How isolation is impacting people with eating disorders
Mental health experts estimate that approximately 30 million people in the united states will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. The Founder of Eating Disorders Information Network, Dr. Dina Zeckhausen, says people with eating disorders triggers will worsen by being forced into isolation, such as during this pandemic.
"We all need to be aware that this can be a really tough time for people who are struggling with addictions," Dr. Zeckhausen said.
Even as stay-at-home orders begin to lift, the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health is still very real.
"The isolation, the lack of control, the lack of predictability and feeling trapped can really exacerbate people's tendencies towards being self-destructive," Dr. Zeckhausen said.
The American Psychiatric Association says eating disorders are illnesses in which the person experiences severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and are characterized by an obsession with food and weight.
"Even though eating disorders appear to be about food and eating, they're actually attempts to numb, manage and control uncomfortable emotions." Dr. Zeckhausen said.
Dr. Zeckhausen says one of the biggest stressors for this group is isolation.
Dina Zeckhausen/"Often we talk about eating disorders as a voice in your head, or a relationship you have with this voice in your head, and the antidote is to have relationships with real human beings. and when a person is isolated they're more likely to turn to the voice in their head for comfort and connection."
With the increasing use of telemedicine during this time, Zeckhausen says many therapists, dieticians and group sessions have moved online. If you are someone you know might be struggling with an eating disorder, know you do not need to suffer alone. To find a professional in your area to connect with or for immediate health, visit nationaleatingdisorder.org.