Eating disorders

The most common types of eating disorders include anorexia (starving oneself or eating as little as possible), athletica (compulsive exercising), bulimia (binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives) or eating disorders not otherwise specific (EDNOS), which is an eating disorder that does not meet the full criteria of anorexia or bulimia. Eating disorders are often a way of coping with problems a person finds too painful or difficult to deal with directly.

Signs and symptoms

  • Claims of feeling fat when weight is normal or below normal.
  • Very low self-esteem.
  • Wearing clothing that hides body shape.
  • Avoiding eating with others.
  • Preoccupation with food, weight, counting calories.
  • Scarred knuckles from induced vomiting.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Denying there is a problem.
  • Wanting to be perfect.
  • Intolerance of others.
  • Excessive exercise.


Due to the wide variety of eating disorders, treatment is independent to each individual. Eating disorders are often treated by addressing the physiological and psychological issues and sometimes in combination. There are many facilities and health professionals that specialize in the treatment of eating disorders. (NEDIC, 2014)



People with an eating disorder usually work very hard to keep it secret and many find it very difficult to acknowledge they have a problem. If you suspect your friend, student or colleague has an eating disorder encourage her/him to seek professional help. When speaking with her/him it’s helpful to express your concern and to focus on feelings, not on weight and food. If you’re concerned you have an eating disorder, there are resources on campus that can help.