Alcoholism and Eating Disorders

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How do alcohol addictions and eating disorders coexist and how does this affect society as a whole?

2013-03-03 By: Nina Del Rivero

Today’s female youth is affected by a new disorder, which consists of the combination of alcoholism and eating disorders that are deadly in unison. How shocking does it sound that the mortality rate associated with Anorexia Nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of all causes of death for females 15 – 24 years old. As I looked at the scandalous data and statistics I found it interesting and quite necessary to study this topic. We will divide the essay into what Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa are and how they conglomerate with alcoholism; it is important to find the causes, advantages and disadvantages of the problem as well as how it impacts society and third parties that have nothing to do in the matter.

By definition anorexia is the lack of appetite for the consumption of food, which can be caused by several reasons. This is only a term so therefore it may be applied in several contexts such as patients diseased with cancer that may loose their appetite, they may also be affected by AIDS, Chronic Kidney Disease or even dementia or depression; however the social impact that this issue has for some particular reasons is relevant to our study. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder, which more specifically describes the type that links with alcohol consumption; it is characterized by fear of gaining weight and it is additionally linked with self-perception. Individuals with anorexia are likely to experience depression, amongst other symptoms caused by practices like vomiting food in order to loose weight. Anorexia Nervosa is highly inheritable and related to the brain and environment that make it easier for individuals to be prone to be diagnosed with it. Bulimia Nervosa is similar to Anorexia but it is even more inclined towards individuals throwing up the large amounts of food that they have consumed, it is also inheritable and the rate of occurrence is higher in comparison with Anorexia. It is also linked with impulsive behaviours such as the consumption of alcohol. The repercussions are very similar to those of Anorexia where patients erode their throat by throwing up the acid in their stomachs, gastric reflux, weight fluctuations, and even infertility. Women are the most affected since 1.3% of the population with eating disorders is female, against 0.4% male. Alcoholism theoretically does not have many links to eating disorders however it is considered a disease and some individuals’ link both of them for certain reasons. It is medically considered a disease that impacts physically and mentally; it is a physical dependence on alcohol this is due to the fact that it is an addictive substance. It affects the individuals’ ability to consume alcohol safely and so on but it can also affect on mental health, causing psychiatric disorders. This is a serious disease because it harms the body in many ways: alcoholic liver disease, nutrition diseases, cancer, and cirrhosis. It is basically caused by genetic influences and severe childhood trauma, which increases the risk of drug dependency. It has also been found that alcohol consumption at young ages may influence the expression of genes that increases this risk; this is quite expected because 40% of alcoholics will drink excessively by their late adolescence.

Both of these issues are harmful as we may appreciate however they might not seem of any relevance in conjunction but it is a reality for some people, as we will see ahead. Rational explanations have aroused as to what may be called “drunkorexia”. As Lilenfeld said in 1996, “Both disorders are shared manifestations of a shared underlying etiology" this hypothesis believes that eating disorders and substance abuse, predispose the body to produce Endogenous Opioids which decrease the...
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