As families across the world are grappling with the short and long term impacts of coronavirus, social distancing, and state-wide stay at home orders, these measures are likely having an outsize effect on individuals and families dealing with an eating disorder.
Individuals struggling with an eating disorder are often also grappling with anxiety and depression, which can be activated and worsened by uncertainty. Seemingly simple tasks like meal planning and grocery shopping are already difficult for many people in recovery; these challenges are made worse by food shortages, long lines at the grocery store, and lost income. For those with a history of food insecurity, restrictive dieting, or binge eating, both empty aisles and stock-piled kitchen pantries can be triggers for engaging in eating disorder behaviors.
Reach Out for More Support
It’s so important to remember during these challenging times that you are not alone in this struggle. Social distancing does not have to result in social isolation, and for many with eating disorders avoiding isolation is key to recovery.
For those struggling with an eating disorder, it is essential to stay connected to the recovery community and their treatment team. As fat-phobic messages abound on social media about “the quarantine 15” and the “corona diet,” it is more important than ever to curate a recovery-minded social media feed. The Health at Every Size community has stepped up to increase access to virtual eating disorder support at this time, including free meal support through instagram.
At Center for Discovery, we continue to provide assessments and admissions for all levels of care for adolescents and adults for both traditional in-person and virtual treatment. Many of our residential locations continue to operate with appropriate precautions and outpatient locations have transitioned to providing virtual support.
There is no denying that this epidemic will have long lasting impacts for our community and the world at large, but at least we can take comfort in knowing that we are all in this together.
Vaughn Darst is a Registered Dietitian with Center For Discovery who specializes in treating eating disorders in gender diverse communities. Vaughn’s main areas of focus are gender affirmative nutrition support, intuitive eating, Health at Every Size®, and body liberation advocacy.