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How Eating Disorders Have Been Escalated Since the Pandemic

It is no secret that the pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health. Whether it be an increase in depression and anxiety, substance abuse, or even eating disorders, COVID-19 has taken a major toll on our society. Our team of Licensed Clinical Psychologists at Blair Wellness Group has seen a surge in the number of patients with Eating Disorders in recent months and in this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why this may be the case and offer some solutions. Learn more and get in touch with our team for the treatment of Eating Disorders in Beverly Hills, CA today!

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating Disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits. There are three main types: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Individuals with Eating Disorders typically have a distorted body image and believe that they are overweight or obese, even when they are not. They may go to great lengths to lose weight, such as starving themselves or exercising excessively. They may also engage in purging behaviors, such as vomiting or using laxatives, to get rid of the food they have eaten.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a serious Eating Disorder that affects approximately 0.25% of the population. It is characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image. Individuals with this disorder often starve themselves or exercise excessively in order to lose weight. They may also engage in purging behaviors, such as vomiting or using laxatives, to get rid of the food they have eaten.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is a type of serious Eating Disorder characterized by bingeing and purging. It affects approximately two percent of the population. Bingeing refers to eating a large amount of food in a short period of time, often to the point of feeling uncomfortably full. Purging means getting rid of the food you have eaten by vomiting, using laxatives, or exercising excessively. People with Bulimia Nervosa may do either one or both of these things after they binge.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common type of Eating Disorder. It is characterized by episodes of bingeing without any purging behaviors. During a binge episode, someone with BED will eat an excessive amount of food within a short period of time and will feel out of control. They may feel ashamed or embarrassed about their behavior and often eat in secret. Unlike people with Bulimia Nervosa, those with BED typically do not try to lose weight.

What Causes Eating Disorders?

There is no one answer to this question as each individual’s case is unique. However, there are certain risk factors that may increase someone’s chances of developing an Eating Disorder. These include things like genetics, personality traits, and environmental factors. Additionally, many people with Eating Disorders have experienced trauma or abuse in their lives.

What Are the Risks Associated With Untreated Eating Disorders?

The risks associated with untreated Eating Disorders can be serious and even life-threatening. Some of the dangers include:

  • Malnutrition or starvation
  • Electrolyte imbalances, which can cause heart problems, seizures, or death
  • Damage to organs such as the liver or kidneys
  • Increased risk of suicide
  • Gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain, bacterial infections, blocked intestines, and more
  • Neurological issues that can impact every part of the body’s function
  • Damage to the endocrine system which affects sex hormones, menstruation, and reproduction

Signs You May Have an Eating Disorder

If you are worried that you may have an Eating Disorder, there are some signs to look out for. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but common signs include excessive weight loss or gain, regularly engaging in unhealthy eating habits, obsessing over food and calories, feeling ashamed or guilty about eating, and experiencing irregular periods or other changes in your body. Reach out to Blair Wellness Group today to learn more about the signs and symptoms of an Eating Disorder and to get treatment today. 

How Has the Pandemic Affected Eating Disorders?

While each person’s experience and Eating Disorder is unique, we can pinpoint a few potential reasons why we may be seeing a surge in the number of people with Eating Disorders since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • The stress of the pandemic has led to increased anxiety and depression, which can trigger or exacerbate Eating Disorders.
  •  Many people are now staying at home for long periods of time, which can lead to isolation and feelings of loneliness. This can trigger or exacerbate Eating Disorders.
  • There is a lot of pressure to stay thin in today’s society, and this pressure has been amplified by the pandemic.
  • The lack of access to healthy food due to grocery store closures and panic buying has contributed to unhealthy eating habits and weight gain in some individuals.
  • Routines and diets have been disrupted, and constraints to outdoor activities may increase weight and size concerns.
  • Fear of contagion has led to emotional distress, which can manifest as Eating Disorders.

Increased Demand But Limited Access to Care

Due to the pandemic, there has been an increased demand for Eating Disorder treatment, but limited access to care. This has created a backlog of patients waiting for treatment, and some people may be struggling without any assistance. This puts patients in a dangerous position because the longer an eating disorder goes on, the more damage it can cause. 

What Can Be Done?

If you are struggling with an Eating Disorder, the best thing you can do is seek professional help as soon as possible. Our Licensed Clinical Psychologists at Blair Wellness Group specialize in the treatment of Eating Disorders and can help you address the underlying causes of your disorder. We offer a variety of evidence-based treatments, including individual treatment, group treatment, and family treatment. Contact us today to learn more!

Our team of Licensed Clinical Psychologists at Blair Wellness Group are experienced, skilled, knowledgeable, and dedicated to helping provide you with individualized treatment for your Eating Disorders. When you work with us, we’ll sit down with you to determine which treatment or combination of treatments will lead to the best results. Reach out to us in Beverly Hills and Orange County, CA to learn more about Eating Disorders or to get help now!

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