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  • WELLNESS & FITNESS

  • HEALTH & WELLNESS INFORMATION

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

Moderate drinking is difficult to define because it means different things to different people. The term is often confused with "social drinking," which refers to drinking patterns that are accepted by the society in which they occur. However, social drinking is not necessarily free of problems. Moderate drinking may be defined as drinking that does not generally cause problems, either for the drinker or for society. Since there are clearly both benefits and risks associated with lower levels of drinking, this Alcohol Alert will explore potentially positive and adverse effects of "moderate" drinking. Read more
The U.S. Surgeon General has said, "Smoking cessation (stopping smoking) represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives."

Quitting smoking is not easy, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying quit, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. You'll find this information here

Many people do not understand why individuals become addicted to drugs or how drugs change the brain to foster compulsive drug abuse. They mistakenly view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem and may characterize those who take drugs as morally weak. One very common belief is that drug abusers should be able to just stop taking drugs if they are only willing to change their behavior. What people often underestimate is the complexity of drug addiction—that it is a disease that impacts the brain and because of that, stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower. Through scientific advances we now know much more about how exactly drugs work in the brain, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and resume their productive lives.

Click here for commonly abused prescription drugs and their health effects.

Nutrition

Campus Wellness partners with ECU Business Services to provide a food and beverage vending machine in the Student Recreation Center called “Best Choice Vending.” It’s the only vending machine of its kind on our campus!

Items are selected based on nutritional quality when compared to standard vending snacks. Our beverage machines offer water, flavored water, and a variety of Gatorade flavors. Our food vending offers pretzels, baked chips, dried fruit, trail mix, and nuts. 

By including only healthy snacks,you have it easy when deciding on “the best choice” when it comes to vending options.

Now that you are in college you have a lot more freedom.  Part of that freedom is choosing what and when to eat.  A little planning and some reliable nutrition education can help you make choices that will support your body and mind. 

Learning variety, balance and moderation with all foods can help you get the nutrients necessary for good health while still allowing you to enjoy all foods that you love to eat.

To get your started, read the tips below:

  • Eat Regularly. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in unintended overeating.  Eating regular meals throughout the day will help you maintain your energy and prevent your metabolic rate from lowering.

  • Eat a Variety of Foods. You need more than 40 different nutrients for optimal health and no single food or food group can supply them all. Consuming foods from different food groups, as well as different types of foods within the food groups, will ensure that you are eating a variety of foods.

  • Balance Your Food Choices. About 2/3 of your meal should consist of whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. The remaining 1/3 should consist of lean meat, poultry, fish or other vegetarian protein sources such as beans and nuts.

  • Watch Your Portion Sizes. By keeping portion sizes appropriate, it is possible to eat the foods you enjoy without unwanted weight gain.

  • Drink Plenty of Fluids. Most adults need 1/2 ounce of fluids per pound of body weight to remain adequately hydrated. Water is preferred over most beverages, but you can also get fluids from juices, milk, tea, coffee, soft drinks, etc.

  • Don’t Fall Prey to Diet and Supplement Claims.  If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
For more information, visit: 

Eating disorders can affect anyone at anytime. They are psychological disorders that can result in serious health effects, and require professional treatment. There is generally not one single cause of eating disorders, but is often a combination of long standing behavioral, social, emotional, psychological and interpersonal factors.

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Someone with anorexia will have body image distortion (likely see themselves larger than they are) and an intense fear of gaining weight or maintaining a healthy weight.  

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by cycles of binging (eating large amounts of food in a short period of time) and purging (getting rid of food). There are different forms of purging including self-induced vomiting, fasting or strict dieting, excessive exercise, and abuse of diet pills, laxatives or diuretics.  

Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binging (eating large amounts of food in a short period of time).  

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, take advantage of the campus resources that are free and available to you. Contact Campus Wellness for general information and program requests at 328-5171. 

Students can receive free nutrition counseling by a Registered Dietitian at Student Health Services by calling 328-6841, and free psychological counseling at the Center for Counseling and Student Development by calling 328-6661.

