Eating Disorders

Facts About Eating Disorders:

  • Eating disorders are not necessarily about food, but food is the substance that people with eating disorders abuse.  Eating disorders have both physical and psychological symptoms.  They are characterized by problematic attitudes and feelings about food, insecurity regarding weight and body image, a disruption in eating behaviors and weight management, and intense anxiety about body weight and size.
  • Eating disorders usually refer to Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and/or Binge Eating Behavior.
    • Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by restricted eating, self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
    • Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by recurrent episodes of overeating large amounts of food in a short period of time (the binge) followed by some form of purging.
    • Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating that are not followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors (purging/use of laxatives) to prevent weight gain.

What You Can Do

  • Select a time to talk to the student when you are not rushed and won’t be interrupted.
  • In a direct and non-punitive manner, indicate to the student all the specific observations that have aroused your concern.
  • Your responsibility is not to diagnose or provide therapy; it is the development of a compassionate and forthright conversation that ultimately helps the student find understanding, support, and the proper therapeutic resources.
  • If the information you receive is compelling, communicate to the student your concern as well as your conviction that the matter clearly needs to be evaluated.
  • Contact the Student Health Center for advice or information at 401.865.2422

What You Should Avoid Doing

  • Avoid conflicts or a battle of the wills with the student.
  • Avoid placing shame, blame, or guilt ​​on the student regarding her/his actions or attitudes.
  • Avoid giving simple solutions. For example, “If you’d just stop, then everything would be fine!”