DRUNKOREXIA: WOMEN STARVE TO BINGE-DRINK
Growing numbers of young women skip meals to allow them to binge drink without putting on weight, experts have warned in the Daily Mail.
The phenomenon of “drunkorexia” is most common among university students faced with the conflicting pressures of heavy drinking and staying slim. Realising they are going to have to drink to fit in but not wanting to put on weight, “drunkorexics” cut back on calories ahead of a night on the town.
Denying themselves two biscuits allows them to drink three vodka and diet colas without fear of putting on weight, while skipping the 700 calories of spaghetti bolognese gives them the freedom to indulge in four or five alcopops.
Louise Noble, chief dietician at the Berkshire Healthcare Trust, confirmed there was huge pressure on women at university to drink and also look thin. “Many young women find the only way they can cope with both is to drink rather than eat, to substitute alcohol for food,” she said. “There is more social pressure on them to drink rather than to eat: not eating doesn’t invite comment…“The social pressure seems to be very much in favour of drinking being OK.”
The lack of food in their system also ensures they get drunk quicker and raises the risk of them passing out – with all the consequent dangers.
It is thought the demands of university life, including peer-pressure to drink, can set off anorexia in some young women. In other cases, an existing problem is made worse.
Emma Healey, of the charity beat, formerly known as the Eating Disorders Association, said: “An eating disorder is a coping mechanism – it is a way of making sense of a world that seems utterly chaotic. We should be focusing on the feeling and mental health of the person, rather than the behaviour.”
More than a million Britons suffer from eating disorders, with those between 14 and 25 at greatest risk.
Recent studies have shown links between eating disorders and alcohol abuse, with up to a third of bulimics struggling with alcohol or drugs and 36% of women receiving treatment for alcohol abuse also confessing to eating problems.