Binge eating disorder affects an estimated 2.8 million people in the United States, according to a national survey.

Binge drinking is most common among young adults aged 18-34 years, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 50 percent of people who binge and purge also abuse alcohol, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.

College students struggle with making a balance whenever it comes to food and alcohol. Many students find binging on food and alcohol a way to comfort.

“In many times, you see food or alcohol as a way to escape or to deal with something that is related to emotion,” the PSUC Chair Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Jorunn Gran-Henriksen said. “With alcohol, you are less self-critical, and it’s also the social part leading you to drink too much.”

She also said binge drinking can lead to bad consequence. For example, Gran-Henriksen said students can get themselves in trouble.

“When you are drunk, you are in higher risk of the situation that you are going to hurt somebody else or hurt yourself,” she said. “You are going to feel awful the next day and productive, not studying.”

Gran-Henriksen also said students should be careful because drinking too much can damage the whole bodies including the brain, the liver, the blood pressure and the increasing risk of having cancer.

“The biggest consequence of binge eating for everybody is gaining too much weight,” She said. “It can also develop bulimia or other eating disorders.”

Gran-Henriksen mentioned one of the reasons for binge eating is stress. She recommended students should find a different way to handling food.

It is no secret that college is stressful. Balancing among tests, projects, sports and social activities is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed.

“Exercises is one of the best ways to release stress, and so do talking to others and seeking help in necessary, at the Health Center for college students.” Gran-Henriksen said. “You can try to minimize that stress by not procrastinating anything and try some strategies to binge eating and drinking because it might become worse.

For binge drinking, she suggested students should try to set a limit, ask for support among friends when going out, drink slowly and not drink on an empty stomach.

“People tend to drink to have fun, loosen up and forget about underlying problems,” senior public relation major KahMun Lee said. “Body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem and difficulty coping with feelings can also be reasons why people binge eating.”

Junior human development and family relation majors Christine Nghe admitted she binges eating once in awhile, especially during during midterms or final weeks.

“I was really stressed out and I believe the only option I have is to eat and sleep.” She said. “The amount of weight I put on is very noticeable.”

Nghe suggested students should think over why they decide to binge on eating and drinking, either because they are bored or depressed.

Email Hilly Nguyen at fuse@cardinalpointsonline.com

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