How Stressors Can Contribute to Eating Disorders in College Students
Eating disorders frequently manifest during the college years, typically between the ages of 18 and 21. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, a significant portion of college students, approximately 10 to 20% of women and 4 to 10% of men grapple with these disorders.
Lauren Reisman, Clinical Director at Eating Disorder Solutions, highlights that a combination of challenges specific to college life and underlying mental health issues creates an ideal environment for the emergence of eating disorders, with anorexia and bulimia being the most common ones.
Throughout their college journey, students encounter factors that contribute to this perfect storm, including an increased academic workload, a less structured routine, and a heightened emphasis on social interactions with peers. These circumstances can amplify existing anxiety, learning difficulties, and low self-esteem. The transitional nature of college life, marked by significant changes and stressful periods, further elevates the vulnerability to eating disorders in college students.
Among the multitude of influences on college students’ eating habits, the following factors play a role:
- More independence
- Limited access to affordable healthy foods
- Lack of knowledge of nutrition
- Less participation in organized sports, which leads to less exercise
- Social factors
- Busy schedules
- Lack of parental control/influence over diet
“College life, adjusting to a new social context, and managing independent living can trigger re-emerging anxiety or, in some cases, a new mental illness,” says Bryan Pickryl, COO, at Eating Disorder Solutions. “Many factors can drive a vulnerable individual into an eating disorder if you suffer from anxiety, are in a social environment, or constantly see thin body ideals.”
Although eating disorders are more prevalent in females than males, the prevalence among males has increased over time. The problem affects approximately 10% to 20% of females and approximately 4% to 10% of male college students. College students who experience eating disorders can suffer life-threatening consequences. “The stigma of eating disorders is woefully underreported,” according to Lauren Reisman. “These are not just extreme diets; they are real medical illnesses.”
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Request a free consultation from an Eating Disorder Coordinator.
Where Do I Start?
Take action and reach out for help.
If you find yourself struggling, it is essential to reach out and inform those around you. Opening up about mental health may feel daunting, but confiding in a trusted friend, family member, or advisor can provide crucial support. They can assist you in determining the most appropriate course of action. They can also help you connect with healthcare professionals, explore available options, or simply lend an empathetic ear when needed.
Get in touch with your university.
Make contact with the support systems available on your campus. This includes academic or residential advisors as well as counseling centers. Familiarize yourself with the mental health services provided by your university, such as potential adjustments to your class schedule and on-campus counseling services that can aid in your recovery journey. There are often resources available specifically to address eating disorders among college students.
Put your focus on recovery.
College presents opportunities for personal growth, learning, and building relationships. However, it can also be a time filled with high stress and mental health challenges that can lead to eating disorders among college students. By placing emphasis on your mental health and practicing self-care, you can enhance your overall college experience and well-being. Remember to prioritize your recovery and engage in activities that promote your mental wellness. By doing this we can hopefully reduce the amount of eating disorders in college students.
Eating Disorder Solutions Can Help You Balance School and Treatment:
It is easy to become debilitated by academic stress and anxiety, especially when trying to manage an eating disorder. Our priority: Make treatment realistic for you so that you can come immediately and stay as long as you need in your recovery. Our accommodations are very individualized and allow clients to take their recovery into their own hands.
Flexible treatment options for college students with eating disorders:
- Customized accommodations tailored to individual needs:
- Recognizing that each person’s recovery journey is unique, we maintain a flexible approach, providing accommodations on a case-by-case basis. We understand the importance of personalization in ensuring effective treatment.
- Access to online classes and computer resources:
- Apart from scheduled mealtimes, therapy sessions, one-on-one interactions, and therapeutic outings, clients are granted a dedicated hour and a half each day for computer access and participation in online classes. This allows college students to continue their academic pursuits while receiving the necessary support for their recovery.
- Accommodations for specific meeting times:
- If a client’s professor or academic obligations require meeting at specific times, we make arrangements to accommodate those needs. Our aim is to ensure that clients understand that they are not limited to a few designated times during the day for working on their academic responsibilities. We are committed to providing the flexibility necessary for academic success.
- Provision of computer equipment:
- To facilitate seamless academic engagement, we offer computers, desktops, and laptops. While clients are welcome to bring their own laptops, we ensure that suitable equipment is available if needed.
- Comfortable and conducive workspace:
- We strive to create a comfortable and quiet environment where clients can work on their academic tasks. This may include providing dedicated spaces such as offices or bedrooms, designed to promote concentration and productivity.
Keep in mind:
The clinical team at Eating Disorder Solutions is willing to make accommodations based on individual situations, but criteria must be met regarding insurance coverage for treatment. To meet the criteria for insurance, the following is required for each level of care:
- PHP: 6 hours of treatment per day
- Residential: 1-3 hours of treatment per day
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What We Offer:
Expert clinicians and comprehensive care
Our team of compassionate practitioners provides clients with world-class treatment, including one-on-one treatments with licensed clinicians at the master’s level. We have a low client-to-staff ratio and are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
At Eating Disorder Solutions, we treat eating disorders spanning the entire spectrum, such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and other disordered eating behaviors and body image issues. With a range of services, from residential eating disorder treatment to outpatient programs, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of each individual client. Every step of the way, we offer guidance and support from our team of experienced physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, dietitians, and recovery coaches.
Location easily accessible from anywhere in the U.S.
Eating Disorder Solutions is centrally located in Weatherford and Dallas, Texas. With two airports – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field – our center is easily accessible via a direct flight from most parts of the country.
Helpful and healing amenities
Within our homelike setting surrounded by acres of land, you’ll find everything you need to feel safe and comfortable. Well-appointed rooms are furnished with flat-screen TVs and high-quality linens. Our onsite chef prepares healthy and delicious meals with the freshest ingredients to rejuvenate your body, working with our registered dietician. You can participate in guided wellness programs like yoga or enjoy easy and calming hikes on our walking trails. It’s the perfect environment to relax and recover privately and confidentially.
We understand the importance of your academics and how quickly you want to return to your daily routine. Our treatment team will provide the most effective recovery plan and help you develop a re-entry strategy to return to school. We maintain complete confidentiality and can help you recover in a safe, comfortable, and discreet environment.
Start your recovery today.
In the event that treatment is delayed too much, eating disorders can irreversibly damage your future plans and health. Get the professional care you deserve to get your collegiate journey and life back on track. Contact us at 855-808-4213 for a confidential conversation about your situation.