‘Drunkorexia’ combines worst of eating, drinking

October 19th, 2011 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 19 (IANS) ‘Drunkorexia,’ a combination of disordered eating and heavy alcohol intake rife among college students, may wreck their health over the long term, US researchers says.

‘Drunkorexiacs’ are also more at risk for violence, risky sexual behaviour, alcohol poisoning, drug addiction and chronic diseases later in life, the University of Missouri study says.

Victoria Osborne, assistant professor of social work and public health, examined the link between alcohol misuse and disordered eating, including calorie restriction and purging.

Sixteen percent of those surveyed reported restricting calories to “save themselves” for drinking, according to a statement from the university.

Of the respondents, about three times as many women reported engaging in the behaviour than men. Motivations for “drunkorexia” include preventing weight gain, getting intoxicated faster and saving money that would be spent on food to buy alcohol.

“Drunkorexia can have dangerous cognitive, behavioural and physical consequences. It also puts people at risk for developing more serious eating disorders or addiction problems,” says Osborne.

“Apart from each other, depriving the brain of adequate nutrition and consuming large amounts of alcohol can be dangerous,” Osborne said.

“Together, they can cause short and long-term cognitive problems including difficulty in concentrating, studying and making decisions,” she states.

Osborne says women are at higher risk because they metabolize alcohol differently than men. This means women might get sick faster and suffer damage to vital organs sooner than men.

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