Many studies show that problems with eating disorders are much more common among college students compared to the general population.
Many studies show that the excess of the standard norm of eating disorders among students is 20-30 percent, compared with other national sections of the population.
It may seem like a small number, but in fact, there are hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from rather complex disorders that manifest themselves both on a physical and psychological level.
They can not only worsen the quality of life and health, but even cost a person's life.
Therefore, the study of the reasons for such an excess of the percentage of eating disorders is very important in order to find student specific ways out of this situation.
Eating disorders have very serious consequences, such as malnutrition, organ damage and, even in some cases, death.
Eating problems affect mental health, the ability to participate effectively in social groups, academic performance, and overall quality of life.
It is very significant to track these symptoms both at the small college level and at the national level.
Today we will talk about where this problem often comes from and how to communicate with people who have this problem, or you think they have it.
Factors Causing Eating Disorders Among Students
There are many causes of eating disorders among students and other populations.
We won’t be able to talk about them all, but we will definitely talk about the most frequent, common and those that statistically have the greatest effect.
Perhaps you will see among this list how you eat, your friends or relatives and so on. Some of these factors can be eliminated, some you just need to be aware of, understand their possible impact and minimize the risk of their impact on your life.
Stress and excessive pressure
College is a very stressful environment and students constantly say they are under a lot of pressure, both academic and social.
You have to study hard and be social at the same time, and many students look for a side hustle to make money.
All this stress triggers the coping mechanism, and one such coping mechanism is under-eating, or over-eating, or over-concern about what you eat, which can manifest itself through orthorexia.
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Appearance Based Pressure
In our culture, especially when it comes to young people who want to be part of a community, it is very important to look a certain way, and in order to look good in certain clothes and a certain image, people often go on very strict diets, then break they overeat, and getting into this cycle, they often develop eating disorders.
Difficult Transition Period
College is a big change compared to all the previous life that students had before.
Many students move away from home, meet new people, make new friends, and deal with new responsibilities such as complex food preparation, meal planning, budget planning, and finding the nearest laundry.
For many, these changes are too strong, they are looking for protection, a refugee in comfort food.
Unfortunately, there is a certain genetic component in eating disorders that you cannot change, remove, or influence in any way.
You can only find out about it by doing certain genetic tests. And understand that you have a predisposition to problems with eating disorders, and in case you think that something is going wrong, you should consult a doctor, a psychologist, a nutritionist, and the like.
If you have a genetic disorder in this particular area, then what other people may be completely innocent of, for example, going on strict diets, can provoke eating disorders in you, so getting information about your genetics is very important.
How to Communicate with Students Who Have Eating Disorders
You must first understand that eating disorders are a psychological issue that must be treated very sensitively and with great care.
Restrain yourself not to make any assumptions and not to judge yourself, not to make any assumptions and not to judge people, because you do not know what exactly provoked this situation, and you are not in the place of this person, you are not an expert, and therefore your advice can only make things worse.
Practice active listening, which means giving the person a chance to talk about how they feel about the issue before you start commenting and giving advice.
Often a huge issue for students with eating disorders is the constant feeling of shame, which provokes them to overeat or undereat even more, depending on the type of eating disorder.
If you validate their feelings, if you do not show that you are judging them, then it is much easier for them to deal with this concern.
Help them to believe that professional help can really help. As we have already said, a lot for these people depends on their sense of shame in relation to their actions, and it is difficult for them to turn to a specialist, because they will have to tell everything.
Find and tell them general examples of how therapy and nutritionists have actually helped students with eating disorders get back to normal life.
Acknowledge that this is indeed a disease and show that you understand that this is a really serious difficulty that can be dealt with the help of specialists.
And there is nothing uncomfortable here when it comes to returning to normal life.
One of the reasons why college students with eating disorders do not go to specialists is because they believe that their issue is insignificant compared to the real problems of many people, and if they turn, they will be laughed at, or their environment will treat them.
Dismissively. Therefore, focus on actually helping, and not on becoming such an environment in the eyes of young people with eating disorders.