Blog post written by Lynn Crilly, author of Hope with Eating Disorders.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, eating disorder cases have risen tremendously, especially in younger children. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health snapshot survey suggests in some parts of Great Britain doctors have seen a three or four-fold increase in cases compared to last year.
Eating disorders often stem from trauma, stress, anxiety and feeling out of control; the coronavirus pandemic has reinforced a lot of these negative emotions. Isolation from friends during school closures, exam cancellations, loss of extra-curricular activities like sport, and an increased use of social media could all be credited with the rise in those suffering. Sadly, reduced access to face-to-face therapy and support may have led to young people becoming severely ill by the time they were able to be seen by a professional.
As a mental health counsellor myself, I have also seen a rise in those relapsing from their recovery. The worry the beginning of the pandemic brought, with fears of food shortages, lack of face-to-face support and therapy, the dramatic change in people’s routine and the constant uncertainty have severely impacted those who were on a good recovery path prior to the pandemic.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, there is a lot of help and support online; the charity SANE have some wonderful services to guide you in the right direction for help and support – “Although our previous SANEline number cannot operate at the moment, you can leave a message on 07984 967 708 giving your first name and a contact number, and one of our professionals or senior volunteers will call you back as soon as practicable. You can also contact us, as before, through our Support Forum, Textcare and other services.”