College pressures can cause eating disorders



    The pressures of college can turn dieting into an obsession.

    “Sometimes eating disorders develop in the college setting with the pressure to date and the pressure to perform and do well,” said Lenae Valentine, coordinator of Women’s Services and Resources.

    Valentine said she often gets women coming in because they are struggling with an eating disorder. She also said sometimes students come in because they think their roommates have serious eating disorders.

    Randy Hardman, a psychologist at the Center for Change in Orem, said even if a person with an eating disorder is not willing to talk about it, friends should say they know it is going on.

    “The message is ‘we want to support you as a person, but we are not going to support the eating disorder,'” Hardman said.

    Leslie Feinauer, marriage and family therapist at the Comprehensive Clinic, advises concerned friends to talk with the person first, and if that doesn’t work, to go to a bishop or a parent.

    “Most people with eating disorders don’t see (it) as a problem,” she said.

    According to Hardman, most people need to be confronted about their eating disorder two or three times before they are ready to deal with it.

    “Women with eating disorders are wonderful people but they have gone off course in an addictive eating disorder cycle,” Hardman said.

    Feinauer said most of the women with eating disorders tend to be perfectionists, and they try to please everyone.

    “It’s pretty common in our society because women are under so much pressure to be perfect,” she said.

    Hardman said 60 percent of women with eating disorders have abuse in their childhood history.

    “Its a way to feel in control without having to have the pain,” Hardman said.

    Women with eating disorders can contact Women’s Services for educational resources, the Comprehensive Clinic for counseling or the Center for Change for inpatient treatment.

    The average stay at the Center for Change is 2 to 4 months.

    Thursday at 11 a.m. in 3250 ELWC Women’s Services and Resources will conclude a series of “I am a Woman not a Barbie” workshops. The workshop is on body acceptance.

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