At Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, we believe that eating disorders are often, if not always, triggered by undiagnosed, underlying conditions like anxiety, depression, trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder and/or bipolar disorder. Since Fairwinds opened its doors in 1989, that belief has continued to be borne out by emerging scientific research and anecdotal evidence. Unfortunately, many eating disorders appear for the first time or resurface during a student's freshman year in college — an exciting time that can also be enormously stressful. Richmond, Virginia, resident Michelle Piven says that when she went to college, her previous problems with anorexia quickly reappeared.
"That was a really difficult time in my life," Piven tells ABC News affiliate WRIC. "Just being away from my parents and friends. I actually went to a school where I didn't know anybody."
Piven says that the eating disorder became her closest friend. It wasn't until her dad threatened to pull her out of school that she finally sought help. But unlike Piven's father, many parents don't realize that their child has a problem, or they are not aware of the extent to which a burgeoning eating disorder has progressed. College kids' newfound independence makes it relatively easy for them to conceal self-harming behavior.
So how do you know if your college freshman is grappling with an eating disorder? Here are some possible warning signs of anorexia:
- Fear of weight gain
- Lanugo hair
- Obsession with measuring intake of calories, carbohydrates or fat
- Preoccupation with weight
- Restriction of food
- Skewed body image
- Spontaneous bone fractures.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) estimates that as many as two in 10 college women and one in 10 college men are actively struggling with an eating disorder such as anorexia. That's why the NEDA recently launched a new online program called Proud2BMe, to make educational materials and support available to at-risk students. While the site provides invaluable resources, some sufferers will need further help at a treatment center like Fairwinds, in order to fully recover.
At our facility in Clearwater, Florida, our globally renowned eating disorder specialist and former NEDA president Dr. Pauline Powers uses our unique dual diagnosis methodology to promote a lasting recovery. Without inner healing, outer healing will only be temporary at best. That's why each of our patients receives a personalized combination of clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to address both their eating disorder and the underlying psychological, mental and/or emotional issues that caused or exacerbated it.
If your child has an eating disorder, there is no better place for them to receive care and move toward a brighter future than Fairwinds Treatment Center. Call us today to learn more.