Monday, December 27, 2010

Mental Disorders Increasing on College Campuses

In decades past, college counselors dealt with fairly routine issues from their students: teenage loneliness, worry about grades, or even concern regarding future employment. These seemingly innocent concerns are long gone. Today, college students aren’t asking “Who will I be?” instead they are posing questions like “If I died, would anyone care?”

Recently, the New York Times reported on a shocking shift in the mental health status of college students. National surveys indicate that nearly half of the students who visit counseling centers are dealing with mental illness, more than double the rate a decade ago. In addition to serious mental illness, colleges are experiencing a rise in eating disorders, self-injury, alcohol and other drug use.

At Remuda Ranch, we know how significantly eating disorders impact the college population. In fact, second only to teenage girls, the young college woman is most at risk for experiencing an eating disorder.

This is not necessarily surprising. College is a time of great stress. Students face new challenges, tremendous change, a new social structure and friendships, and most important, autonomy. This is the first time most college freshmen have lived away from home. Between high anxiety and freedom, an eating disorder can easily take root.

Dr. Dena Cabrera, Remuda Ranch psychologist, explained, “For those individuals predisposed to an eating disorder, the stresses of college can trigger the illness. For example, a perfectionistic young woman may try to restrict her food as a way to exert control over her life. Another student may decide to binge and purge as a method to cope with a chaotic life and feelings of powerlessness. In either case, no parent is there to notice the behavior.”

At Remuda Ranch, we always stress the need for early intervention and treatment for an eating or anxiety disorder. This escalating psychiatric disorder trend with college students only serves to emphasize this position.

If you have a daughter, or know of a young girl who is struggling with anorexia, bulimia or anxiety, please get help now. These disorders rarely improve on their own. Please provide her with the care she needs now to avoid or negate additional problems in the future. Visit or call 1-800-445-1900.


Find additional resources and information for eating disorders and related conditions at College Hope

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