Problematic eating habits and eating disorders
If you notice that you have a problematic relationship with food, you could have an eating disorder. You can find information here on signs of eating disorders, what you can do and when and how to go about seeking help.
A person with an eating disorder usually thinks a lot about their body, weight and food – for example when and what to eat. These thoughts are often negative and tend to take up a large part of daily life as well as affect the person’s mental, physical and social well-being.
Signs of eating disorders
- The negative thoughts about your body shape and food take a lot of strength and energy.
- Even if your physical appearance and weight look healthy, you are critical and unhappy with your body (for example, by way of disgust and self-loathing) and your body shape determines your self-worth.
- You may try to dispose of the calories you have ingested, for example, through excessive exercise (often compulsively), self-induced vomiting, fasting or a restrictive diet.
- You have a very strong fear of weight gain and a keen desire to lose weight.
- You categorise food as forbidden/dangerous in relation to food that is allowed.
- You may experience anxiety from eating normal-sized portions.
- It is not unusual to have strong cravings to binge eat foods that you consider to be unhealthy. Many people feel that they lose control over their eating.
It is not uncommon for students to think about their weight, try different diets or workouts, or feel guilty after eating something unhealthy. But that does not mean that everyone develops an eating disorder.
However, if you think about your body a lot and what you eat in a negative way, you could have an eating disorder. If so, you can contact the Student Health Centre for help and support. It is a good idea to seek help as soon as possible. The more time that passes, the more difficult it can be to overcome the problem.
If you suspect that you have, or are developing an eating disorder, you can take a SCOFF test. The test can give you an indication of your well-being (rather than an actual diagnosis).
The SCOFF test
The test consists of the following questions:
- Do you ever make yourself sick (vomit) because you feel uncomfortably full?
- Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
- Have you recently lost more than 6 kilograms in a 3 month period?
- Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
- Would you say that food dominates your life?
Each positive answer (yes) counts as 1 point. A score of 2 or more indicates a possible eating disorder. Read on for advice on what you can do yourself and when and where to seek help.
What can I do myself?
You can start by reading and finding information and advice on eating disorders and how they are treated. Read self-help books and avoid information on diets and weight loss. This could be a positive first step towards seeking help.
When should I seek help and where is help available?
Seek professional help as soon as possible if you think that you have an eating disorder. It may be difficult to overcome an eating disorder alone, but it might be possible if you read about eating disorders and change your patterns.
Recognising that you have a problem and that you need outside intervention is a major and important step. In doing so, you have already started the recovery process. If you need support, you can make an appointment with us at the Student Health Centre. However, if you are medically underweight, we will refer you to your health centre instead.
You can find contact details for your closest health centre on 1177.se.
*If you wish to see the results for a specific municipality, for example Lund, you can type in the name of that municipality in the first search field, 'Var vill du söka?' and click 'Sök'.
If you have previously been in touch with psychiatric care for problems with eating disorders and need help again, contact the eating disorder clinic in adult psychiatric care in Region Skåne.
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+46 (0)46-222 43 77
Subject to temporary changes.
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Other healthcare providers are referred to our telephone hours above. Please note that the Student Health Centre does not accept referrals from other healthcare providers.
Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher G. Fairburn (second edition)