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.