Drunkorexia is a slang term for the combined condition of binge drinking and anorexia nervosa, according to MedTerms Online Medical Dictionary, and is used to describe the habit of replacing meals with excessive drinking.
Neither MU Wellness Resource Center Director Kim Dude nor Susan Schopflin, Quality Improvement Director for Family Counseling Center of Missouri, had heard much about the term.
Although Schopflin hasn’t heard the term before this week, its definition reminded her of a client of hers from years ago.
“When I learned the definition of the term it instantly reminded me of a client numerous years ago, who jokingly told me in a session there was a pork chop at the bottom of every beer can,” Schopflin said. “That was the source of her nutrition, drinking. Once she started drinking, she would lose her appetite and she wouldn’t bother to have dinner. She would drink to intoxication and end up passing out before she ate dinner.”
Dude recognized the term drunkorexia, but she’s not seen situations regarding drunkorexic people.
“I’ve only heard a little about it, I don’t really know to what extent it happens,” Dude said. “I’ve only heard reference to it.”
Some students, like MU sophomore Sky Thomas, think there is a problem with alcohol abuse and college students.
“I think so because I think a lot of students drink for the purpose of getting drunk, not so much because they enjoy just having a drink with friends,” Thomas said.
Dude thinks all colleges have problems with alcohol abuse.
“I think that alcohol misuse and abuse is a problem on every single college campus out there,” she said. “But what I think is important to note is it’s not the majority of students.”
Dude said drinking alcohol is common among MU students, but not to the point where they become intoxicated or cause problems.
“Most students on this campus drink,” she said. “But of those that drink, most of them are only going out and having a few drinks. They’re not drinking to the point of intoxication. About 20 to 25 percent of our students drink quite a bit, but it’s also not every night. They occasionally go out and have too much to drink.”
Dude said students feel alcohol abuse can cause problems for everyone around them.
“When students misuse and abuse alcohol they’re not only causing problems for themselves but they’re causing problems for the people around them,” Dude said. “Whether it’s interrupting their sleep, interrupting their studies, vandalism, fights, assaults, all of those things can potentially happen.”
Dude said there are many negative consequences associated with abusing alcohol.
“The worst scenario is death from alcohol poisoning or an accident or a fall,” Dude said. “There’s also potential assault and rape consequences, there’s sexually transmitted disease consequences, unwanted pregnancy, lower grades, there’s a large number of negative consequences with abusing alcohol.”
The Wellness Resource Center educates students about how to make the best choices possible regarding alcohol so students don’t get to the extent of alcohol abuse, Dude said. The WRC also holds a lot of events during Alcohol Responsibility Month.
“We had a bunch of events during the month of October,” Dude said. “We have an excellent website. We do a lot of outreach programs out of our office, I have peer educators that go out and do programs in the residence halls and fraternities and sororities and classrooms. We have a resource library that has a lot of good information and we send out a lot of educational e-mails, like on MU Info. We do between 150 and 200 outlook programs a year, trying to educate our students to make good choices.”
Dude said students can call or visit the WRC or the Student Health Center if they feel they have a problem with alcohol.
Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug seen at the Family Counseling Center of Missouri, Schopflin said.
“Alcohol is still the number one drug that is abused,” Schopflin said. “You know, you have an increase in marijuana, you have an increase in meth, you have things that kind of ebb and flow, but alcohol is still the number one substance that is abused that we’re seeing.”
It is difficult for people to quit an addiction on their own, Schopflin said. There are a lot of resources in the community to help with it.
“There’s treatment, which works,” she said. “Going to individual sessions as well as group counseling, in tandem and then there’s 12-step programs, which are free to individuals. Those programs are pretty powerful in helping individuals with addiction.”