As humans, we go about 18 years in the care and supervision of our parents or guardians. It’s normal to have parents who want the best for you, so they try and guide us by telling us what we should and should not do, where we should go to school, and especially by telling us what we should be putting our bodies. When it’s time to head off to college, this is a time of both excitement and anxiety. For the first time, as a college student, you have the power to make all, well most, of your decisions on your own. A big change can be in one’s diet. We become so used to our parents cooking us meals throughout the day that when we on our own this sense of balance can be thrown off. In the rest of this article, I want to discuss what binge type disordered eating is and how college students can be affected.
What is Binge Eating Disorder?
According to the article The Assessment and Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder, by Grilo Carlos M. PhD, “BED is defined by recurrent episodes of binge eating without the presence of the extreme compensatory weight control practices that define bulimia nervosa.” In other words, binge eating disorder can be described as episodes of eating large quantities of food very quickly and to the point of discomfort. Sometimes people can feel a loss of control during the binge and later they can experience feelings of shame, distress, or guilt afterwards. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, binge eating disorder episodes are associated with three or more of the following: eating much more rapidly than normal, eating until feeling uncomfortably full, eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry, eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating, and feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward. If any of these are happening at least once a week for three months, then you may have a binge eating disorder. There are many warning signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder that can be emotional and behavioral as well as physical. There are also many health risks associated with BED such as clinical obesity, weight stigma, and weight cycling. In the article, Binge Eating Disorder, by Charles B Pull, he states, “The prevalence of binge eating disorder in the general population is about 1-3%. In patients with obesity, and in patients seeking help for weight loss, a much higher prevalence has been reported (25% or more).” If you or someone you know may suffer from BED, calling (800)-931-2237, a National Eating Disorder hotline may be helpful.
How College Students More at Risk to Develop Binge Eating Disorder
Going to college after graduating high school can be like a rite of passage for young adults. With that comes a huge change in one’s lifestyle. This can make college students extremely vulnerable in regards to binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder(BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States. With a busy schedule filled with school, social events, work, and more, binge eating may go quietly unnoticed. According to the article, 10 Reasons Why Binge Eating Disorder Affects College Students, on the Oliver-Pyatt Centers website, loss of support, decreased structure, loneliness, uncertainty about the future, rigorous course requirements, internal or external pressures, sports expectations, prior binge eating disorder, tough exam schedules, and accepted out-of-control behavior are all reasons why college students may be more inclined to develop BED. All of these reasons may make someone more inclined to not eat regular meals, and instead binge large amounts of food once a day. With the shame and stigma that surrounds eating disorders, many college students may not realize or accept that they have a serious eating problem. It is important that we educate students so that preventing BED is possible.
Carlos , G. (1998, July). The Assessment and Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder : Journal of Psychiatric Practice®.RetrievedNovember7,2019,from https://journals.lww.com/practicalpsychiatry/Abstract/1998/07000/The_Assessment_and_Treatment_of_Binge_Eating.2.aspx.
N. (2018, July 20). X Reasons Why Binge Eating Disorder Affects College Students: Oliver-Pyatt Center. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://www.oliverpyattcenters.com/binge-eating-disorder-college-students/.
Pull, C. B. (n.d.). Binge eating disorder : Current Opinion in Psychiatry. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/co-psychiatry/Abstract/2004/01000/Binge_eating_disorder.8.aspx.
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The Digestible; a site for easy to understand food, nutrition, health, and energy balance information.