Accidental Anorexia: When Alcohol Replaces Food

Accidental Anorexia - When Alcohol Replaces FoodA combination of anorexia and alcohol abuse or addiction can lead to dangerous weight loss and a host of potential physical concerns that may be deadly.

Understanding Anorexia Symptoms

The symptoms of anorexia vary, but the following are a few of the most frequently seen signs of this mental and physical illness:

  • Refusal to eat a balanced diet
  • Obsession over food that is eaten and its caloric content
  • Distorted body image
  • A high desire for perfection
  • Worries about being accepted
  • Excessive exercise
  • Depression and anxiety

Anorexia and self-harm are often seen together, as a person struggling with an eating disorder is generally unable to express emotions effectively. Self-harm can help individuals temporarily break away from feelings of emotional isolation. Self-harm is not a suicide attempt, as it is often an attempt to remind an individual that he or she is still alive.

Understanding Alcoholism Symptoms

Key anorexia symptoms of depression, anxiety and self-harm can also be seen in alcoholics. Alcoholics often reach a point where they believe they will never be free from their addiction. They know that alcohol is damaging their lives, but they still continue to drink. This is a form of self-harming behavior. Other symptoms of alcohol abuse or addiction may include the following:

  • Failing to hold down a steady job
  • Withdrawal from family and social events
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Financial concerns stemming from alcohol use
  • Anger, violence or domestic abuse

Alcoholics may reach a point where their cravings for alcohol overcome their need for nutrition. This can lead to accidental anorexia.

Anorexia and Alcoholism Together

The effects of anorexia are harmful and potentially lasting, as the body is being starved of nutrition. Malnutrition can lead to a number of medical concerns such as the following:

  • When the body is starved of food, alcohol will affect the body faster and an accidental alcohol overdose becomes a real possibility
  • Internal organs such as your heart, lungs, kidneys and liver can all sustain severe and often irreversible damage as a result of combined anorexia and addiction
  • Women may experience a shutdown of their reproductive system which can lead to fertility issues
  • Many struggling with anorexia develop type 2 diabetes
  • A lack of potassium resulting from malnutrition can lead to heart failure or heart attack
  • Brain damage and strokes are possible as a result of malnutrition and addiction

The dangers of eating disorders are scary enough, and anorexia dangers increase exponentially when alcohol is included.

Eating Disorder and Addiction Helpline

If you need help with an eating disorder, substance abuse problem or both, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline for guidance and an insight into finding the best treatment options that will match you or your loved one’s individual needs. You can find a health and alcohol free-life, and we are here 24 hours a day to help you do so.