North Texas Daily

Alcohol and anorexia create potential new disorder

Alcohol and anorexia create potential new disorder

March 20
22:04 2013

Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer

College-aged individuals are the most likely age group to partake in the hazardous trend informally labeled as “drunkorexia,”  – the combination of binge drinking and self-induced starvation.

Noelle McIntyre, coordinator of the Meadows Center for Health Resources, said the habit of skipping meals in order to offset the calorie intake from drinking alcohol is commonly associated with college-aged women.

Recovery Connection, a drug and alcohol rehab helpline, defines drunkorexia as a behavioral pattern that involves starving oneself during the day, binge drinking later in the day, then excessively eating junk food after consuming alcohol.

Binge drinking, “a common occurrence among college-aged students and weekend drinkers, is defined as the rapid consumption of large quantities of alcohol over a short period of time,” according to the Recovery Connection website.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 75 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. is consumed by adults in the form of binge drinking.

McIntyre said though drunkorexia is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as an actual eating disorder, it could be labeled as a disordered eating habit or an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, also known as EDNOS.

“A disordered eating habit is so restrictive, that if it goes unchecked it could develop into a disorder,” McIntyre said. “I would clump drunkorexia into that category.”

Because a large number of people are not familiar with medical terminology, disordered eating habits often take on street terms, like drunkorexia and bigorexia, McIntyre said.

“As long as we have some sort of tag to go with it,” McIntyre said. “Go ahead and give it a little credence. Let’s recognize it for what it is.”

McIntyre said that if symptoms are given to a label, it is more likely that individuals possessing those symptoms may seek help instead of thinking their habits lack seriousness.

UNT’s Multicultural Center and Student Health and Wellness Center co-hosted discussions on how the media influences eating disorders, McIntyre said.

Men and women are exposed to distorted ideas of the desired body image through media outlets, McIntyre said.

“Sometimes that leads to disordered behavior and eating habits,” she said.

A true eating disorder is rooted in mental issues, and concerned students should take advantage of the medical and psychological help available on campus, McIntyre said.

Students are offered eight free counseling sessions within the Student Health and Wellness Center, and additional sessions at the center and in Terrill Hall are available for a reduced price.

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