According to psychiatrists from the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, GP’s and eating disorder services have reported a large increase in eating disorders during the pandemic.
Eating disorders impact a person’s attitudes and behaviours towards food. Experts in these disorders have stated that anxiety caused by the pandemic is leading to relapses in eating disorders, and the lack of in-person appointments with GP’s is leading to difficulties in diagnosing these issues.
The pandemic has intensified people’s behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately in some cases, triggered eating disorder habits results in the relapse of certain eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia or binge eating disorders. There has been a sense of feeling trapped and feeling that things are out of control and chaotic. Increased eating disorder thoughts make it hard to concentrate on other things, resulting in the controlling behaviours towards food.
A study was conducted in Germany where 159 patients diagnosed with anorexia nervosa took part in an online survey on how the pandemic has affected their eating disorder habits or developed new symptoms.
Results showed that around 70% of patients reported that triggers for their eating disorders worsened during the lockdown. Visits to GP’s decreased by 46% and access to in-person psychotherapies plummeted by 37%. Telephone appointments were used by 35% of patients and videoconference therapy was used by 26%.
Patients who took part in this survey found that having daily routines and participating in enjoyable activities were among the most used coping strategies.
If your suffering from a mental health or eating disorder, please reach out to any of the below charities
Pieta House 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444
BodyWhys (01) 2107906