Skip to Content

Long-term Health of College Students Impacted by Heavy Drinking Combined with Eating Disorders

830589_12431120 (800x600).jpg

A new study from the University of Missouri has determined that the combination of heavy alcohol consumption with eating disorders can severely affect the long-term health of college students.

Researchers examined the relationship between alcohol misuse and eating disorders, including restricting calorie intake and purging. According to survey results, about 3 times more women than men reported participating in “drunkorexia” type behavior. The term “drunkorexia“ has been adopted by the media to describe the combination of disordered eating and heavy alcohol consumption.

16 percent of survey respondents reported that they restricted food calories in order to balance their caloric intake when drinking. This was generally done in order to prevent weight gain, induce faster intoxication, and save money for alcohol that would ordinarily be spent on food.

The researchers noted that “drunkorexia” may have dangerous cognitive, behavioral, and physical consequences for students. The dangers of combining large amounts of alcohol at the same time as the brain is being deprived of adequate nutrition may place students at risk for developing both short and long-term cognitive difficulties. Problems with studying, concentrating, and decision making can result from the combination of these unhealthy habits.

In addition to this, the combination of eating disorders and binge drinking can place students at higher risk for violence, risky sexual behaviour, or alcohol poisoning. There is also concern over the possibility of students progressing to more serious eating disorders or addiction issues, as well as increased likelihood of suffering from chronic illnesses later in life.

While many students are aware of the health consequences of binge drinking, the researchers expressed concern that there is less awareness over the health consequences resulting from a combination of eating disorders and alcohol abuse.

Source: Medical News Today

Photo: Martin Simonis.