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More questions about eating disorders?  Here's where to find the answers in

My Roommate Is Driving Me Crazy!

Q:  My roommate is on the basketball team and takes laxatives to lose weight.  Does she have an eating disorder? 

A:  See page 156

Q:  I've seen my roommate eat a whole pizza, then go into the bathroom and vomit.  I'm concerned, but I don't know what to say.  Any ideas?

A:  See page 157

Q:   My roommate weighs less than 100 pounds.  I've tried talking to her about eating more, but she denies having a problem.  What can I do?

A:  See page 164

Eating Disorders:  Anorexia and Bulimia

      Weight fluctuations are common in college. Gaining the average fifteen pounds, or the "Freshman 15," is easy to do between cafeteria food, all-night study sessions, too much beer, and not enough exercise. But when food and weight becomes an obsession, it can turn deadly. Eating disorders affect both men and women. They include anorexia nervosa (self-starvation) and bulimia (binging and purging).

 

      Eating disorders are not about food. They are expressions of perceived social pressure, poor body image, feeling a lack of control, extreme stress, and emotional needs. The illness can be devastating and warps the way a person sees herself. Those with eating disorders often experience enormous feelings of guilt and shame. Some may exercise compulsively, avoid social situations involving food, lie about how much food has been consumed, or only eat in private.

 

      Eating disorders are treatable, and the sooner a person gets help the better. Anorexia nervosa can lead to death from cardiac arrest and electrolyte imbalance. Here are the warning signs:

Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

 

Resistance to maintaining a weight that's considered normal for age and height  

Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight

Distorted body image

For women, absent or irregular menstrual cycles

Symptoms of Bulimia

 

Binge eating (eating a large amount of food within a two-hour period)

Feeling a lack of control while binging-like you can't stop yourself

Purging by self-induced vomiting, laxatives, or diet pills

Broken blood vessels in the eyes, tooth decay (from vomiting)

Exercising excessively

 

      If you recognize any of these signs in yourself, know that there is help!   Make an appointment with your campus counseling center and talk with a professional about alternatives.   If you suspect your roommate or a friend has an eating disorder, encourage her to seek professional help. Discuss your concerns in a sensitive, supportive way. Keep your comments focused on her health and how it's affecting your relationship rather than on weight or appearance. Avoid assuming the role of "food police." This will only make her more secretive. If you feel her weight is dangerously low, report your concerns to your RA and the campus counseling center.      

 

      For additional help with eating disorders, contact the National Eating Disorders Association at www.edap.org

DateHookUp.com also offers helpful information on anorexia with additional links.

     For more information about campus mental health visit www.campusblues.com. 

More College Survival Tips

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