‘Drunkorexia’ may cause long-term health problems in teens

Washington: The combination of disordered eating and heavy alcohol consumption dubbed as “drunkorexia” by the media may lead to long-term health problems among teens and college students, according to a new study from the University of Missouri.

Researchers found that 16 percent of those surveyed reported restricting calories to “save them” for drinking.

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.

According to Victoria Osborne, assistant professor of social work and public health, “drunkorexia” can have dangerous cognitive, behavioural and physical consequences. It also puts people at risk for developing more serious eating disorders or addiction problems.

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

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

People who participate in disordered eating combined with binge drinking are also more at risk for violence, risky sexual behaviour, alcohol poisoning, substance abuse and chronic diseases later in life.

Osborne said women are at higher risk for health problems related to binge drinking because they metabolise alcohol differently than men.

This means women can get sick faster and suffer damage to vital organs sooner than men might.


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