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“…it has become clear, that during adolescence…the brain is highly plastic and shaped by experience…Alcohol appears to interfere with the changes in circuitry that occur during learning.” –Dr. Aaron White, Duke University. Keep up to date with local and nationwide coverage of the underage drinking epidemic.

  • Drunkorexia: Disordered eating goes hand-in-glass with drinking binges

    Feb 15, 2013 | New York Daily News

    It's been dubbed 'drunkorexia': Starving oneself to 'save calories' for nights of drinking, or in order to get drunk faster. And it's a growing problem for young women and men alike.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/drunkorexia-disordered-eating-drinking-hand-in-glass-article-1.1252531#ixzz2L0DdoBlDBILL: You know, Dave, our recent piece on binge drinking by young women drew a response from Dr. Adam Barry, Assistant Professor of Health Education & Behavior at the University of Florida. "Among a nationally representative sample of US college students," he wrote us, "we found that physical activity and disordered eating behaviors uniquely predict whether a student would consume five or more drinks in one sitting. Another finding is that college students who vomited, used laxatives or took diet pills to lose weight are significantly more likely to binge drink, too."

    DR. DAVE: Taken together, this leads us to believe college students may be engaging in exercise, and disordered eating behavior too, in order to compensate for the increased calories associated with their alcohol consumption.

    BILL: Isn't that what they call "Drunkorexia" – skipping meals to save calories for binging? Which strikes me as about as rational as the 100 college presidents from prestigious universities like Dartmouth and Ohio State who want to lower the drinking age to 18 to fight binge drinking.

    DR. DAVE: As if legalizing it would somehow make kids not want to do it because the "rebellion" would be taken out of it. Alcohol abuse is not about getting fat or rebelling. It's about the 500,000 students who get injured each year at four-year colleges due to drinking. It fuels the risk-taking dating culture we talked about last week on date rape that occurs regularly in that environment.

    BILL: In our weight-conscious culture, it isn't hard to connect looking desirable to a lifestyle of weekend binge drinking. It's a behavior driven by our "skinny is sexy" attitude towards women. You don't hear about any fraternity guys fighting off college beer bellies and love handles through Drunkorexia.

    DR. DAVE: If you want to see the sad state of binge drinking and this starvation craze, you can read this Craigslist "Casting Call Announcement" from MTV. For the last ten years their show "True Life" has been chronicling trends in the young adult lifestyle. The show is now searching for volunteers to film "true life stories of people who have Drunkorexia."

    BILL: They're looking for people who skip meals so they can save calories for a weekend "partying lifestyle," which inevitably includes blackouts, financial difficulties and other dangerous situations.

    DR. DAVE: Since it will mainly be women, the phrase "dangerous situations," as you so delicately put it, is another way of saying "unable to protect yourself from sexual coercion." Plus, drinking on an empty stomach is a double whammy. The booze speeds through to the intestines--the organ that most rapidly absorbs alcohol into the bloodstream.

    BILL: Like gunning a car from 0 to 60 and not being able to put on the brakes quick enough.

    DR. DAVE: Beyond the one-night experience, we find binge eating disorders and substance abuse disorders in the same people -- what we call co-occurring disorders -- at very high rates that range from 8 to 40%. Whether the connection comes before addiction or as part of an addiction, once you have two compulsive behaviors, it becomes much harder to successfully treat either.

    BILL: And, as any addict knows, binge use comes routinely when you experience loss of control--the primary symptom in addiction.

    DR. DAVE: We are starting to see that Drunkorexia has a darker side in male clients. They starve themselves to get that bigger bang for their booze. Sort of like turning your stomach and intestines into a beer bong where the booze goes into their blood stream as fast as possible. To the perpetually broke college student, this strategy allows them to get drunker cheaper.

    BILL: Skip eating that day, and five shots of tequila magically deliver the effect of eight. And yet, the whole world of crazy eating behaviors seems to go under the radar.

    DR. DAVE: Since there are all kinds of eating disorders, with and without booze, I am a big believer in sending people to this central resource at the first sign of problems: National Eating Disorders Organization. By the way, that also includes their national help hotline at (800) 931-2237.

    ***

    Dr. David Moore is a licensed psychologist and chemical dependency professional who is a graduate school faculty member at Argosy University’s Seattle Campus. Bill Manville's most recent work, "Cool, Hip & Sober," is now in ebook form, available at all online bookstores. A Book of the Month novelist, Bill privately teaches "Writing To Get Published" – .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/drunkorexia-disordered-eating-drinking-hand-in-glass-article-1.1252531#ixzz2L0DTIebv

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