College and Eating Disorders

College and Eating DisordersTwo common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia. If patients avoid treating these disorders, they may cause massive physiological and mental harm. Women are far more likely than men to develop eating disorders, and people are at higher risks during transitional times in life. College life can engender eating disorders through the anxiety associated of leaving home, on top of the feelings of loneliness and body image concerns.

How Eating Disorders Work

People suffering from anorexia develop highly irrational impressions of their body image. A deep fear of weight gain causes people with this disease to starve themselves. They may abuse diet pills or other medications to manage their appetite. Eventually they will reprogram their minds around the disease, making it nearly impossible for them to eat anything resembling a normal meal. Even as they waste away, they cannot see that they have a problem, and will deny that they need help.

People suffering from bulimia frequently binge on food and then purge it through forced vomiting or by abusing laxatives. Their bodies are unable to absorb the proper nutrition and they are likely to become either malnourished or overweight. Many patients with bulimia develop serious gastrointestinal damage from frequent vomiting. This disease can also erode tooth enamel from the regular presence of stomach acid.

Anorexia and bulimia can result from disrupted brain chemistry, which rewards certain behaviors with boosts of various, natural chemicals. This process supports healthy habits such as the motivation to exercise, a desire to eat and drink, the ability to sleep soundly and even long-term relational bonding. But, when this system becomes unbalanced, the result can be a variety of addictions or compulsions. Anorexics and bulimics are essentially addicted to the psychological responses to their harmful behaviors. These disorders function in a part of the brain that is far more influential than rational thought.

Help for College Students with Eating Disorders

Successful recovery from eating disorders often requires some combination of the following treatment methods:

  • Personal counseling
  • Support group meetings
  • Education
  • Spiritual and emotional support
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medical and vitamin support
  • Regular accountability for eating

People with eating disorders have a much higher risk of developing depression and anxiety disorders as well as substance abuse and addictions. Transitioning to college life can make these risks even worse. There may not be any friends or parents around who would recognize the signs and intervene.

If you are not eating properly and feel compelled to either starve yourself or binge and purge, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right away. Our counselors are always ready for your call and can connect you with the best possible treatment programs available. Don’t wait another day to seek help.