Colloquially, the “freshman fifteen” (referring to the average 15 pounds college students gain in their first year) is a combination of stress, pizza, and beer. At least, that’s the image popular culture produces through mainstream movies and TV shows about the ‘golden age’ of college. Without parental interference, college age people feel free in their ability to eat what they want, drink what they want, in whatever quantity they want, as often as they want. Developing trends are showing that students want to avoid the unhealthy weight gain, but also ensure their ability to get as drunk as possible. The hybrid solution is called “drunkorexia”.
Drunkorexia: A Synthesis of Alcoholism and Eating Disorder
Practices for drunkorexia come in two troubling forms: anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia comes before an episode of drinking. A student will skip meals (starvation) or exercise heavily (purging), sometimes on empty calories. The psychology is this: with less calories in the body, there is more room for alcoholic calories without exceeding a daily caloric intake. Additionally, the lack of food substance in the body will allow the alcohol to be absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream. Bulimia comes after drinking. Feeling bloated, sick, and concerned over the sugary calories consumed, students will use laxatives, diuretics, or induced vomiting.
Binge drinking in college is an ongoing concern. College students demonstrate a lack in knowledge about how much they should or should not drink. The (institution) quantifies binge drinking as 4 or 5 alcoholic beverages in one sitting- usually about two hours. Many college drinking games involve that many beverages in one round. Games will last all night. Studies are revealing that most college students who drink to this degree practice ‘drunkorexic’ behaviors. There is a dangerous condition to the psychology: if more drunkorexic behavior is practiced, more alcohol can be consumed. Both men and women are prone.
Alcohol poisoning and overdose, as well as alcohol related injuries and/or deaths, show some of the highest number in college age students and in college oriented towns. Drunkorexia is not yet qualified by the DSM-IV as it is difficult to designate it as either alcohol abuse or eating disorder. Treatment for both conditions is possible through a dual-diagnosis.