Going to college, going to an eating disorder?

Dr. Kenneth L. Weighner, M.D. stated that, “The two major life transitions that most commonly contribute to the onset of an eating disorder are puberty and leaving for college.”

The time to start or go back to college is quickly approaching.  This also means that the time for change is just around the corner.  This can be both an exciting and stressful time in a student’s life.  There is the anticipation and pressure of a new environment, friends and classes.  Some students will take on the responsibility of being on their own for the first time ever.  These new changes can be extremely stressful and bring forth many different emotions.

To avoid dealing with the feeling of stress or anxiety students may turn to an eating disorder as a way to gain control in their lives.  Instead of focusing on all of the homework and studying that needs to be completed they might spend their attention on counting calories or restricting foods.

Students are made very aware of the rumored and feared “freshman 15” that could potentially be gained in college.  Trying to avoid the “freshman 15” can also be another trigger for eating disorder behaviors.  In an effort to ensure that weight gain does not occur students may start participating in eating disordered practices such as excessively exercising.

Be mindful of eating disorder behaviors in students.  Examples of behaviors include avoiding eating with people, restricting certain foods, dressing in loose clothing, excessive exercise or frequent trips to the restroom, especially after eating.  Do not be afraid to address these behaviors.  If you or a loved one is in need of treatment for an eating disorder visit our website www.reconnectwithfood.com for more information or call our office at (248) 336-2868.

Statistics from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

• 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always”.

• 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique.

• In a survey of 185 female students on a college campus, 58% felt pressure to be a certain weight, and of the 83% that dieted for weight loss, 44% were of normal weight.


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