Table of Contents

Depressive Disorders

Depression can affect anyone at any time. Feeling blue, sad, down in the dumps or just low is something we all experience at times. Students are often prone to depression while coping with the multiple pressures of school, work, friends and family. Students who receive high grades or low grades are equally vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed. We all can be pressured to a point where nothing seems to give us pleasure and it becomes hard to get interested in things or just to get started. When we experience these feelings, we may also notice other changes as well.

We may slow down, experience changes in appetite, become irritable, neglect responsibilities and/or self-care, and have difficulty remembering things. Our professors may comment on our inability to concentrate in class. Employers may notice we do not seem to be as productive as usual. Family members may notice changes in our appetite or sleep patterns. We may experience tension and tend to dwell more on our shortcomings than on our achievements. This can become a vicious cycle. The more we focus on negative feedback, the more depressed we become and the more negative feedback we receive.

How do we begin to break the negative cycle? Depression can be overcome with help. Counseling and, at times, (non-habit forming) medication can provide relief. Counseling can help people become better able to cope with their problems by providing support and help, examining the underlying causes of depression and working out possible solutions to problems. Treatment is available at low or no cost to the student.

What is depression?

A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or washed away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment symptoms can last for two weeks, months or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.

What are some types of depression?

Depressive disorders come in different forms, just as is the case with other illnesses. Listed below are the two of the most common types of depressive disorders.

Major depression is manifested by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime.

Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression that involves long-term, chronic symptoms that do not disable, but keep one from functioning well or feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives.

Symptoms of Depression

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and varies over time.

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Adapted from: Brooklyn College Personal Counseling Program
Topic: Depression

Facts about Depression


  • In the United States, depression affects nearly 2.75% of men (3 million men).
  • It remains unclear whether depression is actually less common among men or if men are just less likely to recognize and acknowledge the symptoms than women.
  • Four times as many men as women die by suicide in the U.S.
  • Men often deal with depression by withdrawing from others and throwing themselves into their work, engaging in risky or dangerous behavior, and/or becoming angry, frustrated and abusive.


  • Women 18 to 45 years of age account for the largest proportion of people suffering from depression.
  • Twenty to forty percent of menstruating women experience premenstrual mood and behavioral changes.
  • Approximately two to ten percent of women experience Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a severe form of premenstrual syndrome that is characterized by severely impairing behavior and mood changes.
  • In one major study, 100 percent of women who had experienced severe childhood sexual abuse developed depression later in life.
  • Although bipolar disorder is equally common in women and men, research indicates that approximately three times as many women as men experience rapid cycling.
  • Other research findings indicate that women with bipolar disorder may have more depressive episodes and more mixed episodes than do men with the illness.

College Students:

  • According to the APA’s HealthyMinds
    • One out of four young adults will experience a depressive episode by age 24.
    • Nearly half of all college students report feeling so depressed at some point in time that they have trouble functioning.
    • If left untreated depression can lead to suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24 and the second leading cause of death of college students.
    • Many young people are coming to college with an existing diagnosis and treatment history. Some of those students might not have made it beyond high school in previous generations, but this means that more young people need access to comprehensive mental health care.
  • According the Fall 2006 National College Health Assessment from the American College Health Association (23, 863 respondents) 9.4% of students reported seriously considering attempting suicide at least once in a 12-month period.
  • In 2004, the Mental Health Task Force on Graduate Student Mental Health at the University of California Berkley surveyed its graduate students and revealed:
    • In the last 12 months, 45.3% of graduate students had experienced an emotional or stress-related problem that significantly affected their well-being and/or academic performance.
    • Almost 25% of graduate students in the survey were unaware of on-campus mental health services.

Adapted from:

How to Get Help

If you feel like you may be suffering from depression, Counseling & Psychological Services can help. To make an appointment with a counselor call (805) 437-2088. For non-emergencies, leave your name and telephone number and a counselor will call you within 24 hours to set up an appointment. If you feel immediate assistance is needed, please call University Police at (805) 437-8888.

