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Eating disorders are mental and physical disorders that most commonly occur in young people and young adult women. According to a study, 11% of female students and 5% of male students felt that their attitude to food was not normal.

In eating disorders, eating or refusing to eat starts controlling your life and hindering personal relationships and studying, among other things. 

The most common eating disorders are: 

  • Anorexia (anorexia nervosa)
  • Bulimia (bulimia nervosa) 
  • Binge eating disorder (BED).  

Eating disorders can also be atypical in that the symptoms may be a combination of those above.

Several factors, including genetic ones, influence a person’s predisposition to developing an eating disorder. A clear cause is not always found. It is known that mental health issues, overwork and stress may provoke harmful eating habits.


The key is to identify the symptoms and seek help. The treatment of all types of eating disorders is based on a normal attitude to food. Treatment goals include normalizing eating habits, achieving normal weight by changing eating habits, and improving mental and social well-being. 

Healthy eating is regular, adequate, balanced and not over-restrictive. You can find help for symptoms of overeating from the self-care programme by Mielenterveystalo.

When should you seek treatment?

Eating disorders are serious conditions for which help is often required. If you suspect that you have an eating disorder or think that you need help, contact the student healthcare service. 

Treatment of eating disorders

Eating disorders are treated by a multidisciplinary team. At the FSHS this may include a public health nurse, a general practitioner, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Treatment may take place in either outpatient or inpatient care, depending on the needs and availability. Outpatient care is the primary treatment option. 

Minor disorders may be resolved already during a few guidance and monitoring visits, but students can be referred for specialist care if necessary. 

Information sources: The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim: Terveysportti, KOTT 2016

FSHS Public health nurse / 20 June 2023

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