Sometimes it seems every event, game and tradition associated with drinking has first emerged on a college campus.

And why is that?

Because much more drinking goes on in college than outside of college, a good portion of it being irresponsible drinking.

Drunkorexia is a risky college drinking behavior in which a person restricts their calories, or doesn’t eat at all, to level off the calories that are in alcohol.

Others who engage in drunkorexia do it for the intensified high that comes from taking in alcohol with an empty stomach.

Though this type of substance abuse is garnering more attention on college campuses, what leads to drunkorexia is almost as concerning as the action itself. That is peer pressure.



Much in the same way that anorexia is a serious disease, drunkorexia is noted as having the same cause and result.

With drunkorexia, a person drinks but hardly eats. They know to do this since nearly every type of alcohol, from beer to hard drinks, contain many calories.

College researchers have found that students who engage in drunkorexia, do so due to peer pressure, and a need to be accepted.

What drives that peer pressure is, of course, the a-word: attractive.

College kids want to look attractive, especially to each other. And without a doubt, some groups and organizations, such as fraternities and sororities, as well as portions of the general student population, tend to rely on appearances for admission into their click.

And even as college students are accepted into these groups, the insistence that they keep up their drunkorexia behavior can have tremendous consequences on their schoolwork, not to mention their overall health.



Social acceptance has many levels within the cultures of today’s college campuses. And though as parents we may think the lion’s share of these reasons are shallow, to a college student, they have the potential to make or break their college experience.

Those reasons can include:

  • Friends who pressure them to restrict their eating and caloric intake so that they can remain within certain social circles.
  • Friends who seek to restrict their eating, yet encourage their drinking for a better, stronger buzz.
  • Drunkorexia helps students enjoy an overall party atmosphere.
  • It makes a social gathering more fun.
  • Drunkorexia allows a student to drink without feeling left out.
  • Being a drunkorexic can help eliminate the criticizing and teasing that comes from other students.
  • Drunkorexia enables a student to get a stronger buzz when they do drink.



Researchers, such as Rose Marie Ward, PhD, of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, found three parts to food-restricting behavior:

  1. Before partying:College students restrict eating to avoid extra calories when they drink. 
  2. During partying:Students may try to restrict calories by going for light beer or taking shots to minimize the total calories consumed.
  3. After partying:Ward states that following a drinking event, students who’ve restricted food calories to make way for drinking calories often over-exercise, throw up or avoid eating altogether if they feel they failed to restrict enough calories pre-partying or while drinking.



The dangers of drunkorexia are quite apparent. Not only is your college student not eating properly (by hardly eating at all), they also risk becoming addicted to alcohol.

College students who supplant drinking for their nutrition can also engage in risky behavior – if they don’t already engage in risky behavior – that could affect their college career to a point where they are thrown out of school.

Fortunately, drunkorexia doesn’t affect most college students. Yet research shows that 18% of U.S. college students exhibit habits associated with drunkorexia. Other studies estimate the number of students affected at 14% of first-year students and 39% of all college students among those who drank in the past 30 days.



College is a freeing time for most young adults. College life gives one the opportunity to learn and experience new ways of thinking, socializing and living.

College life is not for partying or seeing who can get the most drunk. And a club, group or organization whose entry depends upon how a person looks on top of how much they drink, is hardly worth the long-term damage.

Impress upon your undergraduate that true acceptance is based on personality, intelligence and one’s own acceptance of others.

These are three traits that through life will serve a person much more satisfactorily than not eating to get drunk, then potentially sick, all due to peer pressure.


If you feel alcohol and/or drugs is causing a block between yourself and your loved ones, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers, we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. We specialize in programs that include alcohol and drug detox and recovery, intensive outpatient rehabilitation, and specialty curriculums for members of the LGBTQ+ society. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.


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What Is Drunkorexia? The Risky Low-Cal College Diet