Students ask for more discussions during National Eating Disorders Awareness week

. - With various forms of social media, it can be tough to live up to what's considered to be the perfect body type, and that could mean dangerous diets.

As part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, the University of Arizona stepped up their efforts to help students feel better in their own skin with their annual Body Smart Day, Wednesday. Feb. 24.

Several students, mostly young women, said they have either personally experienced some sort of eating disorder or engaged in an unhealthy diet or know someone who has.

"As a student myself, I found myself having a binge eating problem my first two years of college," said Jaclyn Cubillas, a junior transfer student at the University of Arizona. "It definitely takes an emotional toll when people do discriminate against you
because of the way you look or your weight."

According to the National Eating Disorders Association's website , 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life.

Dr. Gayle Masterson, director of the eating recovery program at Sierra Tucson, said binge eating is now an actual eating disorder diagnosis, which was recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in May 2013.

Masterson also said there are some eating behaviors like orthorexia, an obsession with eating healthy foods, that are becoming more prevalent and more alarming.

"We're seeing people that are adhering very strictly to diets such as gluten-free or eliminating whole categories of foods and saying that they're being healthy," said Masterson. "But really it's in the service of an eating disorder."

Masterson has also been seeing concerns regarding people with insulin dependent diabetes who, after over-eating or after binging, will intentionally not give themselves the insulin they may need.

For some students, it's the emotional impact that comes with an eating disorder that is even tougher to endure.

"My sister had an eating disorder so it was definitely something personal," said U of A student Fallyn Crockett. "I didn't even know that it was happening. It made me feel like a terrible person because I could've done something."

Masterson said eating disorders are typically accompanied by other issues, such as mood disorders and trauma. For those who are in need of help or want to help others, she said it starts with compassion.

"It's difficult for a lot of people to even know where to start," said Masterson. "It's not about the food, but it's about feeding. These are patterns that are actually related to how people interact with other people."

For more information on eating disorders, CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.