Student Consultation Team

Eating Problems

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For many people, losing weight is a constant and often frustrating concern.  Most people who diet do not develop eating disorders.  But for others, the effort to become thin- to stay that way- can turn into an obsession.  In some cases, it can become life threatening.  For students who tend to be perfectionists with very high expectations, losing weight can be seen as the first step to improving themselves, or provides a way to escape from feelings of guilt or worthlessness.


Symptoms to watch for include:

  • excessive weight loss in a relatively short period of time
  • continuation of dieting although bone-thin
  • unusual interest in food and strange eating rituals
  • bingeing - consumption of large amounts of food
  • disappearance into bathrooms for long periods of time
  • distorted view of body image
  • loss of menstrual periods
  • obsession with exercise
  • serious depression

Helpful Actions

  • Speak directly to the student about your concerns and the behaviors you observe.
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  • Let the student know other qualities/characteristics you appreciate about her or him.
  • Encourage the student to make an appointment with a professional counselor.

Unhelpful Actions

  • Give simple solutions ("If you'd just stop, everything would be fine!").
  • Trying to control the behavior ("You have to eat something! You're out of control!").
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  • Don't ignore the problem, hoping it will go away; it won't.

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