There are reports of an increase among college age females of binge drinking and a co-occurring eating disorder, now referred to as “Drunkorexia” according to an article appearing in a Denver newspaper. Although not a medical term, it depicts a pattern of disordered eating that combines bulimia nervosa (binge eating and purging) with binge drinking.
The Eating Disorder Program at Milestones has seen a number of women admitted to the program who meet the diagnostic criteria for both a substance abuse or dependency disorder [alcohol and/or drugs] in addition to an eating disorder – most often bulimia or “bulimarexia” (a combination of bulimia and anorexia). In addition, almost all of those suffering with these co-existing issues, also met criteria for depression or a related mood disorder. Addressing all of these conditions concomitantly is essential for individuals to gain a foothold in long term recovery.
It is also not uncommon for people entering treatment for alcohol and related dependencies to discover their eating disorder has begun to “take center stage” as their primary addiction, once they cease self-medicating themselves. Likewise, they are likely to relapse into both disorders unless they are able to successfully address both problems at once.
Although these co-occurring addictions are by no means a recent phenomenon, they appear to be increasing in frequency. The risks inherent with a pattern of “drunkorexia” are much greater considering that one of the leading causes of death is aspiration. To be specific, someone “passes out” from binging on alcohol or overdosing on a drug, regurgitates while unconscious, and literally drowns in their own fluids. An example of this may be illustrated in the much publicized tragedy of Terri Shivo, who likely suffered brain death as a result of a “drunkorexia” episode.
Milestones in Recovery, is an eating disorders treatment facility that uses a multidisciplinary team of professionals to address each aspect of a resident’s recovery.
For additional information about Milestones, give us a call at 800 347-2364.