Many college students struggle in their relationship with food. At times, that relationship can become destructive and dangerous. There are many types of troubled eating behaviors. Among the most common are:
Anorexia (also called Anorexia Nervosa) is characterized by low weight due to restrictive eating and/or purging and an intense fear of being "fat."
Bulimia (also called Bulimia Nervosa) typically refers to binge-eating (eating large amounts of food, well beyond what would be considered necessary) followed by compensatory weight-loss behaviors, such as purging (e.g., self-induced vomiting, diuretic or laxative abuse) or restricting, excessive exercise, as well as others.
Binge Eating Disorder (sometimes called Compulsive Eating) is characterized by repeated periods of impulsive gorging or continuous eating without regular compensatory behaviors (i.e. no purging, restricting, or exercise).
If you are concerned about a friend, family member, or yourself, here are some signs to look for:
- An obvious increase or decrease in weight not related to a medical condition;
- Abnormal eating habits such as severe dieting, ritualized mealtime behaviors, fear of dietary fat, secretive binge eating, or lying about food;
- An intense preoccupation with weight and body image;
- Mood swings, depression, irritability
- Compulsive or excessive exercising, especially without adequate nutritional intake or when injured or ill
- Thinning hair or hair that is falling out
There are many students who recognize their eating behaviors are not healthy, but they are concerned about being judged, misunderstood, or ridiculed. The caring professionals at the University Counseling Center are sensitive to these concerns. Here is what you can expect when you come to the counseling center:
- An initial assessment with a counselor to determine if there is an eating disorder
- Weekly outpatient therapy appointments (when appropriate)
- Possible referral to dietician
- Possible referral to physician
- When necessary, referral to community resources for more intensive treatment that may include intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization or inpatient treatment
- If you would like to schedule an appointment, please click here for instructions
We have positive working relationships with several, local treatment providers who have specializations in treating eating disorders. You are welcome to contact these centers directly. At times, we make direct referrals to them based on our initial assessment.
- McCallum Place
- Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute - Eating Disorders Program
- Castlewood Treatment Center
Helpful Resources for additional information
- National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)
- Something Fishy
- Missouri Eating Disorder Treatment
- National Institute of Mental Health
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
- Multiservice Eating Disorder Association (MEDA)
- Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center