First It Was Just Binge Drinking, Now There’s “Drunkorexia”
U.S. researchers at the University of Missouri found that one in four female students would skip meals to save room for calories from alcoholic drinks. This risky behavior has been called “Drunkorexia“, and it’s a much more common problem on college campuses than previously thought.
The dangerous popular trend among college students: Drunkorexia
“Drunkorexia” is a non-medical term coined for someone limiting the intake of food calories in exchange for alcoholic calories. In Laymen’s terms, students are engaging in behaviors such as skipping meals, excessive exercising, laxative use, or purging in order to make room for alcohol consumption.
This phenomenon has been spreading across college campuses for years and has the potential to become the most dangerous drinking trend on campus. With eating disorders being a prevalent problem among college-aged youth, it’s not surprising that the issue is more widespread than previously reported.
It’s more common on college campuses than previously thought
Numerous studies, including a survey by the University of Houston found that “eight in 10 [students] had engaged in at least one behavior linked to drunkorexia, including inducing vomiting, consuming laxatives, or skipping food entirely before drinking.” Another study by the University of South Australia showed that nearly 60% of female students exhibited drunkorexia-related behavior.
However, this risky behavior is not exclusively limited to the female student population either. According to the lead research of the University of Houston study, Dr. Dipali Rinker, “Our study suggested that males are just as likely, if not more likely, to engage in these behaviors…because men, in general, just tend to engage in riskier drinking behaviors than women.”
This has become normal behavior on college campuses, with some students skipping meals, not to save calories or money, but for the sake of becoming intoxicated faster. These drunkorexia-related behaviors leave students susceptible to negative consequences like drinking related injury or illness, sexual assault, and engaging in other risky behavior like drug use.
The gateway to other disorders
Drunkorexia-related behavior can be a gateway to other addictive behaviors. Students who have said they have engaged in Drunkorexia-related behavior are at risk for other disorders like Bulimia, binge eating, and alcohol abuse. These behaviors can also be masking underlying problems of depression disorders.
While “drunkorexia” isn’t a diagnosis, the combination of binge drinking and anorexic behavior displayed in students has health officials taking a closer look at drunkorexia as a drinking and eating disorder. The dual addiction of eating and drinking disorders of drunkorexia requires intervention and therapy. Counseling is available on many campuses solely for students affected by drunkorexia, and help is available to those who need it. If you or a friend is exhibiting Drunkorexia-related behavior, be supportive as they cope with recovery.