Universities have brought many challenging situations that young people must deal with: staying away from their parents, living with unfamiliar peers, lack of personal space and privacy, institutional food, increased independence, the presence of drugs and alcohol, and social pressure to adapt Now, increased academic pressure, as well as sororities and fraternities.
The university party culture is considered problematic. Alcoholism seems to be deeply integrated into campus culture and regarded as “normal behavior” and has become a major problem. It can lead to decreased performance, sexual assault, and alcohol use disorder. But there is another related danger lurking: “drunkenness.”
Food and alcohol interference
Irregular diet and alcoholism are common problems on college campuses. In addition, irregular eating and alcoholism often occur at the same time-when they do, they can cause more problems than the sum of the parts.
A particular problem at the intersection of eating disorders and alcoholism is a behavioral pattern called “drunkenness” by the lay community. This is not a clinical term-there is no formal psychological diagnosis of drunkenness. Even so, the phrase has begun to describe the tendency to deliberately skip meals before drinking.
What is drunkenness?
Drunkenness was first described in 2008 New York Times Sarah Kershaw (Sarah Kershaw) article, he wrote: “Alcoholics are college alcoholics, usually women, they starve all day to offset the calories in the alcohol intake.” Since then Some studies have further clarified and described this phenomenon.
The research team of Choquette and colleagues recently proposed the term “food and alcohol interference” (FAD) as the clinical name for drunkenness.
The core component of drunkenness is the use of compensatory behaviors — which may include restriction of eating, clearing, or exercise — to offset calories from alcohol, enhance intoxication, or both.
This question does not necessarily indicate a clinical diagnosis of an eating disorder or alcohol use disorder, nor does it rule out making such a diagnosis. Therefore, a person may suffer from an eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, or drunkenness. However, what makes this problem different from any independent diagnosis is “the intertwined motivations of behaviors that are not necessarily present in comorbid manifestations.”
The calorie compensation of drinking may occur before, during, or after drinking. Some people may restrict their diet in anticipation of drinking alcohol. Or, overeating without prior restrictions may induce guilt, which in turn can lead to compensatory behaviors such as clearance, diuretics, exercise, or dieting to offset the alcohol calories consumed.
Studies have shown that eating disorders or drinking alcohol increase a person’s likelihood of drunkenness, and support the conceptualization of drunkenness as an overlap of dysfunctional eating patterns.
Who can suffer from drunkenness?
This problematic behavior pattern seems to be the most common among college populations, although it may also occur in people who have never attended college. Some studies have found that one-third of college students report deliberately eating less food before drinking to compensate for the alcohol calories they plan to consume. Other studies report that as many as 46% to 58% of college students engage in these behaviors at least “sometimes.”
In a large sample of college students who have drunk alcohol at least once in the past 30 days, more than 80% said they had at least one eating disorder in the past three months. These behaviors include inducing vomiting, taking laxatives or diuretics, or restricting food before drinking alcohol.
Drunkenness is not just an American phenomenon-it has been found in college students all over the world, including college students in Italy and Australia. Due to the additional pressure and environmental changes this year (including the loss of parental supervision), first-year college students may face the greatest risk. Students who live in fraternities and sororities seem to be more likely to participate in this behavior.
Men and women who engage in drunken behavior seem to have different motivations and seem to be more common among women. A study reported that college women are more than 1.5 times more likely to report restricting food intake before drinking alcohol. Studies have shown that most women restrict calorie intake before drinking alcohol to avoid weight gain. Although this is also the case for some men, a larger proportion of men seem to limit their intake in order to become intoxicated more quickly.
It has been suggested that this gender difference is due to the greater pressure on women to lose weight compared with men. Some researchers point out that the two common stresses faced by college women-getting drunk and staying slim-are in direct conflict and may contribute to drunkenness. Studies have shown that the link between women who drink alcohol and their motivation to control weight is particularly strong.
Studies have shown that women who restrict their diet before drinking alcohol are more likely to suffer from eating disorders, alcohol problems, and symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Risk of drunkenness
The combination of self-imposed hunger and overeating can have serious physical and mental consequences.
Drinking on an empty stomach accelerates the entry of alcohol into the bloodstream, which can increase the blood alcohol content to life-threatening levels with little warning. Drinking alcohol under malnutrition can exacerbate the consequences, such as fainting, alcoholism, brain damage, organ damage, vomiting, aggressive behavior, and unnecessary sexual activity.
Over time, this behavior can lead to liver cirrhosis. Drinking alcohol can also inhibit the storage and formation of new memories and reduce cognitive function. Alcoholism can also exacerbate many of the consequences of malnutrition, including vitamin deficiencies and risks to the heart, liver, and kidneys. In addition, the abuse of alcohol itself may cause social, academic, and physical problems, such as absenteeism, legal issues, family or work issues.
Interventions for drunkenness
If you eat less in order to be able to drink more water, realize that this is dangerous behavior and it is important to seek help. Since drunkenness is not a clinical diagnosis, there are relatively few studies on it and no specific treatments.
The focus of treatment is to maintain a regular diet or abstain from alcohol. A therapist trained in eating disorders or substance use should be able to help.
If you are or will be the parent of a college student, especially a student who is dieting or eating disorder, you should be alert to this behavior and educate your children to skip meals or limit food to increase the risk of drinking before then. Let them know that it will exacerbate their eating problems and that alcohol calories can never fully replace food calories.
Even if your children in college may be technically adults, this does not mean that you should not continue to participate. Especially if there is a history of eating disorders or drug abuse at home, please keep in touch with them and check regularly. Pay attention to any signs that they may be drinking too much or having increased eating disorders, or both. Talk to them and express any concerns in a non-judgmental way. If you have doubts, please seek professional help.
Advice for universities
Colleges and universities should address the problematic behavior of drunken anorexia by educating freshmen about the increased health risks associated with calorie restriction before drinking.
Universities should also implement screening and provide additional support for high-risk groups, such as those in sororities and fraternities who are often associated with drinking and dieting.
Programs such as “body plans” have been implemented in university groups, such as sororities, and have been proven to effectively reduce participants’ pursuit of ideal weight loss.