According to KVUE, an eating disorder is a danger for everyone, regardless of age, race, size, gender, orientation, or financial situation. An eating disorder’s mental and physical toll can hasten mortality from cardiac arrest, organ failure, and other disorders associated with inadequate nutrition.
Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are the three most dangerous eating disorders. Every 52 minutes, an American die due to an eating disorder. According to new data published in JAMA Pediatrics, there was a monthly increase of roughly 0.7% in inpatient admissions for young adults and adolescents with eating disorders in the two years preceding the pandemic.
However, in the first year of the pandemic, the monthly increase accelerated to 7.2%. Since the bulk of Covid-19 restrictions/lockdowns was first implemented in the spring of 2020, the number of people hospitalized for eating disorders nearly quadrupled between 2020 and 2021.
“We were able to show that there were significant increases in patients with eating disorders after the start of the pandemic at multiple sites across the country,” said Dr. Sydney Hartman-Munick, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School and the study’s first author. The findings are consistent with our daily observations in our clinics and hospitals.
While several hospitals had documented an increase in instances of eating disorders during the epidemic, Dr. Jason Nagata, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, noted that this was the first study to emphasize the impact on the entire country. Nagata was entirely overlooked in the study.
Patients frequently go untreated for lengthy periods due to diagnostic problems. One explanation for this is a common misconception about what people with eating disorders look like. Many persons who suffer from eating problems may not exhibit any evident signs.
According to recent scientific studies, the frequency of eating disorders among teens and young people has skyrocketed. As of 2022, not much has changed. Changes in body weight and appetite are common, as are increased irritation, weariness, anxiety, or sadness.
There was a period when diet and exercise were taboo topics, which some felt led to the emergence of eating disorders. In response to user demand, social media sites such as Instagram added features such as ad blocking for people seeking to create a more body-positive environment on the platform.
From 2018 to 2022, data was collected from one outpatient eating disorder treatment program and fourteen inpatient eating disorder treatment programs in “geographically distinct” locales. The study’s findings, according to Hartman-Munick, indicated that more individuals sought medical assistance during the epidemic. Still, it couldn’t say whether or not the severity of illnesses was higher at that time.
She highlighted the prevalence of eating disorders among young people as a big concern. Even with quick and proper therapy, recovering from an eating issue can take years. The number of new cases decreased after the first year of the pandemic in 2021, although it remained greater than before Covid-19.