We're all familiar with the term anorexia, which can take a grip on people and make them seriously sick. But there's a new dangerous "trend" growing predominantly among college students—"drunkorexia"—which combines extreme diet-related behavior with a high intake of alcohol, and it's very worrying.
While drinking heavily in college is a fairly common occurrence, the non-medical term "drunkorexia" relates to a combination of this along with common behaviors associated with eating disorders, including restricted food consumption, bingeing and purging, and excessive levels of exercise.
Speaking to Science Daily, psychology research assistant professor at the University of Houston, Dipali V. Rinker, explained the behavior in more depth. "College students appear to engage in these behaviors to increase alcohol effects or reduce alcohol-related calories by engaging in bulimic-typeor diet/exercising/calorie/restricted eating behaviors," she said.
So the theory is, they'll drink on an empty stomach, meaning they consume less calories and the alcohol hits them quicker. But it's incredibly dangerous, not only because the alcohol will have a greater effect and inhibitions are lowered, which "could lead to more negative alcohol-related consequences," Rinker said.
"Additionally, restricting caloric intake to those from alcohol could lead to vitamin depletion," she added.
The "drunkorexia" phenomenon is thought to be so worrying because it's not only an eating disorder but also an alcohol disorder, and there are concerns about the ease of getting over both elements.
The University of Houston carried out research to investigate just how widely this drunkorexic behavior takes place, and the results were fairly shocking. After quizzing 1,184 university students predominantly based in Texas, who admitted to having binge drunk within the past 30 days, researchers discovered that 80% of respondents reported having drunk heavily without eating, or having binge drunk and then purged.
So be aware. While sacrificing food while drinking heavily might seem like a great way to lose weight, the effects of alcohol on an empty stomach are far greater than when you have food to soak it up. You won't know what could happen to you.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.