Archive for the ‘Drunkorexia’ Category

“Drunkorexia” A Growing Trend Among College Students

November 12, 2010

Cleared2Drive Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco Education Office at the University of Northern Colorado Communication Director at Colorado State University Drunkorexia consuming alcohol binge drinking National Eating Disorders AssociationThe staff here at Cleared2Drive thought we had heard it all but have to admit were left shaking our heads, just like you I am assuming, when we heard the term, “Drunkorexia”?  While it is not considered to be the appropriate medical term, it is the most easily understood term for the practice of swapping food calories for those in alcohol especially among female college students.

Campus counselors are hearing the term in the context of alcohol education and eating disorders. “It’s a sensationalized term, but it’s a tangible idea for students,” acknowledges Emily Hedstrom-Lieser of the Drug, Alcohol & Tobacco Education Office at the University of Northern Colorado.

Pam McCracken, Communication Director at Colorado State University, reports, “They will think, `I’m drinking, therefore I don’t want to eat so much, so I’m going to have a mixed green salad and a Diet Coke. I say, `Look, the day that you’re consuming alcohol is not the day to cut back on your calories.’ ”

A study published in the July 2009 issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders found a connection between binge drinking (four or more drinks in one sitting) and eating disorders. The authors suggest that there is a “crucial need for early interventions targeting binge drinking among college-age women regardless of their current drinking status.”

Campus health educators see a spectrum of disordered eating and drinking, from dieting and overexercising in order to party on the weekends, to medically definable conditions ( anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge-eating disorder).

Drinking can be a way to alleviate social anxiety. So much of her work deals with helping patients to manage anxiety and connect with their peers, “learning healthier ways of connecting with people that don’t come with significant costs. Many students want to make healthy choices when it comes to alcohol.”

A new survey by the National Eating Disorders Association shows a change in the public perception of eating disorders: 82 percent of respondents believe that eating disorders are a physical or mental illness and should be treated as such, said the association in a recent news release.

Nearly 10 million women and 1 million men have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, says the association. Millions more struggle with binge-eating disorder. Forty percent of new cases of anorexia are girls 15 to 19 years old, and the incidence of bulimia in females ages 10 to 39 tripled between 1988 and 1993. But just 6 percent of people with bulimia get mental-health care, according to the association’s research.

For 25 years, Dr. Kenneth L. Weiner has treated people with eating disorders, and has seen the gradual change in public opinion. “The term `drunkorexia’ is not my favorite, but as it brings awareness to the problem, it’s probably fine,” says Weiner, medical director at Eating Recovery Center in Denver. “Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness. It’s an incredibly serious disorder. When you’re starving yourself, your brain is really starved. You’ve had the experience of drinking on an empty stomach? These folks are drinking on an empty body.”