More than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders, and these tendencies can be exacerbated due to the coronavirus. The difficulty of accessing specific foods and the discourse surrounding weight gain in quarantine can make those who struggle with eating disorders feel out of control and helpless. COVID-19 can be a nightmare for them because of the following triggers:
· Empty grocery shelves
· Feelings of uncertainty and loss of control
· Social media messages about avoiding the “Quarantine 15” pound weight gain are especially harmful to those with existing eating disorders.
Some of the facts about eating disorders are sobering:
· 9% of the US population will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime
· Almost 1% of us suffer from anorexia nervosa
· Between 2-3% of us have bulimia nervosa
· Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder. Unlike more widely known eating disorders which disproportionately effect women, 40% of those with BED are men.
· 10% of those with eating disorders lose their lives as a result
· Eating disorders are second only to opioid overdose as the deadliest mental illnesses
· About 26% of people with eating disorders attempt suicide
However, if you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, talking to a licensed professional and receiving treatment can help.