Managing an Eating Disorder During Quarantine


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The novel coronavirus infection, commonly referred to as COVID-19, has created a worldwide crisis. The contagious virus has already affected more than a million people across the world and taken the lives of over 60 thousand. 

COVID-19 spreads through person to person contact or physical proximity. The virus is carried in droplets that come out from the nose or mouth of an infected person during coughing or sneezing. These droplets can also land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch the virus when they encounter the droplets and then casually touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

While research continues, there has been no success with a vaccine against the virus. Social distancing through self-quarantine is the best way to stop one from getting infected with COVID-19. In a period when self-quarantine is the norm, and entire states lock down with some slowly beginning to open, those with eating disorders face many challenges. The difficulty of following prescribed meal plans as part of a treatment plan could become difficult.

Eating Related Difficulties During Quarantine

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to the coronavirus to see if they become sick. The duration of quarantine is from 14 days. Spending day after day locked down inside at home could increase feelings of loneliness and gloom. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, depression, and other mood disorders co-occur with eating disorders quite frequently.

Feelings of loneliness, grief, and uncertainty are intensifying in homes all over the United States due to the quarantine orders. Self-isolation and lock downs can be difficult for people suffering from anorexia, binge eating disorder, and other disorders. Simple activities such as meeting doctor appointments, prescribed nutrition advice, and plans and access to required food items at the right time can become near impossible tasks. Certain mental conditions, such as abnormal fear of food scarcity, anxiety related to virus transmission from the surface of food packages are already on the rise. In such circumstances where food items are scarce, one might find it difficult to follow the ‘safe food’ diet plan that is recommended. This, topped with limited access to physical activities, can be a nightmare for those with an eating disorder.

Managing an eating disorder during a quarantine

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorder (ANAD) mentions on its website that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life for people across the globe, especially those with eating disorders, for whom a set routine is often imperative during recovery. ANAD estimates that at least 30 million people in the United States have an eating disorder.

Trying to cope with an eating disorder during these testing times can be painful. It would be worthwhile to remember the following points to get through these trying times:

  • Accept that food is less accessible and less varied. Hence, it is reasonable to struggle with your eating tendencies. Be kind to yourself and promise a better tomorrow.
  • There are lots of support groups available online. These experts are working tirelessly towards helping you out. Search and reach out to them. It is always comforting to talk to others who have the same experiences.
  • Indulge in relaxing activities like yoga, breathing exercises, art, music, or anything that takes your mind away from the strain.
  • Be flexible around your food choices, choose foods you enjoy.
  • Don’t panic at stress eating. It is usual for the body to react this way to keep you energized.
  • Follow intuitive eating where you eat what the body wants and when your body wants it.
  • Sit back and analyze the things you have lost because of this eating disorder. Prioritize and work towards your recovery with more passion than ever.

How we treat eating disorders

At Selah House, our clinical eating disorder treatment facility uses treatments to help lead you to recovery. We specialize in:

We offer a comprehensive, compassionate program in a structured, constant, and stable environment. The residential level of care offers clients the highest level of care with the closest amount of supervision and support. Our Partial Hospitalization Program allows clients to begin life outside of treatment while still emphasizing goal setting and recognizing progress. If you believe that you or a loved one would benefit from eating disorders, please reach out to our admissions team. They will provide an assessment and determine the level of care that is needed to meet your specific needs.

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