‘save up’ their calorie consumption by denying themselves food so that they can binge on alcohol calories.
What is drunkorexia?
Previous studies have found that many women tend to restrict calories during the week so that they can binge on alcohol during the weekend. There are several reasons why women display this behavior. Of course there is the fact that they do not want to gain weight (alcohol is very high in calories and could lead to weight gain).
Then there is the fact that women want to get drunk faster – when you drink on an empty stomach. Also they want to save money on food and then spend it on buying alcoholic drinks. Another reason is that excessive drinking could cause one to throw up – and therefore purge. This is similar to the binging purging behaviors that bulimics display.
A teenager suffering from drunkoreria was warned that if she carried on with her unhealthy lifestyle she would be dead in two years.
Possible reasons for drunkorexia
On the one hand is the social pressure for women to look a certain way to be a certain size and to wear a certain size of clothing. On the other hand is the pressure to socialize and to appear ‘with it’ which does tend to involve drinking.
So women seem to have found a via media where they make sacrifices during the week so that they can ‘let go’ during the weekend. While eating moderately during the week and then a little more on the weekends won’t harm most of us, it is the extreme calorie restriction during the week and alcohol binging during the weekend that is so harmful.
Women tend to display this behavior to prevent alcohol related weight gain and to get high quickly – an empty stomach and lower body mass both mean that women get drunk faster. Men tend to do this to save money to buy alcohol. One study conducted by the University of Missouri found that significant numbers of female college students display drunkorexic behavior. First year college students have been identified as being at high risk of binge drinking behavior.
Women who have problems with alcohol very often tend to have some eating disorder as well which also illustrates the connection between alcohol abuse and eating disorders.