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Updated 08 October 2015

Staying thin with drunkorexia

It’s not the concept I’m applauding as much as the word: it so beautifully sums up a phenomenon.

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It’s not the concept I’m applauding as much as the word drunkorexia: it so beautifully sums up a phenomenon.

Drunkorexia is not about getting drunk. It’s about using alcohol to suppress your appetite. The poster girl for drunkorexia is Patsy, the character played by Joanna Lumley in the TV show Absolutely Fabulous (though of course she’s as drunk as possible, as often as possible).

She’s also thin, and impossibly glam even as she falls about. A glass of Champagne for breakfast, another for lunch, another when she remembers, and food becomes redundant.

Culturally, there’s an incentive: a drunk thin person is more acceptable than a fat sober one. In a recent study, fat people very clearly articulated the misery of social discrimination.

There has been little research into the appetite-suppressing effect of alcohol, but what there has been is, um, sobering.

A US study out of Columbia University found that among alcohol or drug abusers, there’s a 35% incidence of eating disorders (compared to 3% in the general population).

Starving yourself is hard work, and a drink can certainly help to settle a growling stomach.

Hence drunkorexia.


 

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