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  Drunkorexia: A dangerous new trend hitting college campuses  
  ~ Jennifer Falsetti  

It's no secret that college students like to have a good time. It's also no secret that alcohol can be found at just about any party. For many young people, money is not as easily accessible. These are all reasons behind a dangerous trend known as "drunkorexia."

The numbers are staggering. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, at least 1.2 million full-time college students drink alcohol on any given day. Of those, 80 percent engage in drunkorexia.

There are three common reasons behind the practice. For those counting calories, not eating before a night of consuming alcohol could mean weight loss. Dr. Stephen Travis, a Physician at OU Medicine says, this way to have a good time should not be taken lightly.

"Probably the most common is that people don't want to gain weight, so they avoid calories by either not eating or purging. In that case, they can drink more alcohol and worry less about weight gain," Travis said.

A second reason behind the trend is saving money. Many young adults have limited income and must choose between a good time or a good meal.

"By not eating they were able to save money and from that they could have money for alcohol consumption," Travis said.

The third reason is more dangerous. Getting drunker faster, and it's something that happens when consuming alcohol on an empty stomach.

"The calories that you get from alcohol are empty calories in other words you don't have proteins with this, you don't have vitamins and micro nutrients that are there. The chances for getting chronic nutritional disorders is very high," Travis said.

Dr. Travis says a larger conversation needs to happen with parents and friends. If you see someone not eating then hitting the bottle, say something. For many, dangerous behavior patterns are a part of peer pressure. Knowing it's not healthy and normal could make all the difference.

"What needs to happen is there needs to be a shift in what we look at and what we consider to be cool so that people don't feel that type of peer pressure that they need to do that," Travis said.

While both men and women engage in drunkorexia, researchers found that men are more likely to binge eat while drinking. Women are more likely to compensate for the calories from alcohol by restricting their diets and over-exercising.


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