For more information, please visit these websites:

http://www.anad.org/

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

http://www.something-fishy.org/

http://www.nourishingconnections.com/

Body Image is how we see ourselves, think about our bodies, and feel in our own skin. It can relate to any physical characteristic or trait such as weight, shape, size, hair color or texture, skin tone, etc.

A positive body image is defined as seeing yourself as you truly are (no distortion); feeling comfortable in and about your body; not spending a lot of time trying to change your physical body; and appreciating your body as it is and what it does for you.

A negative body image is defined as having a distorted view of your body or specific body part; feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed, or ashamed about your body; spending lots of time, money, or going to extreme measures to changing your body; and believe that a perceived “flaw” is a sign of personal failure.  

Some of the most common influences on body image in today’s society include media (TV, magazines, models, celebrities, and advertisements), peers, family and friends. Many messages that we see and hear tell us that we are not good enough the way that we naturally are, and will be “better” if we change, which contribute to negative body image. 

However, more positive body image messages are appearing in the media that encourage us to celebrate ourselves and our bodies just as we are. Campus Wellness provides educational programs to bring awareness about body image and offers suggestions on how to improve your own body image. 

Additionally, students can also meet with counselors at the Center for Counseling and Student Development to discuss body image concerns.

For more information, please visit these websites.

http://www.bodypositive.com

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

http://www.adiosbarbie.com/

Sexual Health

Your sexual health is important and needs regular maintenance to ensure it remains in good working order. Unfortunately, sex isn’t something that is often openly discussed and talked about. Taking care of your sexual health means that you have a physically and emotionally, enjoyable and satisfying sexual life. 

Things that can impact your sexual health include: 

  • Your desires and feelings
  • Your religious and spiritual beliefs
  • Society expectations
  • Relationships with family and friends
  • The methods of contraception that are available and that you choose to use, if any.
  • Your thoughts and feelings about sex
  • Various health conditions

Having good sexual health means you have the knowledge and skills necessary to make good choices and act responsibly to protect yourself and others. There are various aspects of sexual health, including: 

  • Sexual Development and Function
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Body Image and Self Esteem
  • Intimacy
  • Gender Roles and Identity
  • Sexual Rights
  • Healthy Relationships and Communication
  • Sexual Identity
  • Reproductive Health
  • HIV and STI prevention.

(Adapted from www.smartersex.org, The BACCHUS Network)

Stress Management

College students agree that stress as one of the biggest challenges they face.  With constant classroom assignments, tests, and worry about grades it is no wonder that students experience stress.  Let’s not forget another thing most students have in common, money problems.  Add to the mix, relationships, living arrangements, and the general confusion many students feel about what they want to do after graduation and you have a stress cocktail.  Here are some ideas to help manage stress and some links for more information.

Take care of yourself - Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of rest, and build physical activity into your day. Avoid alcohol and drugs because they can suppress your feelings rather than help you to manage and lessen your distress. In addition, alcohol and drugs may intensify your emotional or physical pain. Establish or reestablish routines such as eating meals at regular times and following an exercise program. If you are having trouble sleeping, try some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. 

Get Enough Sleep- When it comes to balancing busy schedules, students tend to put sleep low on their list of priorities.  Most people need at least 6-9 uninterrupted hours of sleep each night.  Without sleep you’re not going to be able to concentrate well enough to get the most out of your classes.  Using caffeine or other substances to stay awake can backfire by keeping you from sleeping when you want to get some rest. Caffeine can stay in your body up to 12 hours. 

Something bothering you? Talk about it - Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen to your concerns. Receiving support and care can be comforting and reassuring.  ECU has an excellent counseling center at no cost to students. 

Strive for balance - When a stressful situation occurs, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and have a negative or pessimistic outlook. Balance that viewpoint by reminding yourself of people and events which are meaningful and comforting, even encouraging. Striving for balance empowers you and allows for a healthier perspective on yourself and the world around you. 

Respect your feelings - Remember that it is common to have a range of emotions. Try to recognize what you are feeling and stay with the feeling to get to the root of the cause of the discomfort. Go easy on yourself and try to be nonjudgmental. It helps to talk things out with someone who understands and can help you navigate the murky waters of emotional ups and downs. 

Here is a website that can offer you more information. 

http://stress.about.com/od/studentstress/ss/college_stress.htm