Tag: Eating Disorders

suffering from an eating disorder

University Life: The Impact of Eating Disorders on College Students

College can be tough for some students. Apart from dealing with all the requirements of their course, they also face challenges that they may choose to keep to themselves. This struggle often leads to complications, like eating disorders, that affect their overall wellbeing.

Unhealthy eating habits can lead to serious health problems, such as nerve damage, multi-organ failure, and bone loss, among others. Although treatments for people with bulimia and anorexia exist, it’s critical to first determine the reasons behind the eating disorder.

Eating Disorders are Common in College

Statistics show that about 30 million Americans may deal with a type of eating disorder, such as binge-eating, anorexia, and bulimia, at some point in their life. Anyone can have an eating disorder, regardless of age and gender.

Researchers explain that eating problems are likely to occur or worsen during the college years. A survey shows that 10 percent of college students have an eating disorder. Social pressure to make friends, get involved in a romantic relationship, and fear of gaining weight are some factors that can trigger the development of such conditions.

Although several factors can cause eating disorders, a negative body image is a major contributor to this problem. Some individuals would develop unhealthy habits, such as vomiting, improper use of laxatives, and excessive exercise, to avoid gaining weight.

Diminishing Personal Relationships

An eating disorder usually develops due to underlying emotional or psychiatric issues, which in some cases, are not rooted in the desire to lose weight. This can be a coping strategy for dealing with the issues some people find difficult to face.

Apart from peer pressure, major life changes trigger the development of unhealthy eating habits among college students. As the eating disorder progresses, it compromises the patient’s relationship with their loved ones.

You may feel hopeless in thinking that you can’t help a loved one recover from an eating disorder. People facing this condition tend to isolate themselves and avoid social interactions, especially with their loved ones. Eating disorders can feed people with negative thoughts and behaviors that can ruin relationships.

Helping College Students Recover

An eating disorder is a serious condition that needs an immediate solution. Some students, however, don’t undergo treatment for several reasons. These include:

  • They don’t know they have an eating disorder
  • They feel embarrassed about their condition
  • They are not aware of treatment options

Recovering from an eating disorder can be different for individuals. But it is essential for every person struggling with this condition to feel safe in a supportive and loving environment. You can help a loved one by recognizing the signs of eating disorders and then gently expressing your concern for their wellbeing.

Listen. Understand. And support the person through their struggle. You can also suggest they speak with a counselor.

Here at the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health, we offer therapies, like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, to help people recover from eating disorders. Our team of psychiatrists provides a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment to manage the condition better.

We practice a holistic approach to mental health where we guide individuals in understanding unpleasant feelings without judgment. These techniques can help them develop strong coping strategies against their condition.

Contact us today to know more about our programs.

a woman by the field

The Mental & Biological Causes of Bulimia and Eating Disorders

A person diagnosed with bulimia (or bulimia nervosa) faces potentially life-threatening mental and physical risks, if not treated appropriately. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, only 1 percent of women and 0.1 percent of men in the United States have bulimia, but researchers dispute this as the real figure; like other mental health disorders, many choose to keep their condition a secret.

Bulimia stems from both mental and biological factors. If you or a loved one shows signs of bulimia, seek immediate medical attention to help treat the condition and prevent further damage to you or your loved one’s body and mind. Some of the symptoms listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 include:

  • Evidence of recurring episodes of binge eating (e.g., large amounts of food disappearing)
  • Evidence of purging and inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain (e.g., induced vomiting, laxatives, fasting, excessive exercise)
  • Uncomfortable eating around others, fear of eating in public
  • Stained teeth
  • Drastic weight changes
  • Self-injury, substance abuse, and other signs seen in mental health conditions

Different studies have found many causes related to bulimia, which stretches to both one’s physical and psychological health.

Emotional Stress & Mental Health

There is no specific mental cause for bulimia; one of the usual reasons is it is a coping method for emotional stress. Although it starts as a coping method, it quickly develops into an uncontrollable habit. Often, bulimia appears in a person along with other mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and others.

Body Image and External Factors

Many people find an irrational fear of weight gain and, as such, perform dangerous methods to avoid food intake and weight gain. Research has shown that environmental factors such as the media and fashion industry’s portrayal of beauty as well as sports or other sectors that emphasize weight loss affects one’s body image. However, while bulimia is linked to the fear of becoming overweight, researchers found it is more related to emotional and mental health.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not always about one’s body image. Bulimia also stems from external problems. Problems such as within one’s family trigger some patients to develop bulimia, which is why studies have found involving parents in adolescent bulimia treatment are far more effective than treatment where the patient alone undergoes therapy.

Genetic Inheritance

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bulimia and other mental disorders seem to have a hereditary factor, as it occurs within families in between generations. Studies have not sufficiently proven if this is the work of people’s genetics or because of their shared environment, and it is a study worth investigating in the future.

Regardless of the cause, patients who have bulimia are at risk of several mental and physical disorders, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. Diagnosis is difficult because some people choose to hide their condition and symptoms. However, if they spot such symptoms, they should seek immediate care for their physical and mental state. The Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Health offers bulimia treatment in Westport that addresses the symptoms of the eating disorders, as well as their possible triggers.

Click here to learn more about eating disorders and their treatment today.