As the world normalizes post Covid – 19 era, the effects of the pandemic are here to stay. With adverse effects on health, economy, travel, schools and all areas, eating disorder is a medical condition that has also felt an impact.
Numerous studies have shown that during the pandemic more adolescents having more eating disorders. The number of medical cases have an upward trajectory both for malnutrition and overeating.
The challenge however, has been the single focus on the pandemic leaving out other conditions. Adolescents who seek medical support face limited preparation for this condition.
These increase in eating disorder cases has direct relation to schools closing, restriction on games, travelling and isolation in homes common as quarantine.
In addition, fear of Covid – 19 transmissions from person to person has the effect of reduced cases reported as people seek home remedies that may not necessarily be effective.
Below have been the results of Covid – 19 on eating disorders
Scheduling appointment virtually
The slow response of eating disorder cases amidst Covid – 19 has seen more virtual sessions with medical practitioners. With technology at hand, more adolescents have been seeking appointments online for therapy and treatment. Virtual dates and meetings also rose with more meeting online to catch up and remain social
Stocking food more than usual
Lock downs made most families stock more food in homes for fear of lack leading to more access of meals anytime. With increasing time spend around food had an influence on eating behaviors such as binge eating.
Limitation of exercises
The wide spread banning of physical activities led to reducing out door exercising activities leading to weight increase.
Media use increase
More time spent indoor had an increase in media exposure and food advertising which may have an influence on eating habits leading to eating disorders.
The pandemic came a lot of uncertainties with fear on the duration of adverse effects. Stress triggers eating disorders due to anxiety.
Lack of control
Loss of control and lack of a strict schedule is one factor with an influence to overeating. This effect is mostly on children and adolescent who now feel in charge
Change of dietary habits
Most dietary habits are made from habitual decisions based on day to day activities. The habits picked during the pandemic in a way affected eating times and diets due to available time in homes and the accessible meals
One challenges has been balancing needs of eating disorder person and the rest of the family members. As such family has been forced to cope and adopt homemade strategies such as exercising together, diet control, having meal plans among others. However, this has been resulting in increased burden for carers and changing family dynamics
The need to raise awareness of eating disorders during this pandemic is a key requirement. It should begin from individual, families and support groups. In addition, the help of a medical expert is key in ensuring you recover fully.