Before knocking back a few shots of your favorite vodka (or liquor of your choice), you may have already eaten a nice, filling meal because you know that if you drink on an empty stomach the result will not be pretty. Astoundingly, there are some people, specifically those with eating disorders, who drink heavily on a very
empty stomach. The media is calling this destructive behavior "drunkorexia," and a recent study from the University of Missouri shows that in addition to providing a hangover like no other, drunkrorexia could also affect a person's long term health.Eating disorders are a common occurrence
among teens and college students, especially in females. It is also well known that this same age group tends to engage in heavy drinking. When these two unhealthy habits combine, the consequences can be dangerous.
Recent reports show that over 16 percent of surveyed teens stated that they restricted calories so they could save them for drinking. These teens purposely starve themselves in order to prevent weight gain from alcohol . . . and as a result get intoxicated much faster. An alarming amount of individuals reported that they would rather drink than eat, and the money that they save from not buying food would be used to purchase alcohol.
Alternately, a bulimic teen
could eat everything she wanted, and then drink heavily to purge herself of the food (and thus the calories). The Dangerous Consequences
According to Victoria Osborne, an assistant professor of social work and public health, “drunkorexia can have dangerous cognitive, behavioral and physical consequences.” Osborne points out that even as separate conditions, nutrient deprivation and heavy alcohol consumption is dangerous for both brain and body. When the two combine, it can form both short and long term problems affecting mental focus, decision-making and may lead to difficulty concentrating in both the short and long term.
Because of how severely impaired a person can get when coupling an eating disorder with binge drinking, she (or he) is also at a higher risk for violence, risky sexual behavior,
substance abuse, alcohol poisoning and chronic diseases later in life. Women metabolize alcohol differently than men; they can get sick faster and suffer damage to vital organs much sooner than a male might. Addressing the Problem
To combat binge drinking, many college campuses are starting alcohol education programs for students. One of these programs is the MU Wellness Resource Center, which educates students on the misuse and abuse of alcohol. They accomplish this through many different channels; a peer education program that is similar to a sponsor program, workshops, traditional classes on the dangers of alcohol abuse, and a program called CHEERS that provides free non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers.