Diagnosis: “Drunkorexia?”

To parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and writers of The Denver Post,

Thank you so much for your concern about my supposed “drunkorexia,” which is apparently the deliberate decision to eat less food on days destined for drunken debauchery. Though this is not an official medical term, it has been noted in Colorado as a recent “growing trend” among college women. However, let me assure you, drunkorexia is not actually real, and the things that appear similar to the nonexistent disorder may actually be conscious dieting choices among university realities.

Any college student’s diet is abnormal and worthy of attention on its own. Our campuses are equipped to fight our appetites with buffet-style dining halls filled with low-quality options, and our kitchens are stocked with frozen pizzas, chips and Cup of Noodles, each drenched in unhealthy preservatives and way too much salt. Our meal times are tightly squeezed into our schedule among study sessions, work shifts, volunteer programs and internship hours – meaning we chow down while running out of our apartments and we treat ourselves to late-night breaks in the middle of all-nighters. It may not be an ideal routine for our waistline, but it works out well for our resumés, academic transcripts and graduate school applications.

With that said, extending our workouts and skipping meals may not be our best bets, but announcing, “I’m drinking, therefore I don’t want to eat so much, so I’m going to have a mixed green salad and a Diet Coke,” seems like a sign of sensible maturity. In a nation expanding quickly with actual medical concerns such as obesity and diabetes, maybe a couple calorie swaps – whether we plan to drink or otherwise – are a good idea!

It is true, there are college women – and people in general – who are seriously battling eating disorders and/or abusing substances. However, anorexia nervosa and bulimia are commonly related to a distorted self-image or fear of losing control, while alcoholism is characterized as its uncontrolled consumption and often inspired by personal reasons. These are both serious conditions, related in some cases, but those who are skimping snacks solely to stay under the recommended daily caloric intake after a few shots should not be diagnosed the same. Or with made-up medical terms like drunkorexia. It isn’t fair for those students who actually need the medical attention, and it’s simply annoying to those who don’t.

We’re in college, we’re going to drink, so we might as well be logical and somewhat healthier about it. This isn’t a problem so much as it’s a solution. Come on!

And to the UNC students who keep “seeing their friends drink on an empty stomach, binge on ‘drunk food’…then feel guilty and vomit” – that is not drunk food, that’s affordable food on a college budget that your friend is eating because she only had a bowl of lettuce for dinner and now, 6 hours later, she’s hungry. Plus, people don’t throw up because they feel guilty, it’s because they’re drunk/hungover. So be a friend, hold her hair back, and buy her dinner next time – there’s probably a better chance she’s saving her money instead of her calories for alcohol!

Thank You,



    1. Anna says:

      From what I understand, "Drunkorexia" is when women intentionally eat less in order to get drunk faster, not to avoid calories, and drink to the point of throwing up to avoid even more calories. It's not a diet, it's intentional deprivation of food to induce vomiting.

    2. alexandra says:

      I disagree completely. This is a legitimate concern and it's dangerous because it throws off your perception of how much you can drink without getting dangerously drunk. When you don't have food in your system your BAC rises a lot faster and your body can't deal with the alcohol as well. Plus if someone is doing this intentionally my guess would be they have self esteem/weight issues anyway. Or they're seriously vain. If you don't think it's a problem maybe you should re-evaluate yourself.

    3. Anna says:

      Alexandra said it much better than I did. Agreed, and well put.

    4. Christina says:

      I'm sorry, I have to agree with Ashley. In college, I had next to no time to eat. If I knew I was going out that night, I had less at lunch because I knew I'd order wings and have beer. It wasn't a case of wanting to get drunk faster so much as parceling my calories for the day out. I didn't want to eat my regular sized meals because I knew that would make me feel sluggish the next day (NOT HUNGOVER). It wasn't a calorie restricted diet, it was an awareness of what I was eating and adjusting my intake to reflect larger meals. We've all had days where we know we're going out to dinner and skipping dessert at lunch or even think about Thanksgiving, when most people eat on an empty stomach to eat more. It might be an issue for those girls who have an eating disorder underlying said awareness, but then the diagnosis is not drunkorexia, it is straight up anorexia or bulimia.

