NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Experts are warning about a deadly new trend on college campuses known as “drunkorexia.”
Claire Mysko of the National Eating Disorders Association told CBS2’s Dick Brennan that it’s an epidemic among college women who feel pressured to be thin.
“There’s constant messages about body image and losing weight, fear of gaining weight, so these kinds of messages are all around for students,” Mysko said.
Lindsey Hall explained while she was in college she drastically cut down on food and saved the calories for drinks instead to avoid the so-called “freshman 15.”
“I wasn’t going to give up my social life, but I also did not want to gain weight,” Hall said, calling it a “liquid diet.”
Mysko said that “drunkorexia” could lead to eating disorders.
“It’s very dangerous behavior,” Mysko said. “It’s very risky and very unhealthy.”
Hall fell victim to that as her “drunkorexia” led to anorexia and bulimia.
“It opens your life up to the whole eating disorder track and it’s a really hard track to get off of,” Hall said.
According to Harvard researchers, two out of five college students are binge drinkers. Without food, alcohol is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream as a combination of the two can be catastrophic.
“Horrible things can happen,” Dr. Petros Levonis of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School said. “You increase the effects of alcohol, you increase the risk of becoming poisoned with alcohol and perhaps end up dying.”
Hall went to rehab and is now in recovery, warning others of “drunkorexia’s” dangers. She said she’s proof that life can become normal after it.
“It starts the whole process of trying to avoid calories, instead of just eating, and you can eat. You can have a couple of drinks and be just fine. It’s freeing,” Hall explained.
Nearly a third of college students said they’ve engaged in “drunkorexic” behavior.