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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Recognizing Eating Disorders In College Students

We talked recently about keeping an eye on your college age student returning home for the summer. It is an exciting time for many, coming home after the first year of college. For most it is a time to reconnect with old friends, secure a summertime job, spend more time with family, relax after finals, get back in shape and evaluate their future goals. It is also a time for parents to take a visual inventory of their child. How do they look physically, how are they interacting with family and friends, how much are they sleeping, do they seem to have unexplained mood swings, are they sociable? Parents want to be helpful and hopeful. Naturally, they want to see only good in their child and may overlook symptoms that indicate a mental health problem.

The "usual and customary" parental worries might center on excessive alcohol use, smoking, using pot or even abusing drugs (both legal and illegal). But parents should also be on the lookout for eating disorders. And it is important for parents to realize that eating disorders can affect both young women and young men.

Typically we tend to think eating disorders only affect women. The statistics indicate that one (1) million adolescent males between the ages of 12 - 25 suffer from an eating disorder. Males tend to obsess on muscle mass and fat index. A couple of months ago, NBC's TODAY show featured Dr. Nancy Snyderman's report about understanding, recognizing and getting treatment for young men suffering with eating disorders. You can learn more from her report.


If you suspect that your son or daughter may be suffering from an eating disorder, remember:
  • This is a psychiatric disorder
  • Seek advice from your pediatrician or family physician
  • Get professional help
  • Don't blame yourself
  • Research indicates that up to one-half of individuals with eating disorders abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, compared to nine percent of the general population.
  • Eating disorders can require long term treatment and hospital therapy
  • Eating disorders, if not recognized and treated, are deadly

1 comment:

  1. The earlier the patient is willing to undergo treatment, the better the possibility of recovery. Treatment always begin with psychiatric treatment followed by, nutritional counseling, behavioral changes and finally medical treatment.

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