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College stress might cause eating disorders

January 11th, 2006

From the Ohio State University Lantern, a profile of Amy, now a junior, who developed bulimia during her freshman year at college.

Amy came to college enthusiastic about her new life. She was excited to make new friends and to just be part of a new environment. She was not worried about bulimia. However, the onset of eating disorders is often associated with a stressful life event, such as leaving home for college.

Amy described how she felt when she would make herself sick at school.

“When I would throw up, I felt relieved to get all the food out. I would eat a whole ton, and it would make me feel nauseous. It would feel so good to get it all out,” Amy said.

Dr. Lisa Werner, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, has experience with patients that have eating disorders. She agrees that college freshmen, leaving home for the first time, might experience an increase in the risk of developing an eating disorder because of a lifestyle change.

“Change is stressful. Leaving home for college is perceived as so, and it can lead to an eating disorder,” Werner said.

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