Leaving the Light On
With shelter-in-place orders coming quickly last week at the local and state levels, we at Ocean Recovery immediately turned our thoughts to the communities we serve. Namely, folks struggling with substance use or eating disorders. As we’ve stated many times in this blog (most recently, here and here), isolation, whether by choice or under guidelines from the CDC, can be deadly for these individuals. This week, we’d like to focus specifically on the dangers of eating disorders during this time. As Katelin Penner, a college student recovering from bulimia, puts it in a recent BuzzFeed article, “Eating disorders do thrive in silence. This is kind of like the perfect storm for that silence to get as loud as humanly possible.” Sobering stuff and it’s all the reason we need to keep the lights on here.
Anxiety and Ideas of Control
Many of the associated with eating disorders revolve around anxiety and ideas of control. Melanie Rogers of the Balance Eating Disorder Treatment Center told Insider, “As anxiety increases, which is increasing for everyone, it can be risky for people who don’t have a neutral relationship with food. When we feel that external factors are out of control, we focus on things we think we can control such as exercise, weight, and food.” This push and pull is at the heart of many eating disorders (and addictions, for that matter.) And the circumstances surrounding the quarantine are making life for those recovering from eating disorders a nightmare.
New Circumstances, Old Triggers
The Insider article goes on to list a number of ways the quarantine is problematic for people with eating disorders. Here are a few:
Food Rationing Can Trigger Calorie Restriction
With a general sense of panic and empty shelves in grocery stores everywhere, the urge is to make food last and reduce trips to the store by rationing food under quarantine. Unfortunately, this is a behavior that folks with eating disorders already engage in while restricting calories.
Hoarding Can Lead to Binge Eating
Rogers puts this more succinctly that we can: “[It’s l]ike an alcoholic being locked in a wine store.”
Closed Gyms Can Cause Body Image Panic
This is one many of us can relate to. I know that if I miss the gym for a few sessions, I can feel off, like something is missing. Now image the same feeling multiplied by problematic body image issues.
Build Your Foundation for Success
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating eating disorders since 2002. Furthermore, we remain open and committed to providing services to folks who need them during the coronavirus pandemic. Most families are ill equipped to deal with the problems of eating disorders or addiction, let alone pandemic disease. Sending a loved one to a treatment facility run by professionally licensed medical and clinical staff, certified counselors and support staff trained and experienced in dealing with clients in crisis while maintaining a healthy community environment, may be the most meaningful decision a family can make. Give Ocean Recovery a call today and start building your foundation for success.