By Aimee Villalpando |Staff Writer|
1 in 4 college students across the nation are involved in a recent growing trend posing serious long-term and short-term health problems – drunkorexia, a combination of binge drinking and starvation.
According to The Examiner, “A study by the University of Missouri alone found that 30% of coed admitted that within the last year they had restricted food in order to consume greater quantities of alcohol.”
CSUSB student Pablo Alvarez attests to the issue, “I’ve experienced [drunkorexia] firsthand with my friends, because they don’t eat and it is because of the money.”
Motivations for drunkorexia may be the result of: prevention of weight gain, saving money, and being able to become intoxicated faster, said ABC News.
“Abuse counselors are putting the word ‘Drunkorexia’ in line with other eating disorders because the patient uses the same type of methods as anorexia and bulimia- they just mix it with alcohol too,” said Dr. Kevin Prince, alcohol & other drug education program coordinator at the University Health Services in Austin, Texas to ABC news.
Experts suggest this may be a result of alcohol companies targeting new consumers, particularly women.
This issue was examined by public health professor Victoria Osborne, who found that women admitted engaging in this behavior three times more than men.
“There’s no question that the alcohol industry is presenting their goods to women as though they’re diet products,” said David Jernigan of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Men, however, were found to be more likely to engage in this harmful practice for the purpose of saving money, according to steppingstonecenter.org.
Osborne suggested that because women metabolize alcohol differently than men, women are at higher risk for health problems related to binge drinking.
Adam Berry, a professor of health education and behavior at University of Florida, revealed 20 percent of people who actively workout were more likely to consume heavy amounts of alcohol, according to Fox News.
Osborne commented on the findings on sciencedaily.com, “Apart from each other, depriving the brain of adequate nutrition and consuming large amounts of alcohol can be dangerous.”
“Together, they can cause short- and long-term cognitive problems including difficulty concentrating, studying and making decisions,” added Osborne.
Experts say that calories from food and calories from alcohol are not interchangeable, despite popular belief, according to msn.com.
“Alcohol is a desert of nutrients compared to food,” said Mark Peluso, director of the Middlebury College health center.
“Drunkorexia, like anorexia, can lead to bone loss, depression, heart problems and organ failure due to the lack of protein and vitamins,” concluded Peluso.
Immediate problems that may arise from drunkorexia include higher chances of alcohol poisoning, behavioral changes, and cognitive changes, which may “lead to things like sexual assault, DUIs and, over time, gastritis, ulcers and malnutrition,” said officials to MSN.com.
CSUSB students spoke out on the matter.
When asked if he believed health problems arise as a result of drunkorexia, student Pablo Alvarez said, “In the long term yes, but I don’t think it’s going to be that serious if you only do it once in a while.”
Francisco Casillas agreed with Alvarez and added, “It just depends on how much the person is consuming and it depends on their weight.”
Evidently, while experts are becoming increasingly alarmed of this new trend, college students continue to ignore the potential dangers of drunkorexia.