It’s not uncommon for college students to gain and lose weight due to stress, new diet, and partying—but sometimes getting back on track may not be possible because the condition is more extreme.
Eating disorders are defined as any psychological disorder involving a drastic change in eating habits. Some cause weight loss and some cause weight gain. It’s important to be aware of both sides of the spectrum and to realize that eating disorders can happen to anyone, not just young women.
Here are some of the common disorders.
When a person deliberately avoids eating in the hope of losing weight, they could be suffering from anorexia. It can be life threatening if not treated in time and can have lasting damage.
Binge Eating happens when a person quickly consumes a large amount of food in a short period of time. This behavior can be hard to break, and those suffering from it may feel a compulsion to continue, as if they are not in control of their actions.
When binge eating is taken a step further, what’s overeaten is vomited up—the disorder is called bulimia. This is very dangerous and can damage internal organs.
While not as commonly known, orthorexia is still harmful. It’s become trendy to be “very healthy” and to eat organic food. However, if a person becomes obsessed, it can lead to this disorder. This is when the individual feels compelled to only eat foods they perceive as “healthy.” Often this doesn’t provide variety or enough calories.
There are no quick fixes for eating disorders, but becoming aware is the first step to recovery. If you think that you or someone you love may be suffering, these are some ways to reach out for help. But remember, a person can only seek help when they’re ready to admit there’s a problem.
Contact the National Eating Disorders foundation. This organization can answer your questions and set up someone for you to talk to, either through the website or on the phone.
Find a local support group to help cope. Reaching out to others can help those who are afflicted realize that they are not alone, and that others have recovered from the same problems.
Find local treatment centers near you. They can offer comprehensive programs for patients and family members with a variety of counseling alternatives.
Written by Allison Perrine