Anxiety Disorders [top]

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?

  • Characterized by excessive, uncontrolled worry about everyday things.
  • Physical symptoms: muscle tension, nausea, gastrointestinal discomfort, cold and clammy hands, difficulty swallowing, jumpiness, difficulty sleeping.
  • Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. $42 billion a year.
  • Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
  • An estimated 19 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment.

Who suffers from GAD?

  • About 2.8% of the adult U.S. population ages 18 to 54 - approximately 4 million Americans - has GAD during the course of a given year. GAD most often strikes people in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood, too. It affects women more often than men.
  • Compared to most anxiety disorders, the onset of GAD usually occurs at a younger age and the symptoms are slower to emerge. 


Bipolar Disorder (formerly Manic-Depressive Disorder)

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, is a type of mental illness that involves a disorder of affect or mood. The person's mood usually swings between overly "high" or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, with periods of normal mood in between.

Symptoms include:

  • Extreme irritability and distractibility
  • Excessive "high" or euphoric feelings
  • Increased energy, activity, restlessness
  • Racing thoughts, rapid speech
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
  • Increased sexual drive
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Reckless behavior such as spending sprees, rash business decisions or erratic driving
  • In severe cases, hallucinations and loss of reason

Mental health specialists refer to bipolar disorder by type: Type I bipolar disorder involves extreme upswings in mood (mania) coupled with downward spirals. In Type II, the upward swings are more mild (hypomania), but the frequency and intensity of the depressive phase is often severe. Since the elevated mood states of Type II are relatively mild, they are often missed and the bipolar nature of the illness goes undiagnosed.

Facts about Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects more than 2.5 million adult Americans every year (National Institute of Mental Health).

  • Up to 90 percent of bipolar disorders start before age 20, although the illness can start in early childhood or as late as the 40's and 50's. An equal number of men and women develop bipolar illness and it is found in all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes.
  • More than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the illness or with unipolar major depression, indicating that the disease has a heritable component.
  • People with bipolar disorder will spend as much as one-fourth of their adult lives in the hospital, and they will live one-fourth of their adult lives disabled. This can result in the person's losing as much as 14 years of cumulative productivity.


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Posttraumatic stress disorder affects people who have experienced a traumatic event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents or personal assaults such as rape.

Symptoms include nightmares and flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of detachment/estrangement. Symptoms can be persistent and severe enough to significantly impair a patient's daily life.

PTSD often occurs in conjunction with related disorders such as depression, substance abuse and problems with memory and cognition. It may also affect a person's ability to function at work, in a marriage, or as a parent.

Those more likely to experience PTSD include:

  • Those who experience greater stressor magnitude and intensity, unpredictability, uncontrollability, sexual (as opposed to non-sexual) victimization, real or perceived responsibility, and betrayal.
  • Those with prior vulnerability factors such as genetics, early age of onset and longer-lasting childhood trauma, lack of functional social support, and concurrent stressful life events.
  • Those who report greater perceived threat or danger, suffering, upset, terror, and horror or fear.
  • Those with a social environment that produces shame, guilt, stigmatization or self-hatred.

Adapted from: National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet

What if you know someone who has a psychological problem?

What if you are not having symptoms of a psychological disorder, but someone you care about is? You may want to help, but you may not know how. Professional help is available for students living with persons with psychological disorders. In addition, there are special support groups for adults undergoing transition periods, such as adjusting to the loss of a parent or spouse.

Stress [top]

What exactly is stress?

Stress is what our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment. It has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action. It can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression, which, in turn, can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. The death of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, a heavy academic schedule or all the pressures of college life taken collectively can cause us to experience stress as we readjust our lives. In adjusting to these circumstances, stress will help or hinder us depending on how we react to it.

How can I eliminate stress from my life?

As we have seen, positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and we all thrive under a certain amount of stress. Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and even our frustrations and sorrows add depth and enrichment to our lives. Our goal is not to eliminate stress, but to learn how to manage it and use it to help us. Insufficient stress acts as a depressant and may leave us feeling bored or dejected. On the other hand, excessive stress may leave us feeling "tied up in knots." What we need to do is find the optimal level of stress that will individually motivate but not overwhelm us.

Many college students feel stress that can become a clinical emotional problem called anxiety. Often we understand that we are having a stressful experience but how does a person cope with this problem?

Where am I when I get stressed?

  • What am I doing?
  • Who am I with?
  • Is it always the same people, place and/or activities?
  • Is there a common set of thoughts that I am thinking?

If different situations, people or thoughts are involved:

  • Do they have some common elements? If so, what are they?
  • What is it that I am responding to?
  • Does the person or situation remind me of persons or situations I have responded negatively to in the past?

How can I tell what is optimal stress for me?

There is no single level of stress that is optimal for all people. We are all individual creatures with unique requirements. As such, what is distressing to one may be a joy to another. Even when we agree that a particular event is distressing, we are likely to differ in our physiological and psychological responses to it.

The person who loves to arbitrate disputes and moves from job site to job site would be stressed in a job which was stable and routine, whereas the person who thrives under stable conditions would very likely be stressed on a job where duties were highly varied. Also, our personal stress requirements and the amount that we can tolerate before we become distressed changes with our ages.

It has been found that most illness is related to unrelieved stress. If you are experiencing stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your optimal stress level. You need to reduce the stress in your life and/or improve your ability to manage it.

  • What are the feelings I have that are associated with my stress?
  • What are my primary physical reactions/signs?
  • What is my primary emotion in the stress situation?
  • Do I want to express the feelings that I'm having directly?
  • If the answer is "yes," why am I not doing so?
  • What am I thinking about the situation?
  • Are there any images going through my head? If so, what are they?
  • What are my realistic options here?
  • How do I want to constructively cope with this?
  • What realistic choices do I have?
  • Is now a realistic time to implement some idea or strategy?

Some Common Stress Signs

Affective: anxiety, fear, dread, depression, anger, irritation, panic, feeling shaky, agitation, tension, feeling trapped, frustration

Physical: flushing, sweating, dry mouth, shallow rapid breathing, difficulty drawing breath, tightness across the chest with or without pain, heart pounding, heart palpitation, increased blood pressure, headache, backache, stomach tension or ache, feeling weak, fatigue, intestinal distress, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, loss of sex drive, loss of joy in life, compulsive behavior, insomnia, gas and abdominal cramping, irritable colon, faintness and dizziness, tingling sensations, tight band around forehead

Cognitive: worry, dread, inattention, distractibility, forgetfulness, nightmares, rigid problem solving, self-criticism, and various kinds of cognitive distortions and mis-attribution

Motor/Behavioral: muscle tension with or without pain, tremors, tics, spasms, increased startle reaction or jumpiness, lack of coordination, decreased performance, freezing, avoidance, escape behavior

Adapted from: Joseph Rufus Wofford, Director of Counseling Services, Charleston Southern University, Charleston Southern University, 9200, University Blvd., Charleston, SC 29423

If you are in doubt about where to turn for assistance, please feel free to call Counseling and Psychological Services at (805) 437-2088.

The following links contain excellent articles and resources regarding stress and college students:

Anger Management [top]

Dealing with Angry Thoughts and Feelings

When you think back to anger-producing situations, it is likely that you recall experiencing intense feelings of anger. You may recall feelings of hostility or rage that may have overwhelmed you and led you to act in ways that did not improve the situation. Maybe you remember trying to control your angry feelings while in the situation and struggling to contain them all day. In order to better understand these feelings and bring them under your control, it is necessary to look at another aspect of the anger-producing situation: your thoughts.

Thoughts or beliefs about a situation influence how you feel about the situation. For example, if another student or co-worker offers you help with a project, you may think: "This person is trying to be helpful to me." This thought may lead to positive feelings towards the person. On the other hand, the thought: "This person is trying to look good by volunteering" may lead to angry feelings.

The first step in managing your angry feelings is to examine the thoughts you have experienced just before becoming angry.

Try to remember one or two situations when you became angry and trace each situation step by step. Can you remember what you were thinking right before you became angry? The next time you get angry at someone, stop yourself and make a note of your thoughts about the person and the situation. Begin to write down each situation and your thoughts that you are experiencing until you have several examples.

The next step in effectively managing anger is to evaluate your anger-producing thoughts.

Sometimes the thoughts we have are accurate and sometimes they are not. It is important to carefully examine your anger-producing thoughts to see if they are accurate or somewhat distorted. Distorted thoughts are inaccurate or less adaptive ways of thinking about a situation. For example, if a person says something critical about you and you think, "This person is a jerk," you will likely feel angry and respond to this person in an angry fashion. You may learn, however, that this person just found out a loved one is very ill. Labeling a person based on one interaction is an example of a type of distorted thinking called overgeneralization. Listed below are some other types of distorted thinking and examples.

1.  Labeling: You put a fixed, negative label on others without considering that the evidence might more reasonably lead to a different conclusion.

Example: "He's an idiot." "She's two-faced."

2.  Magnification: When you evaluate another person, you unreasonably magnify the negative and minimize the positive.

Example: "My teacher gave me one low grade (and several high ones), she's so unfair!"

3.  Personalization: You believe others are behaving negatively as a reaction to you, without considering more plausible explanations for their behavior.

Example: "That guy is being cold to me because he thinks he's better than I am." (You are unaware that he just received some upsetting news from home.)

4.  "Should" or "must" statements: You have a precise, fixed idea of how others should behave and you overestimate how bad it is that these expectations are not met.

Example: "She should have called me by now. She must not care about our friendship."

5.  Tunnel vision: You only see the negative aspects of a situation.

Example: "My professor can't do anything right. He's critical, insensitive and a lousy lecturer."

6.  All or nothing thinking: You view a situation in only two categories instead of on a continuum. Things are either good or bad; you are either perfect or a failure.

Example: "My friend doesn't agree with me on this issue, so he's completely non-supportive." "I just know I'm going to get an "F" on that exam!" (when a "B" is most likely).

7.  Fallacy of fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what's fair, but other people won't agree with you.

Example: "Why can't my professor see that I deserve an "A"?

8.  Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your feelings.

Example: "It's my roommate's fault I'm so angry."

9.  Fallacy of Change: You expect others will change to suit you if you pressure them enough.

Example: “If you just hear me out one more time, I'm sure you'll agree with me."

10.  Being Right: You are continually trying to prove that your opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness.

Example: "I was totally justified in yelling at my friend for what he did!"

When you are angry, it's likely that many of your thoughts will fall under one of these categories. In order to overcome some of these thoughts, it may be helpful to develop an Angry Thought Record. In the first column, write down the anger producing thought. In the next column, write down the type of distortion it represents. In the third column, write down a different, more accurate, adaptive way to think about the situation.

The next step is finding more accurate, adaptive ways of thinking about the situation.

For each distorted thought you have written down, try a different way of thinking about the situation -- one that is more accurate and does not make you feel as angry. This may involve exploring the positive aspects of a person or a situation, identifying other possible reasons for the person's behavior, or looking at "the big picture" rather than focusing on one relatively small incident.

The last step is to practice identifying anger-producing thoughts, finding the distortions, and developing more accurate ways of thinking every day!

This final technique to reduce anger must be practiced every day in order to be effective. It is necessary to write down angry thoughts regularly and to practice refuting them. As this becomes easier, you can better identify your thoughts when you are in a situation and begin to feel angry. By identifying distorted thoughts and replacing them with more adaptive ways of thinking, you can keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed by anger in difficult situations.

Adapted from: George Washington University Counseling Center


Alcohol & Substance Abuse [top]

Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) programs at CI are offered through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). In collaboration with other areas on campus, CAPS provides AOD services and programs throughout the year. CAPS works not only with students who have problems involving AOD issues but assists students who choose to either abstain from using alcohol or who wish to continue the responsible use of alcohol.  Students may also receive AOD counseling to help increase the awareness of risk factors and lifestyle decisions related to the use of alcohol and other drugs, and to foster the development of healthy coping skills. Our counselors will also make referrals to various on-campus and community resources including 12-step groups that hold meetings in the surrounding area. Students with serious or chronic problems with alcohol and other drugs may be referred to higher levels of treatment for intensive care.

Information about Alcohol

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains about 14 grams (~0.6 fluid ounces) of pure alcohol. Below are some approximate drink equivalents:

  • 12 oz. of beer or wine cooler
  • 8-9 oz. of malt liquor
  • 5 oz. of table wine
  • 3-4 oz. of fortified wine
  • 2-3 oz. of cordial, liqueur or aperitif
  • 1.5 oz. of brandy or spirits

Types of Alcohol Problems

  • Relatively low levels of alcohol consumption may increase risk for motor vehicle crashes, medication interactions, fetal effects, strokes caused by bleeding, and certain cancers.
  • Alcohol use disorders include alcohol dependence (known as alcoholism) and alcohol abuse.
  • Alcohol abuse is characterized by clinically significant impairment or distress but does not entail physical dependence.
  • Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) is characterized by 10 diagnostic criteria according to the DSM-IV. These criteria include: impaired control over drinking, tolerance, withdrawal syndrome when alcohol is removed, neglect of normal activities for drinking, and continued drinking despite recurrent related physical or psychological problems.

Who has an alcohol problem?

  • 25 percent of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family.
  • Between 2001 and 2002, the prevalence of alcohol abuse was highest among Native Americans (5.75%) followed by Whites (5.10%), Hispanics (3.9%), Blacks (3.29%), and Asians (2.13%).
  • Alcohol abuse and dependence are more common among males than females and decrease with aging.
  • Between 2001 and 2002, 8.5 percent of adult Americans –17.6 million – met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for either alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse.

Harmful Effects of Alcohol

  • Alcohol–related crashes (i.e., those in which a driver or pedestrian had a blood alcohol concentration [BAC] greater than zero) account for 41 percent of all fatal car accidents.
  • Alcohol use contributes to a range of chronic health consequences including cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Alcohol use has been associated with increased risk of traumatic injury including: motor vehicle crashes, bicycling accidents, falls, fires, injuries in sports and recreational activities, interpersonal violence, and self–inflicted injuries.
  • The economic costs of alcohol abuse in the United States are estimated to be approximately $185 billion annually.

Alcohol and Women

  • Women are more vulnerable than men to many of the medical consequences of alcohol use. Alcoholic women develop cirrhosis, damage of the heart muscle (i.e., cardiomyopathy), and nerve damage (i.e., peripheral neuropathy) after fewer years of heavy drinking than alcoholic men.
  • Women develop organ damage faster and at lower levels of alcohol consumption than men. This is because a woman’s body generally has less water than a man’s causing her blood alcohol content to reach higher levels faster.
  • Alcohol use may affect female reproduction. Adolescent girls who consume even moderate amounts of alcohol may experience disrupted growth and puberty. Heavy drinking in adult women can disrupt normal menstrual cycling and reproductive functions. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can cause women to suffer from infertility, increased risk for spontaneous abortion, and impaired fetal growth and development.
  • Women overall drink less than men but are more likely to experience adverse consequences including damage to the heart muscle, liver and brain, trauma resulting from auto crashes, interpersonal violence, and death.
  • The progression of alcoholism appears to be faster in women than in men.

Alcohol and College Students

  • In 2002, 64% of full-time college students (aged 18-22) reported consuming at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days.
  • Over 44% of full-time college students reported consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past 30 days. 
  • 1700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
  • Nearly 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.
  • Nearly 700,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted each year by another student who has been drinking.


Sexual Assault [top]

Sexual assault is a serious problem amongst college-age students. The following are some facts and figures to support that position.

One out of every four college students who drink report having forgotten where they were or what they did while drinking during the academic year. Students who attend schools with high rates of heavy drinking experienced a greater number of secondhand effects such as:

  • disruption of sleep and studies
  • property damage
  • verbal, physical and sexual violence
  • The immediate effects occur more quickly and last longer causing women to be more vulnerable to alcohol in the long-term.
  • More than 696,000 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • 400,000 have unprotected sex.
  • 100,000 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex.
  • More than 97,000 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Up to 20-25% of women report being raped during their college career.
  • 75% of rape on a college campus involves drugs and/or alcohol.
  • FBI statistics estimate that over 60% of rapes go UNREPORTED!
  • Sexual assault is committed in many situations:
    • on a date
    • by a friend or an acquaintance
    • when you think you are alone

Gender differences in body structure and chemistry cause women to absorb more alcohol, meaning:

  • It takes longer to break alcohol down and remove it from their bodies (i.e., to metabolize it).
  • Even when consuming equal amounts, women have higher alcohol levels in their blood than men.

Men can be victims also:

  • In 1995, 32,130 males age 12 and older were victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.
  • In 2003, 1 in every 10 rape victims were male.

Protect yourself on a date:

  • Be aware of your date intruding on your personal space. This is a sign that he/she may not respect your boundaries.
  • Avoid drinking or doing drugs.  This may make it easier to be taken advantage of.
  • Set sexual limits. It's okay to stop sexual activity when you've had enough.
  • Realize you do not owe the other person anything for going out on a date.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Always carry taxi fare so you can get yourself home if you need to.
  • Do not go home with or invite someone over that you do not know very well.

Protect yourself from committing rape:

  • If one person is heavily intoxicated and gives consent, you can still be charged even if you were also intoxicated.
  • Be aware of physical signs like pushing away.
  • Just because she is okay with a certain sexual activity does not mean she wants to have sex.
  • Just because you have had sex in the past does not constitute consent.
  • When in doubt, DON’T DO IT!

Eating Disorders [top]

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are serious medical problems. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder are all types of eating disorders. Eating disorders frequently develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but can occur during childhood or later in adulthood. Females are more likely than males to develop an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are more than just a problem with food. Food is used to feel in control of other feelings that may seem overwhelming. For example, starving is a way for people with anorexia to feel more in control of their lives and to ease tension, anger and anxiety. Purging and other behaviors to prevent weight gain are ways for people with bulimia to feel more in control of their lives and to ease stress and anxiety.

It’s estimated that eating disorders affect over 11 million people in the U.S. Eating disorders can have significant and sustained impact on one’s health and are statistically the deadliest of all mental illnesses.

The following are three types of eating disorders as recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV):

Anorexia Nervosa – A person with Anorexia may have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. Someone with Anorexia may practice unhealthy behaviors such as: restricting calories, only eating specific foods or skipping meals frequently.

Bulimia Nervosa – A person with Bulimia may also be intensely afraid of becoming fat or gaining weight. Someone with Bulimia may eat large amounts of food in a short period of time (binge) and then eliminate the food and calories by making themselves vomit (purge). One may exercise excessively or use laxatives, diuretics or diet pills to purge weight or calories.

Binge Eating Disorder – This disorder involves eating very large amounts of food rapidly (to the point of feeling sick or uncomfortable). These episodes of bingeing occur frequently. When binge eating, a person feels like they cannot stop eating or control what or how much is eaten.

For additional information please visit the following websites:

If you would like additional information or to set an appointment please call CAPS at (805) 437-2088.