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Eating Disorders College Students Should Be Aware Of

College life is one of the most exciting times in a student’s life. You get the chance to meet new people, experience life in a new environment, and start exploring the world away from your childhood home. But with the sudden change comes the stress every student should deal with. 

This is where the problem arises. College students tend to cope with stress differently. But what is most common for students is the change in their eating habits.

Why Are College Students More Affected?

According to the National Eating Disorder Association or NEDA, between 10-20% of college women and 4-10% of college men suffer from an eating disorder. College students are more susceptible to this due to the environment they are dealing with. 

The additional workload, the new peers, and their need to fit in play a huge role in why college students suffer from such disorders. Another factor that could contribute to it is the existence of social media. You see, beauty is often personified as someone thin, and social acceptance has revolved around this ideology. Most students idolized these thin and slender personalities that they tend to copy their lifestyle and figures.

What Are The Different Types of Eating Disorders?

There are various types of eating disorders a student should understand. 

We have Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, and Disordered Eating. 

Anorexia is a condition wherein a person restricts their calorie intake. Hence, they could not sustain a healthy body weight. Nine out of 1000 females, while 3 out of 1000 males usually suffer from this condition. 

Another type of disorder is Bulimia. Bulimia is when a person binge eats or eats a lot, then purges it out of their system. Fifteen out of 1000 females, while 5 out of 1000 males are considered Bulimic. 

Binge eating, as the term implies, is when a person starts “stress eating.” But unlike a Bulimic person, they do not purge their meal and simply eats. 

The last type of eating disorder, which is considered uncommon among the four, is what you call Disordered Eating. This is also known as “fad dieting,” wherein a person tries to restrict their fats, dairy, and gluten intake. 

Is Eating Disorder Something We Should Worry About?

The answer is a definite Yes! 

Regardless of whatever condition a student has, all of these are not good for the body. It affects not only their physical but their mental state. In fact, it can even target the reproductive system. 

It is not a choice. It’s an illness. 

According to statistics, 30M people suffer from an eating disorder, and that is in the US alone. It also has the highest mortality rate compared to any mental illness.

Dealing With Sudden Change of Environment

The pressure of society is somewhat overwhelming, especially for a college student who is just beginning their transition to adult life. If you know someone who’s suffering from an eating disorder, do what you can to help them.

Let them know that there are other ways to cope up with stress. They can engage themselves in extracurricular activities, go into sports, go painting, do dancing – things that they would benefit from. 

Also, they have to keep in mind that they don’t have to be thin to become beautiful. Beauty results from the way they handle themselves, regardless of appearance or size. They don’t have to change the way they look to be accepted by society. There are people who are willing to accept them just the way they are. Remind them that they don’t have to please everyone. 

Professional Help for Eating Disorders

Most universities today have established counseling centers that help people with such conditions. They offer psychological, medical, and nutritional counseling to those who seek their help. 

However, there are still students who do not want to be treated. Some are still in denial and are extremely concerned about what other people might think about them.  In other cases, they don’t get treatment because they feel embarrassed, lack resources, and simply have no knowledge of what to do.  We need to support and help them so they could recover from the situation. 

There are institutions that have open hotlines, and they are more than happy to help the person in need. Help them reach out to these groups before it is too late. 

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