Eating Disorders: Resources to Help Students

09 Jun 2020

Most probably, you have heard of eating disorders since this problem is rather common among students. You may think that it should not concern you since you have a quality approach to food consumption. Let me surprise you; nobody is safe when it comes to the threat of eating disorders. The main point of this problem is that it exists on the psychological level. People tend to have distorted self-perception or experience psychological problems related to food consumption, which makes them accept unhealthy nutrition patterns. Potentially, such disorders can lead to severe health consequences, including even fatal outcomes. If you want to secure oneself from eating disorders, you should know more about such problems and resources that can help you cope with them. 

Eating Disorders among Students

Students compose one of the most significant risk groups when it comes to eating disorders. Over the period between 1998 and 2011, the percentage of college students with food-related problems on American campuses had grown from 7.9 percent to 25 percent for males, and from 23.4 percent to 32.6 percent for females. According to more recent estimations, around 40% of contemporary first-year college students already have signs of the discussed problems. When it comes to female students, this number can reach up to 80%. The primary reasons for this situation are the following:

  • high levels of stress associated with education;
  • increased responsibility for one's lives, which also increases the levels of stress;
  • the increased need for socialization, which makes students more concerned about their appearance;
  • social media creates a cult of an attractive appearance, which increases pressure on students. 

Types of Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a common type of eating disorder associated with a person's distorted image of oneself. Its symptoms are the following: 

  • a relentless pursuit of thinness;
  • considerable undereating caused by misconceptions of oneself;
  • excessive thinness, which is frequently denied by a person.

Resources:

NHS. This healthcare-oriented resource provides information on anorexia nervosa and useful methods for its treatment. 

Mayo Clinic. It is a website of a healthcare facility with significant experience in diagnosing and treating anorexia nervosa

ANAD. An association that informs people of anorexia nervosa and provide treatment for this condition. 

Eating Disorder Hope. An online resource, which also provides phone consultation on diverse eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa. 

Oliver-Pyatt Centers. This online resource provides pieces of advice to people whose friends or relatives suffer from anorexia nervosa.

NIH. A governmental resource that provides information about anorexia nervosa and suggests the approaches to psychological therapy. 

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is quite similar to anorexia nervosa eating disorder. It is based on the psychological rejection of one's weight, which makes people feel more significant stress associated when consuming food. In the case of bulimia, binge eating is followed by purging. 

Symptoms of bulimia are the following: 

  • inappropriate purging behaviour aimed at preventing weight gain;
  • a strong fear of gaining weight;
  • distorted perception of oneself be people having a normal weight. 

Resources: 

Bulimia.com. It is an online resource that provides specific information about bulimia. It also contains an option of telephone consultation. 

Priory. An online resource that allows getting in touch with professionals experienced in treating bulimia.

Neda. An interactive screening tool that allows people to detect their eating disorders, including bulimia. 

American Psychological Association. It is a website that provides comprehensive data about bulimia and sources of information on this eating disorder.

Helpguide. A medical website, which includes a comprehensive online material that provides information on the causes and outcomes of bulimia nervosa.

Psycom.This website presents relevant information on methods for treating diverse psychological disorders, including bulimia. 

Binge Eating Disorder

This problem is associated with eating immense amounts of food during a short period of time. The primary threat of this condition is that it can cause obesity or even diabetes. Typical symptoms of this disorder are the following: 

  • fast consumption of huge amounts of food without feeling hunger;
  •  lack of self-control in the process of binge eating;
  • no use of purging behaviours. 

Resources:

Healthline. This website, which contains the ideas on treating a wide range of health problems, provides tips on coping with binge eating disorder without outside assistance. 

Verywellmind. This health-promotional online resource provides tips on coping with diverse disorders. It includes a comprehensive material on addressing binge eating disorder. 

Eating Recovery Center. This website presents basic information on binge eating disorder and allows its users to schedule a free consultation on this topic. 

BreakBingeEating. It as an entire website dedicated to the question of binge eating disorder. 

Rosewood Ranch. It is a center for food-related problems that provides phone consultations and informs citizens of the threat of binge eating disorder.

Walden Behavioral Care. This online resource dedicated to behavioral care services allows you to request an online consultation addressing binge eating disorder.

Pica

Pica is an eating disorder in which people consume unusual things that are not considered food. The main symptom of pica is that a person starts consuming diverse non-food objects; for instance, ice, dirt, and chalk. This disorder can be found in pregnant women and children, or people suffering from significant levels of stress. 

Resources:

Newport Academy. This educational website contains a comprehensive material on pica and ways for its treatment. 

Medical News Today. This informative website dedicated to healthcare issues presents material on causes, threats, and methods for treating pica.  

Amy Boyers P.H.D. It is a personal medical website presents suggestions of an experienced healthcare professional on treating pica disorder and allows getting a professional consultation. 

Familydoctor.org. This popular medical website presents information on pica disorder in a comprehensive and accessible manner. 

Sante Center for Healing. This healthcare information resource presents relevant suggestions on treating pica eating disorder and offers the option of getting a consultation from experienced professionals. 

Doctor NDTV. This informative medical website contains a brief description of pica disorder, which can help one to identify this problem. 

