Growing concern over 'drunkorexia' trend

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Counselors and public health experts are keeping a watchful eye on a concerning trend. Some are calling it "drunkorexia". (WPVI)

Counselors and public health experts are keeping a watchful eye on a concerning trend.

Some are calling it "drunkorexia".

It's more prevalent on college campuses and with young adults, but it's something for everyone to keep in mind.

It's not an official diagnosis. It's probably not even a new behavior.

The term is used for when someone skips meals in order to save calories for drinking alcohol.

It's estimated more than 40 percent of college students binge drink, consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.

Some are coupling it with another dangerous behavior - eating less or not at all.

Some do it to save calories so they don't gain weight, others do it to get drunk quicker.

David B. Sarwer, with Temple University's College of Public Health, says it's concerning.

"Both of those behaviors in isolation would concern me. If we put them together, now it's really getting my attention," said Sarwer, PhD.

He says, in the short term, it's extremely dangerous.

Drinking on an empty stomach can lead to impaired judgement, and a potentially deadly accident.

The long-term risks are less understood. Sarwer says many young adults will simply grow out of this behavior.

But for others, Sarwer says, "unfortunately, they continue to engage in that behavior and therefore might have more true signs of an alcohol problem.

"At the same time, we worry some individuals might now be meeting criteria for an eating disorder," he adds.

And he says it's tough to tell who will fall victim to problems with alcoholism or an eating disorder.

But if it disrupts your day-to-day activities, it's becoming a problem.

And as for preventing weight gain, it's not effective. Alcohol has empty calories. You'll be hungry, and typically a night of heavy drinking leads to heavy eating.

If you or someone you know is having a problem with this, it's best to see a mental health expert or addiction counselor.

All in all, it's better to eat healthy throughout the day... If you drink, drink in moderation and never drink and drive.
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