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When it comes to teen eating disorders, drunkorexia is not an official eating disorder, but it is a term to describe many teens and young adults have when it comes to drinking alcohol instead of eating food. Drunkorexia shows the trend of binge drinking and eating disorders on the rise, hand-in-hand.
Teens and young adults in the high school and college age groups are known to struggle with drinking too much and eating too little. Unfortunately this is also a trend that is starting to reach dangerous proportions. Teens are engaging in eating disorder type behavior like anorexia and not eating, or eating very little. Instead, they drink alcohol on an empty stomach, which does more damage to the stomach lining and allows the alcohol to pass more quickly through the blood stream. This causes the drunk effects to begin sooner. Binge drinking has its own set of health and danger issues. Not eating on top of that type of behavior is a major cause for concern among parents and educators. A recent study by the University of Missouri found that 20 percent of university students engage in drunkorexia.
What is Drunkorexia?
The habits of anorexia combined with binge drinking make up the drunkorexia disorder. Students will often scrimp on eating so they can purchase alcohol instead. However, because they get drunk so quickly, they vomit up the alcohol and what little food they consume, which causes them to lose weight. Like other eating disorders and drinking addictions, this type of behavior becomes increasingly addictive and begins to control their life. Alcohol and mental abuse in general are also on the rise among university and college campuses throughout the United States. Women are at a higher risk for drunkorexia, specifically because they are also more inclined to suffer from eating disorders. Women make up almost 90 percent of the individuals affected by eating disorders. The dangers of drunkorexia are similar to excessive alcohol consumption and eating disorders including vital organ damage, heart disease, liver damage, malnutrition and more. Even drinking alcohol a person can starve to death if they aren't getting enough nutrients in their diet. Females also are at a higher risk of developing complications due to drunkorexia because they metabolize alcohol faster than men.
How To Prevent Drunkorexia:
Even if parents are away from their teens while they are attending college, it is important for parents to talk to their teens about eating disorders and the dangers of not eating, as well as the problems that can arise from drinking. Parents with teens that are already showing signs of eating disorders in their younger teen years should pay extra attention to their teens once they go to college since these are the teens that are at the most increased risk for drunkorexia. Universities and colleges are also taking an active approach to help battle drunkorexia as well as other poor college student habits like binge drinking. These often occur in the form of anti-binge drinking ads as well as strict enforcement of no-drinking on campus or establishing a dry-campus rule.
Treatment for drunkorexia should be a serious matter. Parents often find that rehabilitation centers for alcohol addiction as well as eating disorders is truly the only way to see improvement among their teen's health and behaviors. Teens need to learn the actual dangers of drunkorexia, excessive drinking and eating disorders. Often times teens will engage in drunkorexia behaviors because they are overwhelmed from attending school for the first time. They might also already be predisposed to having an eating disorder. This kind of pressure might be too much if they haven't received therapy or treatment for the disorder, which is why they might turn to drunkorexia as a way of coping. Other teens simply might fall pressure to the ideals and standards or peer pressure of other students. Getting professional help as soon as you realize there is a problem is vitally important. It is important for parents to check in on their teens once they go to college even if they claim everything is going well. If grades start slipping or classes are going unattended, parents need to look into seeing what the problem is. If your teen is also losing substantial amounts of weight while at school, this might also be another indicator of a problem like drunkorexia. Getting help immediately is of the most importance to see results and fast recovery.
Related Article: Psychological Treatment for Eating Disorders >>