Parents Guide to Eating Disorders in College


What Is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is diagnosed when unhealthy eating habits such as food restriction, binging and purging are sustained and severe enough to impair a person’s physical and mental health. The most common eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia nervosa: Anorexia is characterized by severe food restriction, a dangerously low body weight, extreme exercise and a distorted body image.
  • Bulimia nervosa: Bulimia is characterized by out-of-control eating offset by purging, fasting or extreme exercise designed to maintain weight.
  • Binge eating disorder: Someone with binge eating disorder regularly consumes unusually large amounts of food in short periods of time, often in secret, and feels out of control.