Going Away To College? Be Wary About Getting An Eating Disorder

Posted on: 25 March 2018

Going away to college is an exciting time for each student, and while you might have your studies as a top priority, you shouldn't overlook the need to care for your health. There are a handful of health issues that may affect college students, but one thing that people don't always discuss is the presence of eating disorders among young adults.

There are several eating disorder risk factors that you can encounter upon moving away from home for the first time, but being aware of them — and constantly evaluating your relationship with food — can tell you if you need help. Here are some reasons that it might be easy to fall into an eating disorder trap as a college freshman.

Exposure To New Friends

One of the best parts about going away to college is meeting new friends, and you'll often form friendships that will last for the rest of your life. One concern with this scenario, however, is that you may get exposed to people who have unhealthy relationships with food, and these beliefs may influence you.

For example, perhaps you make friends with someone who is anorexic. You'll likely hear him or her talking about his or her weight, and if you're heavier than this person, you might begin to think that you need to lose weight — perhaps even to an unhealthy degree.

A Response To Loneliness

There's little question that living away from home for the first time can be a lonely experience. People respond to loneliness in a variety of different ways. Some people try to be more outgoing and make new friends, while others stay in their dorms by themselves. Eating can be a way that some people respond to loneliness.

For example, you might constantly be reaching for unhealthy foods such as chocolate, to feel a little better emotionally. Left unchecked, this behavior could lead to an eating disorder such as binge eating.

Struggles With Weight Management

When you move away to college, lots of people will warn you about gaining weight. Many freshman put on a few pounds because they're perhaps not eating as healthily as they did at home, and their studies may be getting in the way of regular exercise. If you have concern about weight gain, you might automatically start trying to lose weight — and this could lead you down a road that includes anorexia or bulimia.

Click here for info on treating eating disorders.