Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Eating disorders are characterized by extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors surrounding food and body image. Eating disorders do not impact women alone and can have life-threatening effects on both men and women.

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder are three clinically-defined eating disorders with mental and physical problems. Signs of an eating disorder can include; intense fear of weight gain, extreme concern with body weight and shape, periods of starvation, negative body image, frequent binging with feelings of being out of control followed by purging through fasting, laxative abuse and overexercising

If you suspect a friend or roommate may have an eating disorder, it is important to share your concerns with them directly, calmly, and with sincerity. Michelle Roling, Clinical Care Coordinator at Student Counseling Services, suggests using phrases such as “I’m concerned about you because you haven’t been around lately. I notice that whenever other people are eating, you get quiet and you haven’t been eating with us.”

Roling also suggests offering to walk with them to Student Counseling Services where they can talk with a therapist.

“Eating disorders are a lonely disease. Often [people] are struggling in silence for a long time. I hope that during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week those struggling on campus, men and women, will feel supported and encouraged to reach out and take the first steps toward recovery … talking about their struggle with someone they trust,” said Roling.