What should I do if I think I might have an eating disorder?
If you or somone you know is concerned about having an eating disorder, please contact the Dartmouth College Health Service. To schedule an appointment with the dietician or a medical provider in the Primary Care Department, call 603-646-9401. To schedule a counseling appointment, please call 603-646-9442.
Who are the members of the Nutritional Wellness Team (NWT)?
The Nutritional Wellness Team consists of a multidisciplinary staff including the following:
- Health Service medical providers
- Health Service dietitians
- Health Service mental health counselors
- Health Service athletic trainer
What does an assessment with the Nutritional Wellness team involve?
In order to determine appropriate treatment needs, a comprehensive assessment needs to be conducted. This assessment will include:
- A medical evaluation with a primary care provider
- A mental health assessment with a mental health counselor
- A dietary assessment with a dietitian
After the student has completed the above assessments, the NWT will meet to discuss their overall assessment of the student and to develop individualized treatment recommendations. Depending on the student's level of need, services may be provided by the team, the student may be referred to community-based treatment resources, or in some rare instances, the student may be encourged to take a medical leave of absence from the college to seek more intensive treatment.
It is important to note that not every assessment will result in a student being followed by the NWT; results from some assessments suggest that students may not need a multidisciplinary treatment approach for their eating disorder. However, for cases that do, the NWT communicates with students-- as part of their informed consent to treatment-- about ways the NWTcan offer support as they engage in eating disorder treatment.
What can I expect if the Nutritional Wellness Team provides services to me?
If services are provided via the treatment team, you can expect appointments with a therapist, dietitian, and medical provider. The NWT collaborates to provide the following support services:
- Nutrition: Provide education about healthy eating and the impact of certain behaviors upon health and wellness. Nutrition counseling often incorporates skills to support long term work, intuitive eating and improving one's relationship relationship with food. In many circumstances, individualzed meal plans will be developed to assist the student in developing healthy eating habits. Additionally, nutrition counseling may offer support to explore body image and foster body positivity.
- Mental Health: Develop strategies for changing the behavior patterns that contribute to disordered eating. Additionally, co-occurring problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, etc.) that contribute to disordered eating may be addressed.
- Medical: Management of any medical consequences of disordered eating, prescribing medication if necessary, regular weight checks if appropriate, assessing lab results, and vitals.
- NOTE: When students are referred to mental health community providers, the team asks students to complete a Release of Information (ROI) for continuity of care.
What if I need more intensive or ongoing treatment?
There may be times when recommendations will be made for the student to pursue intensive outpatient treatment, residential based treatment, or hospitalization. These recommendations will be determined by the treatment team at the time of assessment, as well as reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Will my parents/family know that I am receiving services?
If you are 18 or over, all services are confidential. Exceptions to confidentiality are rare and specifically mandated by law and professional ethics. We make sure to review confidentiality during our first contact with all students and are available to answer any questions about confidentiality as they may arise in the course of treatment. However, we invite and encourage students to maintain open dialogue with parents/family members due to the potential serious nature of eating disorders.
When students find that thoughts of food, body, weight or exercise are taking up more space and time than is desirable, we encourage them to seek help. If you are unclear as to whether your thoughts and behaviors may be leading you toward disordered eating and exercise patterns, please consider taking the following self-assessment.
If you have additional questions, pleaes contact Primary Care at (603) 646-9401.