Eating disorders in COVID-19

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Eating disorders are one of the most deadly mental health conditions, killing 10,200 people each year. This is one death every 52 minutes.

Also, misunderstandings and social disgrace surrounding eating disorders (such as only women suffering from eating disorders and eating disorders are a lifestyle rather than a serious medical condition) are the decisions that many people seek help with. Is hindering.

The additional stress of the COVID-19 pandemic only contributes to the severity of the disease, as eating disorders, and disordered eating behavior prosper in social isolation and the lack of structure that the virus has brought to our lives. I will.

“As a result, eating disorders are increasing during pandemics,” said Dr. Joyce Corsica, director of outpatient psychotherapy and weight loss psychology at Rush.

In fact, according to the National Association of Eating Disorders, hotline calls have increased by 40% since March 2020, so it’s important to know when to seek help.

Corsica and clinical dietitian Molly Deplanger, MS, RD share the unique challenges faced by people with eating disorders and how to deal with this difficult time.

Definition of eating disorders

Eating disorders are complex and affect all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.

These are the most commonly known eating disorders:

  1. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss, restricted eating behavior, and difficulty in maintaining proper weight based on height and age.
  2. Bulimia nervosa is characterized by a cycle of binge eating and purging (laxative use, self-induced vomiting and / or compulsive exercise).
  3. Binge eating is characterized by repeated episodes of eating large amounts of food and feeling out of control. This may be followed by feelings of guilt and shame.
  4. Eating disorders that are not specifically specified, or more commonly known as eating disorders, have many irregular eating behaviors, such as repeated overeating during boredom, depression, or stress. May be included. Skip a meal; or limit major food groups such as fats and carbohydrates. In many cases, eating disorders can lead to specific eating disorders.

“It doesn’t matter if you meet the full criteria for eating disorders,” says Corsica. “Behavior is important. If you routinely engage in uncontrolled diets or compensatory behaviors such as laxative misuse, compulsive exercise, fasting, and self-induced vomiting. That becomes a problem and helps. It’s time to ask for. “

Effects of eating disorders

Eating disorders can affect emotional, mental and physical health and can lead to serious health concerns and death if not addressed.

Eating disorders can also affect all organ systems in the body, including the cardiovascular system, nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and endocrine system.

Depending on the particular type, eating disorders may be associated with the following health complications:

  • heart failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • anemia
  • kidney failure
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Inflammation and rupture of the esophagus
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (decreased bone density)
  • Sleep apnea

All eating disorders can be associated with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. In fact, studies show that up to 20% of people with anorexia nervosa attempt suicide attempts, and up to 60% of people with eating disorders engage in suicidal ideation or suicidal behavior.

“Eating disorders are very serious,” says Corsica. “It is important for those who are suffering to get the help they need.”

Eating disorders and social isolation

COVID-19 forced us to spend more time at home. And for many people with eating disorders and poor eating habits, social isolation can be a trigger.

“Social isolation allows people with eating disorders to focus more on negative thoughts about their body and personally engage in eating disorder behaviors, such as bulimia nervosa and restriction. You can, “says Corsica.

Being at home means less activity without the kitchen.

“Most of the time we are exposed to food because many of us work from home,” says De Prenger. “This can be especially stressful for people with bulimia or those who have trouble eating.”

DePrenger suggests moving to a room or location away from the kitchen. This allows you to feel more comfortable and stick to a structured meal time, as recommended by a nutritionist.

Impact of social media

Social media is also an important catalyst for people suffering from eating habits. Corsica states that social media can affect people’s emotional functioning, food relationships, physical activity, and body image, especially through social comparisons.

Research JMIR Publications We investigated the effects of COVID-19 pandemics and social media on participants with eating behavioral disorders. Researchers have found that the majority of participants reported adverse effects on their mental health and increased their chaotic feeding behavior.

DePrenger adds that many people and businesses have recently posted on social media about how comfort food and alcohol can help address the uncertainty of living out of a pandemic. But the reality is actually quite different.

“In many cases, participating in these dietary behaviors isn’t what many brands, businesses, and influencers have promised, and can be guilty and embarrassing,” says De Prenger. “This message can be really confusing and stressful for people with eating disorders.”

Healthy way to deal with

As a society, our focus during the pandemic was to contain COVID-19. However, there are millions of men and women who are suffering from eating disorders and dietary disorders at the same time. The number continues to grow.

Our experts propose the following healthy coping strategies for people with eating disorders.

  • Recognize when there is a problem. Identifying the problem can be the most difficult part of an eating disorder. Physical and emotional signs include weight fluctuations, weight, food, calories, being absorbed in body image, performing food rituals, staying away from sociable dietary events and activities, and controlling. You may feel impossible.
  • Identify what your body needs. If you’re struggling to stick to structured meal times, check for hungry clues (stomach growls, low energy, concentration problems) and be honest about what you’re feeling. Please give me. That way, you can work on what you really need at that moment.
  • Keep a diary. Journals are a good way to express your feelings and help identify what you are experiencing. If you’re having a hard time triggering thoughts or situations, go back and refer to the journal.
  • Remake your thoughts. When trying out new coping strategies, remember the moments you are working on to improve your health and well-being.
  • Create a list of activities. When it’s not time to eat, try new activities that can help you care for your body and soul. Activities include walking, telephone conversations with friends, diaries, housekeeping, and healthy exercise such as yoga and meditation.
  • Don’t be afraid to change the environment. Some places in the house, such as the kitchen, can be the trigger. Try changing your environment so that you can spend the whole day comfortably, especially when it’s not time to eat.
  • Identify the support system. Find someone who makes you feel safe and supported while traveling with an eating disorder or an eating disorder. Consider joining a virtual support group with people who can be involved in your food concerns.
  • Reach out for help. Asking for help is important, and sharing your experience can contribute to your progress and others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can save your life.

COVID-19 pandemic is associated with 6 unhealthy eating behaviors

Provided by Rush University Medical Center

Quote: Eating disorders during COVID-19 (April 23, 2021) were obtained from on April 23, 2021. Ta

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Eating disorders in COVID-19

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