Are You Drunkorexic

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ARE YOU DRUNKOREXIC?

Are You Drunkorexic?

Are You Drunkorexic?

You don't need New Year's as a reason for wild partying any more. And a worrying trend suggests that young bodyconscious women are risking their health.

The habit known as drunkorexia is one characterised by women skipping meals in order to adjust calories that they will pile on if they drink. What these women are actually doing is risking liver damage over a period of time.

Drunkorexia is not a recognised eating disorder YET, but experts are growing increasingly worried about this behaviour. Nutritionists say they are aware of more people adopting the practice of cutting meals in order to ‘save calories’ for their alcohol intake. Teenagers aren’t the only ones indulging in the habit. Women in their 20s and 30s are also missing meals before a night out to try to avoid weight gain, save cash and get high quicker.

This risky behaviour is more common than people think, doctors suspect. And it’s possibly why liver damage incidence is increasingly observed among younger patients.

Despite stark warnings, drunkorexics see nothing wrong with the habit. More often that not it’s about partying non-stop and still managing to fit into the sexy new year’s outfit. Struggling through the day on stray biscuits or carrot sticks, at dinner time, it becomes more about drinking than eating a wholesome meal.

Cocktails, especially of the fruit variety that most women dig, are sugar-heavy, making it tempting for women to make up for it during the day by reducing what they eat. It’s not as if they don’t eat at all. They eat a lot less. And they don’t believe for a second that celebrities they see falling out of nightclubs don’t do it either.

“Drunkorexia or skipping meals to save up calories to drink alcohol may seem like a way to have fun and stay thin, but it could significantly impact your health and well-being,” says Siobhan McCann, who is involved with UK alcohol education charity, Drinkaware.

“Food helps to slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream so it doesn't go to your head as quickly. In fact, eating a good meal before or while drinking can help you enjoy the night for longer.”

The calorie content of your favourite tipple can be useful to know but experts say it shouldn’t become an obsession – that means you skip meals in order to drink to excess.

Starving yourself to drink to excess in a short amount of time can cause acute alcohol poisoning leading to confusion, vomiting and passing out.

For single professional women, it’s tougher. They find themselves invited to a string of parties, and feel the pressure to look good.

Eating less during the day is the only way not to put on kilos from all the booze. While they may have a decent lunch, dinner is often sacrificed for drinks. “However tempting it is to grab a pizza, I have a glass of water or skimmed milk to settle my stomach and go home to bed,” says a young woman. “It is not ideal, but it is necessary.”

Drunkorexia

Drunkorexia

THE WARNING SIGNS

Avoiding meals, over-drinking in the evening
Eating sparingly and making excuses for proper meals is a possible sign of an eating disorder, but only when paired with boozing in the evenings

Bad skin from lack of nutrition
Anyone not acquiring adequate protein and minerals will start to show physical signs of ‘starving’. These include pale skin and spots, and dark circles

General fatigue
Coupled with one of the first two symptoms, this is a possible sign that drunkorexia could be imminent

Avoiding breakfast
The body craves sugar and hydration after excess alcohol and anyone who has consumed a lot should feel the need to eat well around 12 hours later. If they don’t, they may be avoiding food on purpose

By Swetha Jairam

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