The term "drunkorexia" has been used for several years to describe a particularly risky type of behavior on college campuses—students skip meals or exercise intensely before drinking, or deliberately purge during or afterward. Generally, the idea is to cut down on calories consumed or to increase the buzz, and sometimes a little of both. A new study, however, suggests that the practice is far more common that thought, reports Inside Higher Ed. The University of Houston survey rounded up nearly 1,200 students who had at least one bout of heavy drinking in the previous month and found that eight in 10 had engaged in at least one behavior linked to drunkorexia, including inducing vomiting, consuming laxatives, or skipping food entirely before drinking. The other surprise to lead researcher Dr. Dipali Rinker: This wasn't a phenomenon exclusive to female students.
"Our study suggested that males are just as likely, if not more likely, to engage in these behaviors," she tells Medscape. "We suspect that this is because men, in general, just tend to engage in riskier drinking behaviors than women." Rinker presented her findings at the Research Society on Alcoholism's annual meeting in New Orleans, and another researcher's paper shows that the issue isn't confined to America. An Australian study of female college students found that nearly 60% used drunkorexia behavior. “It’s a new phenomenon involving disordered eating purely for the sole purpose of saving calories for alcohol,” says researcher Alissa Knight of the University of South Australia. (These are the heaviest drinking cities in America.)