Drunkorexia? Three Things You Might Not Know

Drunkorexia is a term thrown around a lot in the media. But what is it?

1. Drunkorexia defined

First, drunkorexia is not an official diagnosis recognized by the American Psychological Association. It refers to a behavioral pattern in which a person food restricts and diets during the day, binge drinks later in the day, and binge eats while intoxicated. Diagnostically, a person who struggled with "drunkorexia" actually struggles with disordered eating and, maybe, a substance use disorder depending on how often they engage in binge drinking behaviors.

2. Substance use and eating disorders

Research suggests that nearly 50% of individuals struggling with an eating disorder also abuse drugs and/or alcohol. Like eating disorders, substance use disorders are influenced by genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. The compulsivity that sometimes drives eating disorders can also drive and reinforce a cycle of substance use.

3. How to help

Individuals who struggle with both disordered eating and substance use may require a higher level of care, such as an inpatient, residential, or intensive outpatient program. Eating disorders and substance abuse disorders have great potential to cause physical consequences, so medical intervention is likely necessary in addition to mental health care. I can provide an assessment to determine if a person requires a higher level of care for their disordered eating and substance use patterns. Based off of that assessment, I will either assist the client in finding a higher level of care, or, if appropriate, work with them in an outpatient setting.


Emily Teegarden