Eating disorders are serious conditions, often life-threatening and should be treated as such. They are complex, affecting one’s physical, emotional and psychological well-being. The most common of these conditions are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating or compulsive overeating.
College students can be adversely affected by the perils of eating disorders. Social pressures, worrying about living up to others’ expectations and fear of taking on the responsibilities of adulthood are some reasons students suffer from eating disorders. Warning signs of eating disorders include categorizing foods into good and bad foods, avoiding meals, compulsive exercising and constant worrying about size and shape among others.
Julie Brown, a chemistry professor at the Yuba College Marysville campus suffered from Anorexia at a crucial point in her life. “I wasn’t an extreme anorexic, but I was about 20 pounds lighter than I am now, she said.
According to Brown, stress, school and personal relationships were all factors that contributed to her eating disorder in college. She had an ulcer and lost weight due to the illness. Having never been thin until that point in her life, Brown continued to lose weight because of the newfound power she acquired once she saw she could lose even more weight.
“The rest of your life is not controllable, but I felt in control about this one thing. I felt like I was finally fitting the picture that everybody had for me,” she continued. Brown was not alone in her ordeal. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 90 percent of those afflicted with eating disorders are female, affecting five to 10 million girls and women.
Yuba College student Tyrone Bowman agrees that women suffer from eating disorders more than men. “Eating disorders don’t affect guys as much as girls,” he said, “because girls are the ones who think they’re fat, and most of the time it isn’t even true.”
Yuba College nutrition instructor Kay Sims has dealt with many students who had eating disorders. Students come to her for advice. According to Sims, complications arising from Bulimia once cost a Yuba College student more than $30,000 in dental work. Coming to terms with an eating disorder as early as possible is the first step to a full recovery. In Brown’s case, her mind took a toll for the worse because of anorexia. Her performance in school suffered because her brain wasn’t functioning as well.
“I wasn’t feeding myself enough for my body to work. It was hard to come out of it,” she said.
Eventually, Brown sought the help she needed to overcome anorexia through a therapist and a nutritionist. Both helped her realize a healthy mindset towards food, and she now exercises and eats well to keep herself healthy.
Help for students suffering from eating disorders is not out of reach. Yuba College offers health services paid for at the time of registration.
“I invite students to come to my office, and we could get them referred to get the help that they need,” said Cindy Snelgrove, the Yuba College resident nurse. All services are confidential.
Snelgrove may be reached in person in her office located in the administration building, by telephone at (530) 741-6818 or by e-mail at email@example.comFor more information on eating disorders, the National Eating Disorders Association can be reached at 1-800-931-2237 or by logging on to www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.