Binge drinking at college is all too common, but those nightly drinks can really pack on the pounds and for a lot of people, particularly young women, weight gain is unacceptable.
Some of these women won’t tolerate weight gain, but they also won’t give up binge drinking behaviors – and so these women are combining eating disordered and alcohol abuse behaviors into one dangerous package known popularly as ‘drunkorexia’ which lets them get drunk at night and still stay thin.
Some behavioral variations of drunkorexia include:
- Abstaining from food all day to compensate for the calories consumed in a binge drinking session at night
- Drinking alcohol and eating in binge quantities and then purging
- Using alcohol to suppress appetite
Health workers at eating disorder treatment programs say they’re seeing a rise in the number of young women admitted that have both an alcohol abuse problem and an eating disorder. At the Eating Disorder Center of Denver, doctors say that 75% of college aged women coming in for treatment also meet the criteria for alcohol abuse.
This disturbing co-occurrence doesn’t surprise Dr. Douglass Bunell, the past president of the National Easting Disorders Association, who says, “Both disorders are behaviors that are glorified and reinforced. Binge drinking is almost cool and hip, and losing weight and being thin is a cultural imperative for young women in America. Mixing both is not surprising, and it has reached a tipping point in terms of public awareness.”