During the CDC recommended quarantine for COVID-19, many researchers and mental health experts have noticed that the changes the quarantine has caused in daily life have led to relapsing or lapsing of eating disorders.
Professor Phillipa Hay, a Western Sydney University mental health expert, made note of the sudden rise of eating disorders back in July; “people with eating disorders have a complex problematic relationship with food, and often have very rigid and inflexible eating behaviors.”
Professor Hay then went on to talk about how the social distancing aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic affected sufferers of eating disorders. For people who suffer from anorexia nervosa, the stay-at-home orders may elevate feelings of anxiety and panic, while will lead to feelings of immense sadness.
She also mentioned that for sufferers of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, their unlimited access to food at home “may trigger destructive hoarding behaviors.”
The restrictions of going to in-person treatment programs might also have an effect on sufferers. As group sessions are canceled, and doctors turn to video conferencing as a method to see their patients, “significant changes to [a sufferer’s] regular treatment regime can be very unsettling, and can significantly impact their recovery,” said Hay.