University Counseling Service (UCS) Mental Health Newsletter -
February 2017
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Eating Disorders

It’s Time To Talk About It


National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is February 26 – March 4. The goal of this week is to raise awareness of eating disorders by talking about the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and putting resources into the hands of those in need.
How many different types of eating disorders are there?
There are three main types of eating disorders - anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Read more about a them:
How do you develop an eating disorder?
No one knows the precise cause of eating disorders, but they seem to coexist with psychological and medical issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, trouble coping with emotions, and substance abuse. For some people, a preoccupation with food becomes a way to gain control over one aspect of their lives.
What Are The Signs of An Eating Disorder?
7 Important Facts About Eating Disorders
  1. They are serious mental illnesses
  2. They are not just women’s disorders –  People of all genders struggle with eating disorders
  3. They are life consuming
  4. Eating food is more complicated for those with eating disorders
  5. People with eating disorders cannot just “get over it”
  6. They are serious and life-threatening problems
  7. Recovery is possible
How do you feel when friends invite you to join them for burgers and fries? Are you excited about the alternative to Ramen or are you filled with a sense of doom? Perhaps the mere thought of eating those foods seems insurmountable. If so, you might be one of the 20 million women or 10 million men in the U.S. who struggle with an eating disorder.

Adequate nutrition is essential for optimal mental and physical health. However, for a subset of the population, food can change from being an enjoyable source of nutrition to a source of emotional distress.  The three types of eating disorders - Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder – affect persons from different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, and gender identities. Unfortunately, each can result in serious or even life-threatening health consequences. 

The good news is that assistance is available. The Eating Disorder Network is a free resource for University of Iowa students. This is a collaborative group of health professionals who have joined together to offer evaluations, treatment, and education for the prevention of eating disorders.  We can help you overcome thinking about food all day, feeling out of control when you eat, and undereating or overeating relative to your energy needs. Please contact either University Counseling Service or Student Health & Wellness to schedule your first visit. We look forward to working with you!

Kathleen Wittich, MD
Medical Director, Student Health and Wellness

Tips for Talking to a Friend Who May Be Struggling With An Eating Disorder
So what does all this mean for UIowa Students?

We’re here for you!
Eating disorders are serious physical and mental health issues, but treatment is available and recovery is possible! At the University Counseling Service we have therapists who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders. We help students recover from disordered eating behaviors and body dissatisfaction by exploring the factors that contribute to their eating and body image concerns and giving them strategies to decrease or stop the disordered eating habits. Students can either receive individual therapy or join the “Myself and My Body” therapy group, both of which are effective forms of treatment. Call 319-335-7294 to schedule a consultation with us to learn more about the ways we can help you improve your relationships with food and body.
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