Drunkorexia: New rage among American students

Drunkorexia: New rage among American students

Thousands of Americans have succumbed to causes associated with alcohol abuse and many more are seeking treatment for alcohol-related disorders. Looking at the grim situation, government agencies are devising ways and means to educate people about the adverse impact of alcohol consumption. Now, a recent trend among college students of skipping meals to compensate for the calories gained during binge drinking is giving the government jitters.

A recent study by the University of Kansas indicated that college students exhibit a new behavioral pattern called “drunkorexia,” also known as Inappropriate Compensatory Behavior to avoid Weight Gain from consuming Alcohol (ICB-WGA), which involves exercising restriction in food intake or vomiting out the food taken before a session of binge drinking.

Students skip meals to compensate for the calories gained by drinking

According to the scientists, Dr. Kelsie Forbush and graduate student Tyler K. Hunt from the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas, the trend may be related to eating and substance use disorders. Commenting on the adverse impact of drunkorexia, Dr. Forbush, said, “Binge drinking and disordered eating are major mental health concerns among college students. Approximately 40 percent of American college students engage in binge drinking at least once in the past two weeks.”

During the study the respondents revealed that they had either skipped meals or exercised vigorously to compensate for the calories they had gained by drinking large quantities of alcohol at one go. Some participants also revealed that they drank large quantities of alcohol to vomit the food they had eaten.

Another recent study on college students by the University of Houston found out how American students took to repeated fasting and strenuous exercises before drinking excessively. The researchers believed that the students did this only to get drunk faster. The findings of the study, presented at the 39th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting in New Orleans in June 2016, also said that the students used laxatives or vomited purposefully before drinking. The scientists pointed out that students residing in fraternity or sorority houses were more likely to engage in such dangerous behaviors.

Though both the studies provided evidence of the existence of drunkorexia in American colleges, the findings could not relate the condition to substance use disorder or eating disorder. Commenting on the findings, Dr. Dipali V. Rinker from the University of Houston said, “Our data suggest that college students are more likely to engage in these specific compensatory behaviors if they are athletes, are already heavy drinkers, are coping with negative emotions, are engaging in disordered eating practices already, and, most importantly, because they perceive it to be a highly normative behavior among college students.” The studies found that more men were engaged in such behaviors than women.

Road to recovery

Despite its intoxicating effects, alcohol is not illegal in the U.S. Binge drinking is the most prevalent form of drinking pattern in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), nearly 24.7 percent of Americans, aged 18 years or above, were engaged in drinking behavior synonymous to binge drinking, during a month prior to the survey in 2014.

Management of drinking habits is a must to prevent alcohol addiction and a control on drinking habits can help prevent dependence on alcohol. To get rid of the toxins accumulated in the body because of alcohol consumption, doctors prescribe detoxification under medical supervision. Detoxification is the first step in alcohol management and involves a controlled method of alcohol withdrawal. Medical practitioners recommend a host of medications, combined with evidence-based therapies, during the detox process.

If you or your loved one is struggling to overcome an addiction, get in touch with the Rapid Detox Helpline to know about various rapid detox centers. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-403-5591 or chat online for further information.