The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


“Drunkorexic” men and women drink to lose weight

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“Drunkorexic” people deprive themselves of calories during the day so that they can binge drink at night.

“Drunkorexic” people deprive themselves of calories during the day so that they can binge drink at night. (Courtesy of

“Drunkorexia” is a media coined term that is only a few years old. The word is used to define young women and men who don’t eat during the day in order to binge drink that night in hopes that they won’t gain weight.

In simpler terms, it is a combination of eating disorders and alcoholism. Drunkorexic behaviors most often result from a fear of gaining weight from alcohol and are more prevalent in college-aged women, although men also demonstrate the behavior.

In some drastic cases, ‘drunkorexic’ behaviors may be linked to clinically diagnosed eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia, in which people use the alcohol to make vomiting easier or to help manage their eating anxieties. However, the term also refers to individuals without eating disorders who restrict their food consumption before going out. Although it is currently a non-medical term, experts and medical professionals are becoming increasingly worried about this behavior.

The term has not yet been classified because there hasn’t been enough research done on it. In order to diagnose a mental health disorder, professionals must use the DSM, which is a diagnostic and statistical manual, to make sure that the person they are diagnosing meets the certain diagnostic standards.

The concern with drunkorexia is that there is a lot of overlap between eating disorders and chemical abuse.

“For instance, if a young woman or man is trying to save up calories so they can drink them at night or if they are trying to not eat a lot of food so they can get drunker faster, that’s an unhealthy coping skill just like alcoholism itself would be or an eating disorder itself would be,” Kiersten Rapstine, clinical supervisor at The Renfrew Center in Dallas, said.

Drunkorexic behaviors seem to be most prevalent among college women because of the stress and pressure that this period in life causes young women.

“Research has shown that the most frequent time an eating disorder occurs is the onset of puberty and the transition into college,” Rapstine said. “These are times that are very stressful in a person’ life because of the stress and change.” She explains that college is a very difficult time for a young woman.

The transition from moving away from home to a college life where there is newfound freedom and independence can be hard for some people as there are unlimited pressures in college, both academically and socially related, that can cause women to develop anxiety and insecurity. Alcohol abuse and eating disorders are unhealthy coping skills that people do to deal with stresses in their lives and since college can be a very stressful time, many people resort to these behaviors to deal with the pressure.

The National Eating Disorder Association shows that while women are more commonly affected by eating disorders, more than a million men battle the illness every day.

College men in particular experience many social pressures to drink, including the influence of their fraternity to binge drink and other social norms of alcohol on campus.

And although it may seem as though women and men’s reasons for saving their daytime calories for nighttime drinking are different, Rapstine explains that they are much the same.

“I don’t think that the reasons behind it are much different,” Rapstine said.

“Men are getting into drinking because they have some pain that they are trying to self-medicate. Men get into eating disorders for the same reason. An eating disorder is an addiction as well it’s just what we call a process addiction rather than a chemical addiction. And it’s established by both genders because they are in a lot of pain and they don’t know how to handle it in a healthy way so they both use maladaptive coping skills.”

Rapstine explained how men struggle with eating disorders just like women do and how the rate and frequency at which men have been diagnosed with eating disorders the past couple of years has been extraordinary.

The only additional factor that has seemed to influence men’s actions more than women’s is the cost of alcohol. When choosing to spend their budget on dinner or beer, these college men will choose the alcohol.

Drunkorexia poses a threat to a person’s physical, mental and emotional health and can have severe cognitive, behavioral and physical consequences.

Both eating disorders and alcohol abuse have severe life consequences and when the two diseases are combined, these effects are even more drastic. Starving the body of calories and then heavily drinking doesn’t allow the body to absorb or process the alcohol fast enough and can cause alcohol poisoning.

Additionally, drinking on an empty stomach causes people to get drunk at a faster rate, which ultimately results in poor decision-making, as well as a higher rate of blackouts, alcohol-related injuries, violence and illness.

Drunkorexics lower their food caloric intake, which prohibits them from getting the proper nutrients their bodies need. By depriving the brain of proper nutrition and ingesting an excessive amount of alcohol, drunkorexics can suffer from both short- and long-term cognitive problems including difficulty concentrating, studying and making decisions.


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