Drunkorexia becomes a new trend among college students

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College can be an exciting time for most young adults, but it can be stressful as well. Many college students face different issues such as being in a new place with new people and working to balance a social life with academic success. Many students also stress about weight gain that stems from peer pressure and the media. Drunkorexia is a non-medical term for when students trade food calories for alcohol calories, which can have many negative health effects.

“They starve themselves all day, so they don’t eat and consume any calories, just so they can binge drink at night without worry about passing their recommended daily caloric intake and gain weight,” Dr. Aris Karagiorgakis said, Assistant Professor of Psychology at BHSU.

Drunkorexia is most prevalent among women, but it affects men as well. Most students who participate in this strategy for weight loss and binge drinking can cause a lot of damage to their body and it can be bad for their health. Binge drinking on an empty stomach makes the blood-alcohol content rise at a dangerously fast pace.

“This means the drinker becomes far more susceptible to alcohol poisoning and blackouts,” Karagiorgakis said. “That’s the short-term danger in this strategy, which may also result in an embarrassing trip to the ER.”

In the long run, drunkorexia can cause brain damage because the body needs nutrition and hydration while it is developing into a student’s early 20’s. One of the most dangerous long term risks of binge drinking is future alcohol abuse and even death.

Eating disorders have become a major issue on college campuses. The National Institute of Mental Health website reports that about 25 percent of college students have an eating disorder. The majority are women with approximately 10 percent being male. Some students take extreme measures to avoid calories such as anorexia.

Drinking has also grown widespread among college campuses. According to the NIAAA website on college drinking, approximately four out of five college students’ drink alcohol, and half of those participate in binge drinking.

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