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ALBANY -- A dangerous trend among young adults is now on the radar of doctors. They say, what starts as a way to cut back on calories can turn into something much more dangerous.
"They're trying to be more conscious of the calories that they take in, but they still want to go out and party,"says Kiki Vassilakis.
Vassilakis is referring to something doctors are calling "Drunkorexia," or not eating then binge drinking on an empty stomach. She says she saw her friends do it all too often.
"It's very image based and people get very vain. If you go out you don't want to feel bloated because you're trying to impress somebody. Wherever you're going you want to be the thinnest," she says.
What starts as a way to have fun with friends without the added calories, can turn into a much worse condition.
"People have eating disorders, tend to have a high chance of having a substance abuse problem, or alcohol problem, and if you are doing this without having an eating disorder you could potentially be fueling one," says Dr. John Janikas, director of Emergency Medicine at Samaritan Hospital.
The numbers are staggering. According to the University of Texas at Austin, 30% of women between the ages of 18 and 23 diet so they can drink. It's a number that has Dr. Janikas concerned.
"Women are built differently. They don't have the same enzymes to metabolize alcohol. So now they have an empty stomach, they are ingesting a lot of alcohol, and it really puts them at a higher risk for black outs, unprotected sex, and sets them up for sexual assault," he says.
"They weren't eating so there was nothing soaking up the alcohol, so they would get a little bit drunker and quicker than the rest of us," adds Vassilakis.
Just one night of this behavior he says can lead to black out episodes, trauma, and can heavily damage the stomach.
"Heavy alcohol intake can cause what's called alcoholic gastritis, which irritates the stomach lining. You can also cause inflammation of the liver. It can also inflame the pancreas and get pancreatitis," he says.
Experts warn that having what can be an uncomfortable conversation is the best way to prevent this behavior, before a night out, turns into tragedy.