Eating Disorders on Campus and Treatment Resources

Going away to college represents a stressful and difficult time in the lives of many students. When the pressure of meeting new people, facing academic challenges, and balancing extracurricular activities and employment becomes too much, men and women cope in various different ways.

Whether an eating disorder develops before or after a student enters a university, the consequences to his or her health and academic performance can be dire. Understanding the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for various disorders helps students and their friends avoid these negative effects.

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What Are Eating Disorders, and How Prevalent Are They On Campus?

An eating disorder is a condition in which an individual involuntarily eschews healthy eating behaviors, whether by eating too little (anorexia), binging and purging (bulimia), or other harmful behaviors. Signs a person is suffering from an eating disorder include:

  • An unrealistically negative or distorted image of one’s body
  • Obsessive thoughts about food or exercise
  • Compulsive dieting or working out
  • Avoidance of eating around other people
  • Immediate retreat to a bathroom after meals
  • Refusing to eat or claiming one isn’t hungry at meal times

Such behaviors present significant dangers to individuals, including unhealthy weight loss, heart problems, hair and tooth enamel loss, and death. With 10-20% of women and 4-10% of men experiencing one or more of these symptoms, college campuses are experiencing an upswing in the need for resources.

Where College Students Turn for Eating Disorder Treatment

Students facing anorexia, bulimia, or other disorders often have trouble knowing where to turn for help with their conditions. Although most colleges and universities offer counseling services, such departments may lack the resources to address such issues adequately. Other limitations to seeking treatment include:

  • Reluctance to give up disordered behaviors
  • Fear of being “found out” by peers
  • Unawareness of or inability to articulate their condition
  • Not knowing about the school’s treatment resources

Fortunately, a growing number of facilities and practitioners are available – both on campus and off – to help guide patients towards recovery.

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Getting Help for an Eating Disorder

If you or a loved one are facing an eating disorder, you are not alone. Seeking treatment is a brave and powerful step toward recovering from this condition and reclaiming your health.

At Bridges to Recovery, we recognize our patients come from various walks of life and have myriad demands on their time and energy. Our two-pronged methodology combines inpatient therapy sessions with eating and exercise behavior modification techniques to help patients address the causes and effects of eating disorders.

We look forward to working with you to restore your mental and physical wellbeing. Contact us today to begin your journey.