During April’s Alcohol Awareness Month, and with National Alcohol Screening Day on April 11, experts are looking to increase awareness of a dangerous fad called drunkorexia.
Drunkorexia is an unofficial eating/alcohol abuse disorder that involves excessive exercise and dieting during the day in order to compensate for binge-drinking at night.
Dr. Harris Stratyner, the vice president of New York Clinical Regional Services at Caron New York's Recovery Center, said in an email that although women are more likely to hide this type of disorder, you can still notice the basic symptoms described above.
“I think it’s time ... we recognize this combination of disorders, as it’s become all too common,” he said. “Anorexia and alcoholism on their own are incredibly destructive to your body and can also have deadly consequences.”
He added that the disorder generally affects more women than men.
“Young adult women tend to be a common age group to be self-conscious, and even obsessive about weight and appearance,” Stratyner said.
He said one of the first steps to getting out of this vicious cycle is to consider the damage you’re doing to your body.
“It’s important to know that there is never a safe way to binge drink,” he stated.
“When you starve yourself in order to drink at the end of the day, you rob your body of necessary calories and much needed vitamins, which then results in extremely low energy levels.”
“Anorexia and binge drinking are a deadly combination and can lead to low fertility and ultimately decrease your chances of having children,” Stratyner added.
Drinking is popular in the media, and women are constantly pressured to lose weight, which adds to this growing disorder.
“The fad of low calorie cocktails doesn't help the case either, as women with this disorder feel they can drink more of these cocktails, since they don’t contain as many calories,” he said.
Ramani Durvasula, a licensed clinical psychologist and psychology professor, said in an email that “drunkorexia” could be considered an “eating disorder not otherwise specified.”