Night Eating Syndrome

It is a rather common problem among students who can just lack time for adequate nutrition. Such health condition leads to sleep disorders and can cause digestion-related problems in students. Its main symptoms are the following: 

  • a strong need to eat in the evening or at night;
  • insomnia;
  • sleep disrupted by the urge to eat;
  • lack of appetite in the morning. 

Resources:

WebMD. This healthcare-oriented informative resource contains an article explaining the essence and the primary treats of night eating syndrome. 

Walden Behavioral Care. This online resource provides relevant information about night eating syndrome and offers contact information of experienced professionals who can assist with treating it.

Eating Recovery Center. A resource that specializes in dietary consultations. It presents a comprehensive description of the problem and provides an option of getting a consultation. 

Cleveland Clinic. The website of a clinic offers a brief description of the disorder and allows appointing a consultation with an experienced practitioner. 

Disorders.org. This resource focuses on treating eating disorders. It presents a brief yet comprehensive description of a problem. 

Mirror-Mirror. This website, dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders, presents informative materials about the discussed syndrome. 

How to Detect Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can differ significantly, but there are numerous physical and mental features that are common to the vast majority of such problems.

Physical:

  • Fluctuations of weight
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swelling feet
  • Low hormone levels
  • Dizziness
  • Drying of skin

Mental:

  • Anxiety about consuming food
  • Dissatisfaction with one's body weight
  • Avoiding certain foods in meals
  • Frequent dieting
  • Rapid shifts of mood
  • Skipping meals

Pica stays different from the majority of eating disorders in terms of its warning sign. Its main indicator is the desire to consume objects that are not considered to be food. As for physical signs of this problem, pica leads to intoxication notable for its accompanying properties. 

How to Improve the Health of Body and Soul

If you are afraid of eating disorders or even notice some warning signs, you should immediately start doing anything possible to improve your body's and soul's health. Relevant suggestions:

  1. sleep well;
  2. go in for sports; 
  3. meditate; 
  4. engage yourself in stress-reducing activities;
  5. spend less time with devices that may increase your levels of stress; 
  6. communicate more; 
  7. think more of your strengths and accept yourself as you are. 

Resources that Help with Eating Disorders

Campus Resources

  • A mental health professional. An essential point in terms of coping with an eating disorder is to visit a mental health professional that works on your campus. Most probably, this person already has the experience of treating students with such problems, and he or she will assist you as well.
  • Dietitian. Frequently, a person concerned with one's nutrition patterns requires to know a professional opinion to calm down. The best variant is to visit a dietitian who is likely to work on the campus. 
  • Dentist. Eating disorders are very likely to produce a negative effect on a person's teeth. It means that in order to be safe on this point, a student with such a problem should visit a dentist on campus. Such a professional will determine the impact of the discussed problems on dental health and develop a way of treating this problem. 
  • Community Clubs. You can join a specific club at your campus to ensure one's socialization and get attractive ways of engagement. Such an approach is relevant in terms of reducing the level of stress and distracting people from their food-related anxiety.
  • Gym. Gyms can be found on all campuses. Athletic activities in gyms can help people improve their health, both mental and physical, which is positive in coping with eating disorders. 

Online Resources

  1. Helpguide. This website contains comprehensive materials on treating diverse types of eating disorders. It provides essential information and includes links to other resources addressing the discussed problem. 
  2. Neda. This resource provides online consultation on eating disorders and contains a tool that helps to indicate such problems. Also, it includes an option to appoint professional real-life consultations. 
  3. American Psychiatric Organization. It is a website of a professional association of psychiatrists. Its primary benefit is an opportunity of finding an experienced psychiatrist who can assist in treating eating disorders. 
  4. Eating Disorders Hope. It is a website of an organization dedicated to treating eating disorders. It contains an option of getting phone consultations. There is also an opportunity to become a part of a treatment-based program addressing eating disorders. 
  5. Mayo Clinic. It is a website of a notable clinic specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. You can appoint an online consultation with an experienced professional on this website. 
  6. Center for Change. This organization provides treatment for diverse mental problems, including the ones that lead to eating disorders. It offers an individual approach to all clients and the assistance of high-class professionals. 
  7. UCSF Eating Disorders Program. It is a program offered by the University of California in San Francisco. A multidisciplinary team of practitioners offers a comprehensive treatment of the discussed conditions. This program is notable for its focus on students. 
  8. Balance Eating Disorder Treatment Center. It is one of America's best-rated organizations addressing eating disorders. It offers multiple services and provides relevant information about eating disorders and methods for coping with them. 
  9. Bring Change to Mind. It is an educational program that has a goal of raising awareness of mental health issues among high school students. It helps to shed light on a wide range of psychological problems, including the ones that lead to eating disorders. 
  10. The Emily Program. It is an online resource that provides links to a wide range of consultancy programs that help people with eating disorders.

Although eating disorders may seem to be something distant, you should never underestimate their threat. They are rather common problems among students because such people are exposed to high levels of stress. If you want to be prepared for such problems, you should distinguish types of eating disorders and know relevant resources addressing each of those types. It is also essential to remember useful tips on coping with food-related problems. Finally, you should bear in mind a list of resources, both campus-based and online, addressing the discussed problem. Only such an approach will make you secure when it comes to this frequently underestimated but a significant threat.