5 Holiday Break Eating Disorder Warning Signs

The transition to college is one of the most common times to develop an eating disorder. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, 90% of eating disorder patients are diagnosed between age 18 and 25, and as many as 25% of college students actually have eating disorders.

First semester pressures for young adults can create the perfect storm for eating disorders development. Common triggers include dieting to avoid the “freshman 15,” stress from academic and social pressures and anxiety related to being away from home.
Parents can use holiday breaks as an opportunity to access any changes in their college-age students that may indicate an eating disorder. Below are five holiday break eating disorder warning signs for parents to watch for:

  1. Depression or isolation, withdrawal from family and friends, and avoiding social activities
  2. Obsession over appearance, size or food
  3. Helping with the preparation of holiday meals but not eating them
  4. Excessive exercise, even outdoors in poor winter weather conditions
  5. Disappearance after meals

Dr. Neeru Bakshi is a Board certified adult psychiatrist who specializes in adult and adolescent psychiatry, group therapy, and consultation psychiatry at ERC Washington.

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