JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - When you look in any fashion magazine, or just flip through the channels on television, you'll see ads for weight loss pills and programs all telling women that skinny is beautiful. But now, young women have devised new ways to maintain their physique, and the risk of their health and their lives!
There's a new type of eating disorder affecting many young women. They're substituting alcohol for food! While there is no medical term for the disease, it is being referred to as "drunkorexia."
"Everybody when they talk about starting college worry about the freshman 15," says Cristina Shaw, who works at St. Bernard's Counseling Center.
"We live in a culture of disordered eating," says Shaw. She says everywhere you turn, from T.V. shows to magazines, women are bombarded with this drive for thinness. And while skipping a hamburger for a cocktail may not seem like a big deal, many young women are going to the extreme.
"I think if you have an over fixation with your shape and your size, and you're constantly counting calories, it would make since that you're focusing on counting alcohol calories as well. So, If they want to fit in with their peers and have a "good time," if they have to trade one for the other they may be more likely to keep the alcohol, as compared to having the food," Shaw explains.
It's not a clinical disorder, but what some call "drunkorexia," a combination of starving yourself and alcohol consumption.
"There's a lot of new terms out there because what we're finding more and more is individuals who may not suffer from a full blown clinical eating disorder but they definitely engage in disordered eating patterns," says Shaw. "It's a huge concern though because if you have somebody who is going an entire day without eating with intension of going out that night and drink heavily, it's going to affect their body in a very negative way."
A situation the could cause impaired judgement, alcohol poisoning, or even death. According to the latest research from college-drinking-prevention.com, more than 18-hundred college students die from alcohol-related injuries, including car crashes.
"You know college is a time for growth and figuring out who you are and unfortunately it's also a time where people are experimenting with different things like drugs and alcohol," says Shaw.