Drunkorexia trend hits universities

A new trend in weight loss amongst college students has been dubbed “Drunkorexia,” a condition that uses extreme dieting to offset alcohol calories from binge drinking.

drunkorexia (Photo credit: wjserson)

Students might not recognize the disease by the name of Drunkorexia, but the behaviors of individuals struggling can be commonly seen throughout students of four-year colleges, according to Bonnie Brennan, the clinical director of adult partial hospitalization services and is a certified eating disorder specialist at Denver’s Eating Recovery Center.


“One of the factors (for Drunkorexia) is sometimes students don’t have access to a lot of resources and maybe they’re making a decision about if, ‘I’ve only got 20 bucks to spend, do I want to spend it on food, or would I rather spend it on drinking?’” Brennan said.

“You can also get more drunk quicker on less alcohol if you don’t have any food in your stomach because your stomach absorbs the alcohol very quickly,” Brennan said.

According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, this type of eating disorder occurs in up to 40 percent of college-aged individuals.

“Alcohol obviously does have many calories and I’m sure many students are aware of this so they are trying to offset that caloric intake into their body,” Brennan said.

Due to the common stigma that you will automatically gain weight when you go off to college, more female than male students attempt to offset the calories they ingest by not eating full meals before a night of binge drinking.

“It’s especially dangerous for women. If we were going to break it down by males and females, I would say this is something that’s much more common among females, which makes it more dangerous because women process alcohol differently than men do. Women just can’t drink the same amount as men can, simply because of body chemistry,” said Andrea Coryell, a staff member with the Health Education and Prevention Services department within Hartshorn.

Due to all of the low self-confidence and poor ideas of body image, Kappa Delta started the “Confidence Coalition” in order to help students recognize what makes them confident.

“You have to find out what you love about yourself. Is it, ‘Oh I love my freckles’ or ‘I love my blue eyes,’” said Tessa Polodna, a member of Kappa Delta.

For those that may be struggling with even a mild form of Drunkorexia, there are multiple outlets on campus to get help from. From the counseling services at Hartshorn, to an open ear from Kappa Delta, the CSU community can help out those who may be having a hard time.

“We all struggle with body image but you just have to love what you have. Just having someone to be there and listen to you is a huge step,” said Polodna.


Collegian Reporter Lauren Rullman can be reached at news@collegian.com.