Skip navigation to content

Eating Disorders

We all vary in the foods we like, how much we eat and when we like to eat.  It is not unusual to experiment with different eating habits, for example you may have decided to become a vegetarian or tried to change your diet to improve your health.  However, some eating patterns can cause damage.

Problems with food can begin when it is used to cope with those times when you are bored, anxious, angry, lonely, ashamed or sad.  Food becomes a problem, perhaps without you even realising it, when it is used to help you to cope with painful situations or feelings, or to relieve stress.   If this is how you deal with emotions and feelings and you are unhappy about it, then you should try to talk to someone you trust.  Try not to bottle things up - this is not helpful to you or people around you.  It won't make you feel any better and the problem is unlikely to go away.

It is unlikely that an eating disorder will result from a single cause. It is much more likely to be a combination of many factors, events, feelings or pressures which lead you to feeling unable to cope. These factors can include:

  •  low self-esteem
  •  family relationships
  •  problems with friends
  •  the death of someone special
  •  problems at University
  •  lack of confidence
  •  sexual or emotional abuse.

Many people talk about simply feeling 'too fat' or 'not good enough'.  Often people with an eating disorder say that the eating disorder is the only way they feel they can stay in control of their life.  But as time goes on, it isn't really you who is in control - it is the eating disorder. Some people also find they are affected by an urge to harm themselves or misuse alcohol or drugs. You may find that, in common with many other people, you experience feelings of despair and shame. You may feel like a failure or feel a lack of control because you cannot, on your own, overcome these feelings about food.

You are welcome to come to ( talk to one of our Advisers or Counsellors, perhaps just for some initial advice or if you feel you want to take things further.  You can drop in to make an appointment either at The ASC (The Advice and Support Centre) at 79 North Street, or our offices at Eden Court on The Scores.   Alternatively, you can:-

Phone: 01334 462020


Book an appointment with a Support Adviser via our Online Booking System



You may find the following e-books helpful:-

Demystifying anorexia nervosa : an optimistic guide to understanding and healing

Healing the hurt within : understand self-injury and self harm,and heal the emotional wounds

How to be your own therapist : a step-by-step guide and self-harm, and heal the emotional wounds

Overcoming body image disturbance : a programme for people with eating disorders

Overcoming your eating disorder : a cognitive-behavioural treatment for bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder

The invisible man: a self-help guide for men with eating disorders, compulsive exercising and bigorexia

What's your body telling you? tuning in to your body's signals to stop anxiety, erase self-doubt,and achieve true wellness

(Please note:- Whilst Student Services has obtained permission to provide these links, we cannot accept responsibility for their content.)


Library Books

Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e), U Schmidt, J Treasure (Psychology Press)

Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa, Freeman & Cooper (Constable & Robinson)

Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating, Peter Cooper (Constable & Robinson)

Anorexia Nervosa: a survival guide for families, friends and sufferers, J Treasure

Overcoming binge eating, by C Fairburn

Read about a fellow student's experience of anorexia (PDF, 202 KB)


Useful Websites

Royal College of Psychiatrists A leaflet containing more information on eating disorders

Beat Support and information for young adults with eating disorders 

Your GP may be able to offer support.

If you would like to speak to someone get in touch with Student Services where our professional staff will listen non-judgementally and offer help and advice if needed.  All enquiries to Student Services are treated confidentially. 


Student Services

To contact Student Services, you can drop in to make an appointment either at The ASC (The Advice and Support Centre) at 79 North Street, or our offices at Eden Court on The Scores.   Alternatively, you can:-

Phone: 01334 462020




Advice and Support Centre
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: 01334 462020
Fax:01334 461716


Student services

Eden Court
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AS
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: 01334 462720
Fax:01334 464007

Eden Court location map

  • Book an Appointment online
  • External links