COVID-19 and Eating Disorders

Wednesday, Sep 22  •  


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our society and disrupt our everyday lives, individuals struggling with disordered eating beliefs and behaviors report feeling more challenged than ever. The circumstances of COVID-19 have created a perfect storm of triggers for those already fighting for their lives and working toward harm reduction. By late May, one-third of Americans were showing signs of clinical anxiety, presumably related to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

For individuals that struggle with challenges related to food, nourishment, body image, exercise, self-view, and the concepts of power, control, perfection, worth, and emotion, things were already difficult. Grocery shopping, which is already a tough experience in eating disorder recovery, is even harder due to the food shortages, behavioral guidelines, and emotional impact of COVID. The already triggering experience of loneliness and isolation is worsened by mandatory quarantining, cancellation of social gatherings, and closing down of businesses.

Individuals in recovery that were bravely engaging in a world filled with diet culture, determined to create new belief systems for themselves, were suddenly in the dark and alone due to the outbreak. Previous recovery skills such as engaging socially, reaching out for support, using distraction skills, exploring identity with activities, and challenging disordered behaviors with eating out with friends and family are all more challenging.

Because of this overwhelming demand for help, coupled with a shortage of trained clinicians and a few outbreaks in treatment centers, many individuals suffering with eating disorders have not been able to get the help they need. Avalon Hills is open, safe, and is still accepting new patients. For information on admissions, give us a call at 866-705-3576 or visit our website.

If you know someone struggling with an eating disorder who is not able to receive treatment in this difficult time, reachout out is just as simple as it sounds. Check-in with those you are worried about. Without judgment, assumption, or expectation, ask them how this pandemic, and the changes related to it, are impacting their thoughts, emotions, daily routine, feelings of control and stability, and anything else related to their recovery.   

Just reaching out and starting the conversation can remind them that their recovery and their safety is important to not only them but to others as well. It can serve as a reminder that they are not alone. 

We all have been challenged in some way or another during this pandemic. By reaching out to others, serving them, and loving them, you may find peace in the midst of these unprecedented times.