College is a place to have new experiences, make new friends, and inevitably attend an occasional party. However, with many young adults who sometimes engage in risky behavior, there are times when things can go too far.
Recently a new disorder among college students has become increasingly prevalent. The term is “drunkorexia,” and it is impacting college students across the nation. The disorder is a combination of anorexia and binge drinking, basically skipping meals so that the participant has fewer calories in the body, allowing them to get drunk faster.
Drunkorexic behaviors tend to stem from the fear of weight gain from alcohol. Researchers have discovered that the disorder is most common in college- aged women who want to party without gaining weight.
Over the past year there have been several studies to gauge the extent of Drunkorexia on college campuses. One study showed that as high as 26 percent of young adults use this method when attending parties or other social events. “I think there are different ways that it is exemplified between men and women,” says Adam E. Barry, the lead researcher on a study of drunkorexia published in the Journal of American College Health. “Women skip meals due to drinking, while men tend to exercise in order to offset the calories from drinking.”
Effects of drunkorexia span the spectrum of physical and psychological areas. Drinking in a state of malnutrition can make individuals prone to a higher rate of blackouts, alcohol poisoning, violence, and in some cases, severe alcohol-related brain damage. Research points out that drinking on an empty stomach leads to a much more rapid metabolism of the alcohol, which then leads to higher levels of impairment and intoxication in shorter spans of time.
Snow College student Jonathan Hald shared his opinion on the idea of drunkorexia. “By engaging in bad habits like that you ruin your body. Why would you want to give up on a long healthy life for just a few years of nonsense?”
Still, despite the known risks of such a behavior, it seems as if it isn’t going to slow down any time soon. The trick is finding a stable balance between healthy living and allowing time for recreational activities. Knowing your limits, choosing wisely, working out regularly, finding other things to occupy your free time, and, if necessary, seeking help. These are just some ways that students can avoid becoming a victim of this and similar disorders.
The best thing to do is to be aware that no one is immune to a disorder, and it all begins with making consciously safe decisions to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.