Drunkorexia, The Dangerous New Alcohol Abuse Trend


Sure, we have all heard of Anorexia and Bulimia, the two most common eating disorders plaguing our society today, but Drunkorexia? What’s that?

While women are more commonly associated with eating disorders, more than a million males also battle the illness every day, especially in regards to college. Between fraternity binge drinking and the social norms of alcohol on campus, guys are also trying to find ways to control their weight while having a good time as well. That’s where the term Drunkorexia comes into play.

While Drunkorexia isn’t yet considered a medical term, it has become the new slang term used to describe the behavior of someone who skips meals in order to save calories for alcoholic beverages, as well as someone who abuses the overconsumption of alcohol to purge food. Among those that fall into the Drunkorexia category are college-age binge drinkers, starving themselves all day in order to offset the calories they consume that night in alcohol.

While one might think that anorexics would avoid alcohol because of its high calorie count, alcohol abuse by anorexics has become an increasingly common trend. Some drink to calm down or ease the anxiety of having indulged in a meal. Others consume alcohol as their only sustenance; while on the other hand, others still use drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine to suppress their appetites.

According to Douglas Bunnell, the director of outpatient clinical services for the Renfew Center, “There are women who are afraid to put a grape in their mouth but have no problem drinking a beer.” Our society has an obsession with being skinny and combined with the social acceptance of drinking and using drugs, problems can occur. As Bunnell states, “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.”

Psychologists stress that the main cause of Drunkorexia is addiction itself. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “alcoholism and eating disorders frequently co-occur and often co-occur in the presence of other psychiatric and personality disorders.” While, as stated earlier, Drunkorexia isn’t considered a medical term yet, a growing number of researchers have begun to examine the psychological and neurological links between eating disorders and substance abuse.


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