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Eating disorders and alcohol abuse have often been found to co-exist. A recent study shows that there could be a genetic linkage between the two. Read on to find out about more about the study.

Eating Disorders and Alcohol Abuse

Eating disorder can be defined as a change in the eating habits and behavior of a person owing to an abnormal attitude towards food. People with eating disorders tend to think too much about their weight and shape and as a result tend to make unhealthy choices about food. This sudden change in their attitude towards food can have serious psychological, social, and physical repercussions.

Common types of eating disorders include bulimia, binge eating, and anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an unusual obsession for weight and people suffering from this condition try to keep their weight as low as possible by adopting stringent measures such as starving or excessive exercising. Bulimia is a medical condition wherein people try to keep a check on their weights by binge eating and then purposely falling sick and taking laxatives for emptying their bowels. Binge eating is an eating disorder characterized by a compulsive obsession for overeating.

Eating disorders are typically caused due to a combination of biological and social factors. Having a family history of substance abuse, depression, or an eating disorder makes a person susceptible to it. Over-criticism for eating habits might also cause an eating disorder.

Alcohol abuse refers to dangerous and unhealthy drinking habits that can have medical, legal, and social impact on a person’s life. People who abuse alcohol continue to consume alcohol despite the consequences it might have on their personal lives.

Alcohol abusers are totally aware of consequences of drinking too much alcohol and still continue to drink it. Alcohol abusers can set limits on their drinking but its uninhibited use is still self-destructive. A common symptom of alcohol abuse includes neglecting responsibilities at work, school, and home. Alcohol abusers use alcohol even in situations when it can be physically dangerous. Alcohol abusers have a high risk of becoming full-blown alcoholics.

Alcoholics are physically dependent on alcohol for their day-to-day functioning.

Too much of alcohol consumption can cause serious health problems such as cirrhosis of the liver and a high probability of getting injuries in automobile accidents. It also increases your chances of getting anemia, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and dementia. Common symptoms of alcohol abuse and alcoholism include drinking in secret, blacking out, losing interest in other hobbies, feeling the urge to get drunk, and requiring large amounts of alcohol to feel its effect. The commonly attributed causes of alcohol abuse include stress, genes, age of first alcoholic drink, low self-esteem, and easy access.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • “A Twin Study of Alcohol Dependence, Binge Eating, and Compensatory Behaviors”, by Melissa A. Munn-Chernoff, et al. Published in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, accessed on September 9, 2013
  • “Co-morbidity of eating disorders and substance abuse review of the literature” by Claire C. Holderness, et al. Published in the Volume 16, Issue 1 of the International Journal of Eating Disorders, accessed on September 9, 2013.
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