College women starving and boozing.
Subject: Women college students (Health aspects)
Women college students (Behavior)
Drinking of alcoholic beverages (Risk factors)
Drinking of alcoholic beverages (Demographic aspects)
Eating disorders (Risk factors)
Eating disorders (Demographic aspects)
Pub Date: 12/22/2009
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Winter, 2009 Source Volume: 12 Source Issue: 4
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 216961280

There is a rise in women who have eating disorders who also engage in binge drinking, according to a recent report from the Eating Disorder Center of Denver. Called "drunkorexia," the condition is most prevalent in college-age females who are bulimic and who binge drink. These individuals typically either starve all day to offset the calories they will consume when they drink at night, or they binge on food and alcohol and then purge. People who are anorexic are more likely to avoid alcohol because they severely limit their calorie intake, although some do drink alcohol rather than eat and others drink to relieve anxiety.

"Over the last 10 years, the prevalence of both eating disorders and binge drinking has increased on college campuses," said Dr. Tamara Pryor, clinical director at the Eating Disorder Center of Denver. "With this increase, we have realized the need to offer a dual focus on substance abuse and eating disorders in the treatment of patients." Of all the college-aged females currently enrolled in the program, 75% meet the criteria for alcohol abuse.

Binge drinking appears to be a growing problem among college students. A study published in the September 2009 issue of Behavioural Pharmacology notes that among a sample of 428 students, 72% reported drinking at or above binge drinking thresholds regularly. While the amount of alcohol consumed by men was similar to that reported in previous studies, the frequency of binge drinking among women was higher.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reports that 72% of women who are addicted to alcohol also have an eating disorder.

Research shows that between 20% and 40% of women who suffer with bulimia also have histories of alcohol and/or drug problems. In one study, 37.5% of bulimic individuals reported excessive alcohol use and 26.8% had a history of alcohol abuse or dependence. In another study, 39% of patients with bulimia reported substance abuse issues. Bulimics and binge eaters are more prone to alcohol and drug abuse than are anorexics.

EmaxHealth. (2009, October 22). Drunkorexia: Eating Disorder Plus Binge Drinking. Retrieved October 22, 2009, from http://www.emaxhealth. com/1275/63/34202/drunkorexia-eating-disorder-plus-binge-drinking.html

MCT Illustration by Tim Lee /The News & Observer
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.