Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) are psychiatric diagnoses that involve a significant disturbance in the perception of body shape and weight which leads to an abnormal or obsessive relationship with food, exercise, and self-image. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by the refusal to maintain minimally normal weight for age and height (weight less than 85% of expected); an intense fear of gaining weight; a denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight; and, in postmenarcheal women, an absence of monthly menstruation. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by inappropriate behaviors to prevent weight gain such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, and enemas; fasting; and/or excessive exercise.
Signs of Problem eating include:
- Preoccupation with body image, food, calories, or weight
- Fear of loss of control over eating
- Skipping meals
- Rituals around food preparation or eating
- Decreased variety of foods eaten
- Self-induced vomiting, "purging"
- Preoccupation with exercise
- Abuse of laxatives, water pills, or diet pills
- Change in or absence of menstrual periods
- Consuming large amounts of food at one time, "bingeing"
- Rapid weight loss
- Fear of weight gain
- Secrecy with eating behavior
If you think that a student may be struggling with an Eating Disorder:
- When possible, speak to the student in private.
- Be supportive and express your concern about the student’s health. Provide specific examples of behaviors or symptoms that are of concern.
- Refer the student to the Counseling and Psychiatry Services (CAPS) or HOPE Team at (802)656-3340. (see below for description and more info. on HOPE Team)
- Consult with a professional from Counseling & Psychiatry Services (656-3440) if you want advice on how or when to intervene with a student.
- Reassure a student that his/her obsessions are normal and therefore nothing to worry about.
- Scare the student into changing or getting help. With eating disorders, fear seldom motivates change.
- Make jokes about eating disorders or about fat people to students.
- Make positive comments about a student’s weight loss. It is difficult to discern if you are rewarding healthy behavior or encouraging a hidden disorder.
Last modified March 19 2014 10:28 PM