What is drunkorexia?

·2-min read

Anyone who has ever gone on a night out has probably heard the expression "eating is cheating".

Yet, replacing food with binge drinking can be dangerous for your health, with Sandra Parker, alcohol abuse coach from Just The Tonic Coaching (justthetoniccoaching.com), noting that she is seeing a worrying trend of individuals battling "drunkorexia".

"I have worked with clients who make a point of drinking as soon as they get home from work, and will drink quickly, on an empty stomach to maximise the impact of the alcohol," she explained. "In addition, people have told me that they prefer to save their calories for alcohol so will skip food to make room for drinks to try to avoid weight gain. This can start off with skipping dessert to have another drink when out for dinner but over time it can escalate where people find that once they start drinking, they lose interest in food and prefer the 'hit' on an empty stomach."

Drinking on an empty stomach means the alcohol will reach your bloodstream faster - and make you more likely to experience the damaging effects of being drunk - slurred speech, difficulty with movement, lack of coordination, hangovers, and blackouts.

"The other factor to consider here is that if you are looking to maintain a healthy weight regular drinking will make that much harder. So, even if you avoid eating on a night out to save your calories for later you are much more likely to crave fatty food the next day and unlikely to go to the gym or exercise," the expert continued. "If you are looking to get control of your weight and feel good about yourself getting control over alcohol is more effective than trying to drink and eat less."

Common drunkorexia warning signs include loss of appetite while drinking, making the decision to save calories, getting drunk quickly and feeling nauseous, as well as severe hangovers.

"This is something that can be addressed but it is highly recommended you seek support from your medical practitioner or a specialist trained in supporting people get control over alcohol," she added.

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