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How an Eating Disorder Can Affect Your College Years

young woman sitting on ground alone and worried at home suffering from eating disorder

Going to college can be a wonderful thing, and it’s something that not everyone gets to do. So, while you’re there, you want to make the most of it and have the best college experience possible. Unfortunately, that isn’t always an easy task if you have an eating disorder.

Emotional Issues

Dealing with your emotions should be a top priority when you have an eating disorder. That’s because the feelings you have about food are making you miserable, not the food itself. It’s the feeling of being out of control that influences your behavior. Behind those feelings, there are thoughts of being not good enough, which destroy your self-esteem and damage your mental health.

If you believe you have an eating disorder, you can talk to a counselor at BetterHelp.com. Mention any of these emotional symptoms if they seem to be a problem for you:

  • You’re constantly preoccupied with weight, diet, and controlling your food intake
  • You feel you need to skip meals often or eat very little
  • You get into a cycle of binge eating food and then feeling guilty
  • You worry a lot about the shape and size of your body
  • You have severe mood swings

Physical Problems

Because your eating disorder prompts you to change to unhealthy eating habits, it’s going to have a negative impact on your physical wellness. If you don’t address the issue, you may encounter some of these health problems:

  • Extreme weight loss or weight gain
  • Dental problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Painful stomach cramps
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Erratic sleeping patterns
  • Your wounds heal very slowly
  • Weakened muscles

Social Isolation

Perhaps the most difficult part of having an eating disorder when you’re in college is the social aspect. It’s very common to be socially isolated when your eating habits are out of control. This can come from your own guilt and the feeling of being different than others. This can also happen because your behavior and physical changes are alarming or strange to others.

The feelings you have about food can alter your social life dramatically. You feel uncomfortable eating around others, so you avoid group meals. You feel very anxious because you can’t follow your food rituals or habits, so you have trouble relaxing. You’re so worried about your food intake that you can’t express yourself freely, so others don’t really get to know you for who you are.

Eating disorders can be very difficult to overcome. They’re complex patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior all wrapped up into one. No matter which of the many eating disorders you have, it’s critical to get the help of a counselor as soon as possible. When you do, you can get on the path to a better life and the college experience you’ve always wanted.

For more tips on all things college, please check out the other blogs on College Basics.