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Family Heathcast: Eating disorders during pandemic

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 12:37 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The pandemic has caused a spike in anxiety and depression for many people.

A new study claims that has led to an increase in symptoms of eating disorders.

Eating disorders thrive on secrecy - and pandemic shelter-in-place orders have provided just that for millions.

Lisa Clark, licensed counselor at Waters Edge Counseling said, “suddenly everyone was in isolation, having to change their routine, or having a lack of routine and structure.”

According to a new study in the international journal of eating disorders, many suffering from anorexia have been restricting their eating more during the pandemic.

Others with bulimia and binge-eating disorder are doing just the opposite.

“With the pandemic, people were panicking and going to the grocery store. They were afraid things were going to close down. So now instead of following their normal routine and structure, they have access to food all the time,” said Clark.

Clark said she’s been hearing what the study claims, from her patients who are primarily in the Savannah Georgia area.

“A lot of what we work on is creating a new schedule, kind of like modifying now that life is different. How are you going to maintain some of your positive behaviors?” said Clark.

Clark said she tells her patients to try to get outside regularly. She said it’s also important to socialize - safely - as much as possible.

"You know, get on a zoom call with friends. Talk to other people, you know “how are you doing,” and just stay in touch whether it’s family members or just people in your city who you haven’t been able to see," Clark said.

She said eating disorders are pretty common in Savannah - in part because so many college students call it home for much of the year.

“They struggle with stress and anxiety anyway, and again sometimes food is a way that they can feel they have control.”

If you or someone you know are struggling with an eating disorder you can call the helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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