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Thursday, October 21, 2010

'Drunkorexia': New College Eating Disorder


It seems that some college women are using alcohol to replace the calories gained from food. It has been dubbed Drunkorexia, slang for the practice of swapping food calories for those in alcohol and it is a real thing happening on college campuses around the country. Many students who know they will be drinking come nightfall will purposely not eat much food, if any, during the day; what's more, after they get drunk they might decide to eat junk food only to feel bad about it later and vomit it back up. Eating disorders have been commonplace on college campuses for some time now, with the traditional forms being anorexia nervosa and bulimia; now, eating disorders seem to be evolving in way to better enable people to hide their problem. Watching a women drink several beers at a party, one would probably not think that she has not had anything to eat that day - more and more that is becoming a reality. Very few women will eat food while they drink alcohol because of all the calories that they are already consuming, calories from food would put them over the top.

The International Journal of Eating Disorders published a study in the July 2009 issue that found a connection between binge drinking (four or more drinks in one sitting) and eating disorders. "Typically when someone comes in for treatment, and if they are diagnosed with an eating disorder, and they are abusing substances, they also receive a substance-abuse diagnosis," says Felicia Greher, a psychologist in Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Greher works to understand the emotional connections and the roots of eating disorders, what they stem from and so. "We look at the caloric restriction, the binge drinking and ask how is it serving them," she says. "Then we identify other, healthier ways to get these needs met."

Public perception of eating disorders is not the same as it once was, a new survey by the National Eating Disorders Association showed: 82 percent of respondents believe that eating disorders are a physical or mental illness and should be treated as such - According to the Associations research:
  • Nearly 10 million women and 1 million men have an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia
  • Millions more struggle with binge-eating disorder
  • Forty percent of new cases of anorexia are girls 15 to 19 years old
  • The incidence of bulimia in females ages 10 to 39 tripled between 1988 and 1993
  • Just 6 percent of people with bulimia get mental-health care
Those statistics put forward by the National Eating Disorder Association are startling and very sad, how people view gaining and losing weight is completely distorted and people are losing their lives because of it. "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", said the medical director at Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Dr. Kenneth L. Weiner.

Source:
LA Times

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