To eat, or not to eat? That is the question some students ask themselves when deciding which calories are most important for the day.
Drunkorexia is a non-medical term used to describe individuals who do not eat during the day to “save” calories that will be consumed while drinking at night, according to a study by the University of Missouri.
Licensed Professional Counselor Cristal Clark wrote in an email that she has not heard this term, but she is familiar with the behavior.
“This behavior is the gateway to alcohol abuse and addiction,” she wrote. “When you mix the need for alcohol with a college student who has a low budget, the Drunkorexia comes in to play.”
Clark, the owner of MC Wellness and therapist, wrote that Drunkorexia is very dangerous and could have some dangerous long-term effects.
“I am not sure of the clinically proven long-term affects of this behavior,” she wrote. “I would think, long term your stomach will be torn up from so much alcohol that it will not be able to tolerate any substantial amount of food. The body will then be nutrient deficient.”
“The body begins to crave more sugar due to the amount of sugar in the alcohol. Alcohol is also a depressant, much to the dismay of folks,” she concluded.
Some students, like sophomore entrepreneurial management major Brian Arnold, view Drunkorexia as a big health problem.
“I would say [Drunkorexia] is a huge problem because it’s very important to get your nutrition during the day,” Arnold said. “If you don’t, that messes with your whole body.”
Students like sophomore strategic communication major Olivia Thomas, who said she has witnessed Drunkorexia first hand, look at it less critically.
“I don’t think it’s a problem, I think it could be,” she said. “But with my friends, I don’t think they’re doing it to lose weight. I think they just have busy schedules before they party at night, and they realize later on they should have eaten more than they did.”
Clark said students should make sure they drink a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage.
“Eight full ounces of water between any drink. This will not only allow you to not get so trashed, the water will help with the hangover which is typically caused by dehydration,” she wrote. “The food in your stomach also lessens the effect of the alcohol on your stomach.”
Drunkorexia is not a healthy habit and should be avoided if possible, Clark wrote.
Students looking for help dealing with Drunkorexia or any eating disorder should contact the TCU Counseling and Mental Health Center.