Increased awareness of ‘drunkorexia’ needed
PHILADELPHIA — Although medical professionals may not have heard of “drunkorexia,” they can quickly ascertain if a person is participating in the practice — restricting calories prior to or in anticipation of drinking alcohol, according to a presenter here at the annual meeting of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
“Not everyone is aware of drunkorexia,” Jo Ann L. Nicoteri, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, University of Scranton, told Healio Family Medicine in an interview. “Primary care providers need to screen for eating problems and also alcohol use. In a quick 5 minutes, they can ask the person how often they exercise, how often they drink alcohol, and what are they eating. The medical professional should then co-relate the three and come up possibly with a problem area for the person.”
A previously published study on drunkorexia suggests that skipping breakfast and lunch predicted binge drinking and alcohol use in females, but only skipping breakfast was related to drinking behavior in males. Breakfast skipping rarely occurred for weight loss purposes, although more females reported this reason for missing meals than males.
For the present study, Nicoteri administered a survey to 158 college-aged students, of which 74.7% respondents were female. She found that 21.5% of all participants indicated they intentionally restricted caloric intake and that 32.3% of all participants indicated they intentionally increased exercise prior to consuming alcohol or in anticipation of drinking alcohol.
“I was thinking more female students [would be drunkorexic] ... However, we found while collecting the data at least one man realized he was engaging in drunkorexia and never realized it [previously],” she said, adding that the condition seems to be more common in college age students that live on campus. – by Janel Miller
Nicoteri, JL. Drunkorexia: The problem exists, now what do we do? Presented at: American Association of Nurse Practitioners National Conference; Jun. 20-25, 2017; Philadelphia.
Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.