Alcoholic anorexia: what it is, how to identify and treatment

Alcoholic anorexia, also known as drunkorexia , is an eating disorder in which the person drinks alcoholic beverages instead of food, in order to decrease the amount of calories ingested and thus lose weight.

This eating disorder can lead to the appearance of common anorexia or bulimia , with the difference that in this case the person takes alcoholic beverages to reduce the feeling of hunger and to cause nausea and nausea, restricting the amount of food he can eat.

In addition, as alcoholic beverages are an inhibitor of the central nervous system, they also suppress anxiety because they are dissatisfied with their appearance, functioning in these cases as an ‘escape valve’ for feelings.

How to identify

In addition to looking too thin, there are other specific symptoms that serve as evidence for the presence of this eating syndrome. Thus, it is common for the person with alcoholic anorexia to:

  • Look in the mirror and see yourself fat or constantly complain about the weight; 
  • Refusing to eat for fear of getting fat or having a constant fear of gaining weight;
  • Have little or no appetite;
  • Have very low self-esteem and easily make negative jokes about your body;
  • Eat little or nothing and drink a lot of alcohol, often being drunk; 
  • Be dependent on alcoholic beverages;
  • Always be on a diet or count the calories of the food you eat; 
  • Take medicines or supplements to lose weight, although not necessary, such as diuretics and laxatives;
  • Do regular physical activity always with the intention of losing weight, and not getting in shape or gaining muscle mass.

All of these factors are indications that something may be wrong, in which case it is recommended that the person be seen by a specialist. Those who suffer from this type of food syndromes tend to try to hide the problem and, therefore, it is not always easy to identify the warning signs early on.

Often, alcoholic anorexia is also often associated with bulimia, another eating disorder that also leads to extreme thinness. Know the main differences between these diseases .

What can cause this syndrome

The factors that can lead to the onset of alcoholic anorexia can be several, and mainly include: 

  • Having a stressful job or focusing on the body: as in modeling careers; 
  • Suffer from depression or anxiety: they cause deep sadness, constant fears and insecurities that can lead to the appearance of eating disorders;
  • Suffer pressure from family and friends to lose weight. 

These are some of the main causes responsible for the appearance of most eating disorders, although there may be others, because the real causes can vary from person to person. 

How the treatment is done

Treatment for alcoholic anorexia includes therapy to end addiction to alcoholic beverages and to improve behavior towards food and body acceptance. In some cases, it may also be necessary to take dietary supplements to supply the body’s lack of nutrients.

In addition, it is also often necessary to have a treatment for depression and anxiety, which may also be present. 

In more severe cases, the disease progresses to severe anoxia or bulimia, and in these cases treatment may have to be carried out in a hospital or clinic specializing in eating disorders, as hospitalization is necessary for a 24-hour medical follow-up. 

Treatment should always be complemented with therapy sessions with a psychologist, as only with this help can a person cure the syndrome, learning to like his appearance and see his body as it really is.  

During this stage, the support of family and friends is very important, as the treatment of this disease can last for months or years, and it is often recommended to join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous for example. 

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