Are you or a friend concerned about Disordered Eating? Speak with your health care provider - or call a Health Educator at 858-534-2419.
At Student Health Services, we have a social worker, psychiatrist, nutritionist and several primary care providers with experience assisting students who have disordered eating. We work closely with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which has several psychologists who are very knowledgeable about eating disorders.
We coordinate with CAPS staff to refer students to providers in the community who have special expertise with these problems. However, depending on the severity of the disorder, we may be able to provide some or all of your care on campus.
How to Determine if You Have a Problem
Most people go on diets or overeat once in a while. If you think your eating is out of control or that food is playing too big a part in your life, use the questions below to help evaluate your behavior and understand potential problems.
Answer yes or no to the following:
- I constantly think about eating, weight and body size.
- I become anxious before eating.
- I am afraid of becoming overweight.
- I like my stomach to be empty.
- I have gone on eating binges where I felt I might not be able to stop.
- I often feel bloated or uncomfortable after meals.
- I spend a lot of time daydreaming about food.
- I weigh myself several times each day.
- I think about burning calories when I exercise, exercise too much, or get very rigid about my exercise plan.
- I believe that being in control of food shows others that I can control myself.
- I have taken laxatives or forced myself to vomit after eating.
- I eat diet foods.
- I feel extremely guilty after eating.
- I eat when I am nervous, anxious, lonely or depressed.
- I am preoccupied with the thought of having fat on my body.
- Other people think I am too thin.
Look at how you answered - if you think your eating habits are making you sick or just keeping you from enjoying life, it may be time to make some changes. Keep in mind, however, that the way we use food comes from cultural heritage, psychological makeup, and years of habits. Take it easy and get support. Changing habits is always difficult.
Counselors, health practitioners, dietitians, nutritionists, and other professionals can give you the emotional strength you need to change. Contact Student Health Services 858-534-8089 to make an appointment with a physician or dietitian, or call Counseling and Psychological Services 858-534-3755 to speak with a counselor.
Helping a Friend
If you feel a friend may have an eating disorder, here are some helpful suggestions:
- Talk about your concerns with a professional first.
Prepare yourself with reliable information. Learn about eating disorders and find out what resources are available on campus and in the community.
- Talk with your friend.
Find a quiet time when you will not be distracted or interrupted. Focus on your concerns about your friend's health, not their appearance or weight. Speak in confidence and keep it informal. Tell your friend how this is affecting your friendship. Share the information you have learned about resources that can help.
- Understand that your help may be rejected.
Often people with eating disorders deny they have a problem because they're afraid to admit they're out of control. Don't take this rejection personally, but try to end the conversation in a way that will allow you to come back to the subject at a later time.
- Know when to back off.
If you sense you're getting angry or impatient with the discussion, back off. And try not to take on the role of counselor or "food monitor" - that would be inappropriate.