"Drunkorexia" — combining the worst aspects of binge drinking and eating disorders — is a condition by which college students skip meals to control their weight, saving both money (and calories) they can then use to drink. A new study from the University of Missouri found that 16 percent of college students engage in the practice, including three times as many females as males. Sound dangerous? It is. Here's what you need to know:
What's the appeal?
By avoiding food and the money it costs, drunkorexics are able to get drunk more easily and buy more alcohol. Twisted bonus: Even though booze itself can pack on pounds, All Headline News points out, drunkorexics often "vomit the alcohol they consume, causing them to lose weight."
Why is it so dangerous?
It may seem obvious, but according to Victoria Osborne, assistant professor of social work and public health at the University of Missouri, failure to provide the brain "adequate nutrition" while imbibing "large amounts of alcohol" can lead to more serious eating disorders or addiction problems: "Together, they can cause short- and long-term cognitive problems including difficulty concentrating, studying and making decisions," she says.
And it's worse for women?
Yes. It's "pretty disturbing" and downright "ludicrous" to sacrifice food for alcohol, says Deborah Dunham of Blisstree. "Women metabolize alcohol differently" from their male counterparts. "We are likely to make blubbering idiots out of ourselves faster, get sick faster and suffer damage to vital organs sooner than men," she says. "Hopefully these college students will soon realize that the starve-drunk-starve-drunk cycle does not cure anything — even a negative body image."