Making links between substance use and eating disorders

FireShot Screen Capture #247 - 'Road to 'Drunkorexia' - Jacoba Urist - The Atlantic' - www_theatlantic_com_health_archive_2013_03_road-to-drunkorexia_274205

The Atlantic published an interesting article last week called “Road to ‘Drunkorexia’ – The downsides of the weight-conscious alcohol boom.” (March 27, 2013, Jacoba Urist).

I’ve blogged in the past about the phenomenon of dieting or overexercising to ‘save’ calories for drinking later on. (See earlier posts Drunkorexia: Binge drinking and disordered eating on college campuses (October 27, 2010) and “Drunkorexia”: an update on binge drinking and disordered eating from The Fix (November 1, 2011)).

The article in The Atlantic provides an update on drunkorexia and comments on a trend in alcohol marketing focusing on calories and weight concerns.

Shape magazine (www.shape.com) lists Bud Select 55 as one of 15 bikini-friendly beers.

Shape magazine (www.shape.com) lists Bud Select 55 as one of 15 ‘bikini-friendly’ beers.

Sarah Beller at The Fix in ” ‘Drunkorexia’ is Double Trouble” (April 1, 2013) comments on the relatively common co-occurence of disordered eating and substance abuse. She interviews Dr. Harris Stratyner, Vice President of Caron Treatment Centers, who comments:

“The thing that worries me…is the combination of the two. Alcohol robs you of very important vitamins—such as Vitamin A, B12, and folate. And anorexia, bulimia, and over-exercising rob you of some of the same vitamins at an additional volume. We’re seeing girls and women destroying their reproductive systems, getting calcium deficiencies. It’s frightening to me as a doctor.”

This link between alcohol misuse and malnutrition is an important one for those of us working in FASD prevention. We know that nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A, folate, and choline can help protect a developing fetus from the harms of alcohol.

For more on weight-conscious alcohol marketing to women, see earlier posts: