Starting the journey of eating disorder recovery in college can be both challenging and transformative. For students in Virginia, it’s crucial to recognize the signs that you may need support, understand the available resources, and build a strong treatment team. This blog aims to guide Virginia college students through the process of navigating eating disorder recovery, providing valuable insights into seeking help and building a supportive network. Keep reading to learn about on-campus eating disorder resources in Virginia.
4 Signs a College Student May Need Eating Disorder Support
Recognizing the signs of an eating disorder is the first step toward seeking help. Here are 4 common indicators that you or someone you know may be struggling…
1. Changes in Eating Habits
Drastic changes in eating patterns, such as dieting, feeling you have to earn food by exercise, or secretive eating.
2. Physical Changes
Changes in skin, hair, or nails, frequent illness, disrupted menstrual cycles, and complaints of fatigue or dizziness.
**Please note that individuals with an eating disorder sometimes do NOT experience physical changes. This does not mean they don’t still have an eating disorder or need help.**
3. Social Withdrawal
Avoiding social situations involving food, isolation from friends or family, and increased irritability.
4. Obsessive Thoughts About Body Image
A preoccupation with weight, body shape, or appearance, leading to anxiety and distress.
University-Based Resources for Virginia College Students
Now that we’ve discussed what a successful treatment team looks like, you may be wondering how you should assemble this team. Fortunately, many of VA’s universities have student health or wellness centers that offer various types of mental health resources and counseling. Below, we have listed the counseling centers for 4 of VA’s biggest colleges and universities.
1. Virginia Tech Cook Counseling Center
Located at Virginia Tech, the Cook Counseling Center provides mental health services, including counseling for students struggling with eating disorders. The Cook Center also offers various student-focused workshops and outreach programs to teach students mental health tools. You can find their website here.
2. University of Virginia (UVA) Counseling and Psychological Services
UVA’s Counseling and Psychological Services offers counseling services for students dealing with various mental health concerns, including eating disorders. They provide free, 24/7 access to virtual mental health services in addition to in-person counseling. You can find their website here.
3. James Madison University (JMU) Counseling Center
JMU’s Counseling Center provides individual mental health services for students, including counseling for eating disorders. Staff can also assist students in finding a local, community-based clinician if needed. You can find their website here.
4. William & Mary Tyler Mcleod Wellness Center
W&M’s Tyler Mcleod Wellness center is home to the college’s counseling and student health center. At the Wellness center, students can be prescribed medication and receive free therapeutic services. You can find their website here.
Non-University Based Resources for Virginia College Students
If for any reason, your university’s mental health resources don’t work for you and you are interested in seeking outside help we have also compiled a list of non-university based resources.
5. Finding Therapists and Counselors
Online directories like Psychology Today can help you find therapists and counselors near your college campus who specialize in eating disorders.
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) provides an online directory of providers who specialize solely in eating disorder treatment.
6. Nutrition Therapy and Support Groups
ANAD is the leading U.S. non-profit that “provides free, peer support services to anyone struggling with an eating disorder.” ANAD not only has an online directory of eating disorder specialists, but also provides free peer support services for individuals who can’t afford treatment.
Courage to Nourish
Courage to Nourish offers individual nutrition therapy and support groups for college students in recovery. Virtual appointments are offered throughout Virginia. We have an office in Alexandria, Virginia, and College Park and Columbia, Maryland.
Final Thoughts on On-Campus Eating Disorder Resources in VA
Navigating eating disorder recovery in college is a journey that takes courage. Recognizing the signs, accessing resources in Virginia, and building a supportive treatment team are essential steps toward healing. Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are dedicated professionals and organizations ready to support you on your path to recovery. You are not alone in this journey.
Courage to Nourish is a group of eating disorder specialized dietitians. We have in person locations in Alexandria, Virginia, Columbia, Maryland. and College Park, Maryland. We offer virtual services across the state of Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. We offer individual nutrition therapy. As well as support groups. We would love to guide you in building a better relationship with food.
Emilee Young, RD, LD, is an eating disorder dietitian who serves Alexandria, VA, Richmond, VA, Charlottesville, VA, Norfolk, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, and Roanoke, VA. She provides in person services in our Alexandria, VA office and virtual services elsewhere. Emilee also sees clients who live in Maryland and DC.
Take one of our eating disorder quizzes:
I am a Registered Dietitian dedicated to helping those in recovery. I enjoy helping individuals work towards body acceptance and find food freedom. I am a fat-positive and anti-diet dietitian practicing from an intuitive eating lens. I enjoy working with folks who struggle with binge eating disorder (BED). I serve clients virtually and in person throughout DC and Maryland. Growing up in Virginia, I am passionate about supporting clients throughout the greater areas of Richmond, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, and Roanoke.