Drunkorexia – a Culture Thing?


Drunkorexia is getting a fix on young Australian women. PHD research student Alissa Knight of South Australia University has been studying the role of alcohol as a social lubricant among today’s generation describing Drunkorexia as “a combination of two social cultures in Australia, binge drinking and the desire to be thin, provoking the use of distorted types of ‘eating’ such as starvation, dietary restrictions, purging, vomiting and excessive exercise for the express purpose of maintaining a low calorie intake to allow for a regular, high calorie consumption of alcohol”. Approximately 50-55% of the female university students in and around Australia are rumoured to be missing meals on the day of a night out to balance their calorie intake. A nice idea in theory however when put into practice the implications are quite worrying to say the least especially when statistics suggest that Australia has a higher occurrence rate of Drunkorexia than even the U.S.A.

It seems to have evolved out of two quite prominent socio-cultural norms, you have the social norm of drinking, a dominant cultural identity where you’re almost seen as very un-Australian if you don’t have a drink in your hand at a party or BBQ aside the corresponding social norm, a fixated aspiration toward being thin + remaining thin” says Alissa Knight. Obviously this represents a dangerous conflict of interest that plays out right across the country, so on the one hand the unquestionably fattening habit of drinking beer, wine and spirits served with sugary mixers such as the kind of post mix cola commonly available at the many pubs and bars who court the student $ and on the other hand, this bullish desire to be slim and sexy however unrealistic that may be or no matter how the end result is achieved.


In many cases the ‘drunkorexic’ is literally drinking on an empty stomach and then a situation is created where a lightly built woman is putting both her body and mind at risk because the alcohol potency thus increases many times over. The risks are very real, depression, memory lapse and other cognitive function deficits can all result from the alcohol abuse and unlike eating disorders which generally gravitate toward appearance issues, drunkorexia is fuelled it seems by a powerful urge to drink. Peer group pressures playing a large part in the overall cycle, interestingly in a study conducted in Missouri U.S.A, the resulting figures suggested that the majority of male students would deliberately reduce their food intake in order to save money for alcohol purchase whereas their female counterparts were literally number-crunching calories so they could party without gaining weight. Disturbingly this behaviour can be traced all the way back to the fashionable celebrity teenage blogs of Paris Hilton & Lindsay Lohan where similar bizarre stories abound of abstaining in the name of looking good for the party circuit both being huge role models to millions within contemporary American youth culture. Self induced vomiting and the use of laxatives being used by many college students to maintain the status quo as they see it.


The early symptoms of drunkorexia may include ‘calorie counting’, puposefully skipping meals, over-exercising and in some extreme cases post-alcohol induced vomiting to purge unwanted calories. To make matters worse drunkorexia is not presently a medically diagnosed disorder thus no comprehensive treatment really exists besides verbal warnings etc, although the more specific disorders of bulimia, anorexia or alcoholism are of course recognised in a more official capacity.


Drunkorexia is of course not a condition exclusive to those within tertiary education. Women from all walks of life will at different times in their lives battle such obstacles what can change is the level or absence of any peer group pressure, however people are more than capable of putting pressure on themselves while the external pressures and expectations will fluctuate from person to person, city to city. For example, in Sydney, there are those among the male population who will be inclined to judge a book by its cover meaning they like to see the body beautiful in all its glory, others will consider charm and personality before they race to get the old tape measure out. Accordingly one can find Sydney escorts of all shapes and sizes ready to do the razzle dazzle and that is one beauty of this nation where getting drunk on freedom of choice can be exercised without apology and most importantly without troubling side effects.



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