Eating Disorders

Covid-19 brought Eating Disorders with it – Health Meter, Are you listening?

Healthcare Pharmaceuticals

Eating disorders were always a matter of grave concern. However, this thing has come more to the fore during the outbreak of Covid-19. Research states that the eating disorders are likely to affect close to 29 Mn Americans in their entire life span. The roots to abnormal eating patterns could be traced to staying in the world full of uncertainty (amidst pandemic), particularly the teens. Herein, the role of psychiatrists has widened as parents have started thronging to them for stopping their adolescents from getting carried away by junk food consumption, that too, without any fixed time slot for eating.

Stress – A Bane to Health

Scientists have clarified that eating disorders could also be genetic at times, and stress could worsen them. On the whole, binge-eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia are on an exponential rise.

Additionally, JAMA Network Open reported through the Journal of the American Medical Association that the second half of the year 2020 witnessed double hospitalizations. Also, those admitted did end up staying in the hospital for 50% longer due to eating disorders resulting out of prolonged treatment.

As per experts at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, eating disorders are second to overdose of opioids. Dr. Kristin Francis, one of the phychiatrists at Huntsman Mental Health Institute, has affirmed that majority of people get eating disorders at the time of uncertainty and stress.

The outbreak of Covid-19 did turn the world upside down. Though things are getting back to normalcy, the fact that the world at large would never be out of this Covid phobia can’t be ignored.

Some of the remedies suggested by the psychiatrists for adolescents include –

  • Promotion of healthy relationship with the foodstuff, i.e. the parents should stop body shaming their children. For instance, comments like, “This is my kid – short and stout”. The children do get mentally affected to the extent of not listening to parents even if they ask them to eat healthy. In other words, teenagers are likely to take comments like these in the negative sense.
  • Parents should encourage ability of promoting self-esteem, instead of size or weight, which means that the children should be made to visualize how healthy eating can help them in being better productive on all the fronts. It is rightly said, “Healthy Mind in Healthy Body”.
  • Health-promoting behaviours should be encouraged. For instance – eating with family and friends without any guilt while consuming higher-calorie foodstuff. Diet-related or weight loss-related talks can happen within the four walls, not in public.
  • Encourage children to switch off the TVs/mobiles while having food. They lose the track of the food consumed as they are completely engrossed in binging.

In a nutshell, though the concerns mentioned above did persist, Covid-19 added to the worries of parents, as the problems got escalated. It’s high time that the world starts taking eating disorders seriously and looks at the ways to nip them in the bud itself. The workplaces and educational institutions should not restrict themselves to stereotypical activities for the associates and students. Living with the new normal also comes with ingraining optimism in the lives.

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