Health COVID-stress sparks eating disorder relapses

COVID-stress sparks eating disorder relapses

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an increase in disordered eating, an Australian survey designed to measure the mental health of Australians during the outbreak has found.

Nearly two-thirds of those with a history of an eating disorder reported returning to food restriction in the first few weeks of the pandemic, while nearly half upped their exercise.

This is in stark contrast to the general population, where nearly one-third of respondents increased bingeing and more than 40 per cent reduced their exercise.

The study, conducted by Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Mental Health, has prompted calls for increased psychological support for people with eating disorders.

Lead researcher Dr Andrea Phillipou said the exacerbation of disordered eating was likely due to a combination of increased stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms as a result of social distancing measures.

“It is crucial that we provide greater psychological support to individuals with eating disorders during this time,” she said.

If you need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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