Eating Disorders

1 in 20 people have an eating disorder at some point in their lives, the majority between the ages of 16 and 25. Eating Disorders, also known as ‘Disordered Eating’, encompasses a wide range of different conditions, including binge-eating, bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive over-eating, although it is more often the case that an individual with an eating disorder does not clearly identify with any of these categories but experiences elements of all three categories. The technical term for this is EDNOS – eating disorder not otherwise specified. This is the most common type of eating difficulty.

Eating Disorders (EDs) are in no way a ‘lifestyle choice’, ‘self indulgence’ or solely prompted by the desire to be thin, and often an individual grappling with eating disorders is not clearly recognisable as such in their outwards appearance. EDs can have many causes and are often correlated with deeper underlying issues such as stress, guilt, low self-esteem, depression, a sense of loss or feeling of lack of control. To the outside world, people grappling with eating disorders can be extremely competent and composed, and excel in their day-to-day lives; it is often this which makes it hard to recognise or admit the problem, either to yourself or to others, and letting go of this coping mechanism may be a frightening step.

CUSU run a b-eat eating disorders support group which provides a supportive group setting for students to share experiences and support each other.

Here are some ways that you can get support:

Student Advice Service
Although the Student Advice Service can’t help you medically, they can point you in the direction of people who can.

University Counselling Service
If you think it would be helpful to talk to someone, the University Counselling Service are fully trained in supporting students with eating disorders.

B-eat (national eating disorders charity)
0845 634 1414 (Adult Helpline, Mon-Fri 8:30am-8:30pm)
Textphone: 01603 753322
A confidential helpline number which offers support to sufferers, family and friends.

SANE offers specialist emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including family, friends and carers.

University Counselling Service Information Sheet on Eating Disorders

Disclaimer: Whilst CUSU Women’s Campaign has been careful to check the suitability of these organisations as contact points for students, it cannot be held responsible for the work or advice of any external organisation. Neither should this list be treated as exhaustive.