Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog
The Curious Case of the Stress Phantom

The Curious Case of the Stress Phantom

How good are you at recognizing when you are under stress? Or do you find it easier to recognize stress in others? And what about the phantom-like stress that goes unnoticed, but slowly causes the resurfacing of anxiety or problematic eating behaviors? If you are heading off to college this fall, we can help you anticipate many stressful situations that may come up, or be swimming under the surface, during these last few lazy summer days.

What to Do About College-Bound Stress

Stress can be good or bad. The excitement of increased independence at college is a positive stress for most, but there are also subtle combinations of good/bad stress when starting college life, such as:
  • New  daily living environments
  • New faces and new relationships
  • Eating and managing meals under new and very different circumstances
  • Finding a new identity as adulthood begins
  • Differently structured classes with more difficult expectations
  • Changing routines, including long nights and interrupted sleep schedules
  • Different expectations or perceived rules in dress, weight, body image and social situations
For many people, college is the time when eating disorders appear. If you are already in recovery, this idea can create extra concerns and insecurities:
Will I be able to manage my anxiety without falling back on purging or restricting? How do I manage to keep my healthy eating patterns when everyone around me doesn’t even think about what or when they eat?
Many old patterns can resurface, and can cause fear of failure. You aren’t alone in these fears, and taking part in Castlewood’s Collegiate Summer Intensive Program allows you to spend time with other college-bound peers with eating disorders. Knowing what your personal stressors are, and creating stress management skills around them, will allow you to effectively manage all types of stress.

Three Important Stress Rules on Campus

  1. Ask for help. Many college campuses now have special services and programs for eating disorders. A major research project instituted by the National Eating Disorder Association brought eating disorders on college campuses into the spotlight. This has resulted in a rapid rise of services readily available for those students, as well as for education and improved resources to address eating disorders on campus.
  2. Practice Health Coping Strategies. Our Collegiate Intensive Program will make sure that you have the right tools you need to anticipate and cope with college stress. If you have been in recovery for a while, you can also practice and review strategies that have been effective in the past. Don’t rely just on favorites, make sure that your tool box is full and open for business.
  3. Call your therapist. The Castlewood clinical team and support staff is as excited as you are about your new college life. We want you to be successful, and to enjoy yourself. But if fears, anxieties and doubts surface, we’re here to help. We’re still here for you.
Take part in our Collegiate IOP track and create your own powerhouse self-care skill set! Call our intake coordinators to find out more about this exciting program or fill out the forms to request more information by email.