Eating Disorders and Lockdown – How Can You Help?
In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that at least 1.25 million people struggle with an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other specified feeding and eating disorders.
However, over the last twelve months, eating disorder charity BEAT has reported that they have seen a 73% increase in demand for eating disorder support and treatment.
The Number Of People Struggling With Eating Disorders Has Surged During Lockdown
While the pandemic and lockdown has seen an increase in the number of people suffering from mental health disorders, a surge in demand for eating disorder treatment suggests that individual’s living with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders have felt the most severe consequences.
For some individuals, eating disorders may have arisen due to social isolation and the inability to participate in exercise frequently. For others, previously treated eating disorders may have resurfaced due to the stress and anxiety faced as a result of the pandemic and lockdown.
Irrespective of the underlying factors, eating disorders and lockdown has largely dominated and controlled the lives of millions of people across the country.
Although, as touched on above, there has been an increase in the number of people trying to secure support, many continue to suffer in silence.
Eating Disorders and Lockdown – How Can You Help?
If you have identified that a loved one or friend is suffering from an eating disorder and want to determine how you can help them, we have provided several tips below.
Provide A Listening Ear
When considering eating disorders and lockdown and questioning how you can help, one of the many things that you can do is provide a listening ear.
As eating disorders are classified as mental health disorders, those subject to anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders will likely encounter various pessimistic thoughts and feelings that will impair the quality of their life.
Although many individuals are likely to hide their eating disorder from others, during lockdown, it may well be harder to do so due to continually being around those they live with. Considering this, you may have identified various symptoms that often come hand-in-hand with eating disorders and decided to confront your loved one or friend.
If this resonates with you, upon attempting to decipher how you can help someone navigating an eating disorder and lockdown, providing a listening ear could make a significant difference. This is because the individual struggling with an eating disorder will have the opportunity to voice their concerns, worries and thoughts and seek support and guidance from you.
Help Provide Distractions
As touched on above, when navigating eating disorders and lockdown, your loved one or friend will likely have various pessimistic thoughts swirling inside their mind.
Not only will they be attempting to ascertain how they can adhere to their eating disorder, but they may well be trying to prevent a relapse from arising if they have previously sought support for an eating disorder.
Regardless of whether treatment has previously been sought or not, if you hope to help an individual cope with eating disorders and lockdown, distractions will likely be welcome.
Although we are somewhat limited to what we can and cannot do during lockdown, making a conscious effort to provide distractions will help the individual struggling.
For example, you could help the individual in question create a daily routine that will support them throughout the remainder of lockdown. For many individuals battling eating disorders and lockdown, routines provide a sense of normality and structure. It will also prevent the individual from adopting unhealthy behaviours.
If you are considering helping an individual create a new daily routine, why not consider implementing the following;
– Time for work/education
– Exercise such as a daily walk
– A sleep routine
Encourage Individuals To Reduce The Time They Spend Consuming Media
While media consumption can be somewhat beneficial, especially when it comes to staying up-to-date with news and information regarding lockdown, media consumption can also have a detrimental impact on an individual’s mental health.
Since the start of the pandemic and lockdown, social media use, for example, has risen by at least 10%.
Although many individuals use social media to stay in contact with friends and family members, 55.3% of people battling eating disorders claim that they believe media consumption played a large role in the development of their disorder.
Considering this, encouraging loved ones and friends to reduce the amount of time they spend consuming media could essentially reduce the number of people struggling with eating disorders and lockdown.
Research The Treatment That Is Available To Those Living With Eating Disorders
Across the United Kingdom, there are various rehabs and treatment facilities on hand to provide treatment to individuals living with eating disorders.
However, many individuals struggling with eating disorders will defer treatment due to denial, wanting to keep their disorder a secret and a lack of information regarding the support they can take advantage of.
As you aim to support an individual navigating eating disorders and lockdown, we highly recommend familiarising yourself with the treatment that is readily available for them.
Not only will this ensure that you understand the treatment that can be accessed, but it will guarantee that you can help your loved one or friend acknowledge the support that they could obtain.
At Step One Recovery, we provide various treatments such as therapy to help those suffering overcome the psychological barriers often imposed when an eating disorder is present.
Contact Step One Recovery Today
As distinguished above, there are various ways that you can help support someone navigate eating disorders and lockdown.
Although we are confident that the above information will assist you, if you would like to obtain more advice or determine how you can refer an individual with an eating disorder for rehabilitation treatment, please contact us today.
At Step One Recovery, we provide eating disorder treatment to those who may need it, ensuring that they can make a full recovery and enjoy life once again.