Here is a new word for your dieting dictionary: drunkorexia. It means giving up food to leave space for binge drinking. The goal is to stay thin, and the logic behind it is that you can do without food, but you cannot do without alcohol if you want to go and party. The term, and practice, is linked to the students and other young adults and there is even a study conducted on its consequences at the Simon Fraser University study in British Columbia.
Different name, the same practice
Older folks, of course, know that there is nothing new in choosing alcohol over food to cut on a number of calories, we just used to call it differently: liquid lunches. The consequences are, nevertheless, the same: drinking on an empty stomach means frequent alcohol poisoning, drunkenness and drunken behavior including driving while under alcohol and unprotected sex. While researcher Daniella Sieukaran from the Simon Fraser University warns about these consequences, she is not yet drawing any conclusions from her studies. Her research is ongoing.
The problem of binge drinking in combination with skipping food was also researched by Victoria Osborne, assistant professor of social work and public health, the School of Social Work in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. The results of her study were presented at the American Psychopathological Association in March and the conference of the Research Society on Alcoholism. Scientists are warning about depriving the brain of adequate nutrition and dangerous behavioral, cognitive and physical consequences.
What can we do?
If you are a parent of a teenager of a young adult, you are probably already familiar with the pressure young people, especially girls, suffer to stay thin. Talk to your kids about the dangers of too much alcohol and the need for healthy nutrition. Inform them of the long term consequences of eating disorders. Stay involved and offer to drive them after a party. If your kids are away at college, talk to the campus administrators and check what measure they are taking to prevent excessive drinking.
Most importantly, be there for your kids. Keep an eye for the signs of eating disorder and poor health and seek medical help if needed. We were all young once and did stupid things and most of us outgrew it and moved on. Make sure your kid is not one of those that fell between the cracks.