    5. Anna says:

      Christina, it's not always the case that someone who skips or cuts back on a meal is "drunkorexic." What you are describing doesn't sound like it at all. Drunkorexia is the intentional use of alcohol to induce vomiting in order to purge, made easier by consuming fewer calories beforehand. You're right, many women find ways to healthily cut down on calories to balance out those they imbibe, but women who use alcohol to INTENTIONALLY vomit are unhealthy and endangering themselves.

    6. A says:

      Nobody should be vomiting on a regular basis. It doesn't matter if it's self-induced or if it's because the person drinking. If I know I'm going out, I eat less during the day to save calories and money. Because alcohol is very caloric and plus when my stomach is empty, it takes me less drinks to get drunk and thus I spend less money. I save calories on the future drinks I may have been able to handle and I save calories on the big dinner that I did not eat before my big night of drinking.

      However, this method only works for girls who know how to stop drinking when they are drunk.

    7. O says:

      You are seriously dumb if you think tht not eating before drinking is a healthier choice. Let ruin our livers and stomach faster! And put ourselves in danger! Gee, sounds like a good idea to me to fit into my jeans come Monday morning!

    8. Lauren says:

      This is the worst article I've ever read on this site.

    9. Jenna says:

      I do completely agree with the last sentence though, if I set aside a certain amount of money for a big night I am gonna try to get the most bang for my buck meaning less money spent on food and more on booze.

    10. Lisa says:

      This article is written in a way that demonstrates that the writer clearly didn't understand what she was writing about. Some girls eat less to compensate for the calories on its own which I believe is still slightly unhealthy but still, that's not drunkorexia. The issue she's failing to grasp is that girls are eating less so that they get drunk quicker and more intensely. It's not good. it's a problem. Understand a topic before you write an article on it please.

    11. Rizla says:

      Do as the french: drink wine!

      Chardonnay, Sauvignon… It's less caloric, better tasting than beer and it's way cheaper (here in France). And you'll get drunk.

      I don't understand how people can get drunk by drinking beer. You need to drink like 3 or 4 pints to be drunk. That's almost 2 liters! I have a small bladder^^

    12. Sabrina says:

      Lisa: you took the words right out of my mouth.

    13. Andrea says:

      There are so many ways to save money for nights out, other than "cutting calories." For one, you can spend 99cents at a fast food chain and still manage to consume 800 calories. Fast food is still not a healthy option, but I can't believe this writer is actually recommending to limit their food consumption in order to afford alcohol. As Lisa said, she's unaware of what her subject "Drunkorexia" even entails..

      .For those who want to save money for alcohol here's some practical advice: check out thrift stores or share with your roomie, go for the cheap liquor/wine (but spend for the excedrin), use cash instead of debit, make buddies with the guys who throw the best parties

    14. Marisa says:

      Let's stop inventing new words. "Drunkorexia" is not logical. I have no doubt that it is dangerous, but people are combining words because it sounds good. Today I heard the term "Textual Abuse" used by a psychiatrist (seriously) in reference to someone sending another person too many texts at one time. It doesn't sound intelligent at all. Drunkorexia… please.

    15. Jenny says:

      this is a ridiculous article. you are an idiot, and there is no reason there should even be an article posted making drunkorexia okay. is their an editor? ARE YOU SERIOUS? this isn't reality. i don't know what planet you live on. i am actually appalled by this. you have obviously have body image issues and are trying to make what these girls do seem reasonable. it's not. it's unhealthy and just because you are pounding calories later at night, doesn't mean you should ever starve yourself. because that is called anorexia. and just because you eat drunk munchies doesn't mean you should throw them up. that's called bulemia. you have to be uneducated and ignorant to even try to make drunkorexia seem okay. you need help. as does this website.

    • You Might Like