Eating Concerns



Everyday life is stressful, and sometimes you might feel that your weight is one of the few things you can control. Although reasonably limiting your calories and increasing your exercise may be good for your mind and body, these healthy behaviors can become harmful if you drive yourself too hard. Eating disorders, obsessive dieting, and excessive concern about your weight can strip the joy from your life and lead to serious medical problems.

Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship with Food

  1. Do you feel that food controls your life?
  2. Do you have the impulse to vomit after eating?
  3. Do you use laxatives to control your weight or shape?
  4. Do you go on eating binges and feel like you can't stop?
  5. Does exercise replace other activities such as classes, social events, or meals?

How CMHS and Health Services Can Help

Our clinical staff is skilled in the evaluation of eating concerns. You can come in on your own or upon the recommendation of someone who is concerned about youa coach, friend, dean, advisor, or parent, for instance. You can start with either Health Services or CMHS.

The initial evaluation includes a detailed discussion of your concerns and health status. At Health Services, you will probably also receive a physical examination and possibly lab work as well. Following this evaluation, we will have a better idea of the status of your health, and at that point your CMHS or Health Services clinician will tailor a treatment plan for you.

If you have a significant eating disorder, we may take a team approach to giving you the treatment you need. The team may include a medical clinician, a mental health counselor, and a nutritionist. We can give you information about nutritionists in the local area.

If You Are Worried about a Friend's Unhealthy Eating

  • Talk to your friend. Let them know that you are concerned about them, and describe what you have noticed. Gently encourage them to make an appointment with Health Services or CMHS.

  • Ask a counselor about how to approach your friend. Feel free to consult with a CMHS counselor for guidance and support about how to talk with your friend.

  • Try not to worry about your friend's reaction. Your friend might not acknowledge what you say, but knowing you are concerned will have an impact. Remind yourself that you are being a compassionate, caring friend.

  • Talk to someone who can intervene. If you are worried about your friend's safety, speak to someone at the Dean of Student Affairs office. If appropriate, they will work to ensure that your friend has an evaluation. 

  • Get support for yourself. Having a friend with a mental health concern—including an eating disordercan be stressful. Please consider obtaining support for yourself so that you can take care of your own well being. Your friends and family may support you, as can a counselor at CMHS.

Additional Information

For more information, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) provides free, anonymous services online:


Mental Health Emergencies
Emergencies During Regular Office Hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday)

Contact emergency services through the CMHS front office at 617-627-3360.

After-Hours Emergencies (5 p.m. to 9 a.m. and on weekends)

For mental health crises, the after-hours Counselor on Call can be reached by dialing CMHS at 617-627-3360 and following the prompts. For more information, please visit our Mental Health Emergencies page.