The pandemic has affected us all in one way or another. One thing that is absolutely clear is that teenage eating disorders are on the rise and the situation has become much worse as a direct result of the pandemic. During the peak of the pandemic, teens were kept apart from their peers and regular routines were imploded. Of course, this made matters worse for many who already have eating disorders but it has also resulted in many more teenagers starting with eating disorders as well.
Under the umbrella term of the pandemic, there are dozens of reasons as to why teenage eating disorders are on the rise. In this latest blog post, we will cover the main five causes…
It’s no secret that teenagers that end up with eating disorders tend to be anxious and stress-sensitive which has been massively fueled by the uncertainty of the pandemic. When uncertainty arises, this makes matters worse and has done for so many teenagers up and down the UK. The uncertainty of when to go back to education and when teens are going to see their friends again has played a massive part in spiraling eating disorders.
Eating disorders have also been linked with high achievements with many teenagers pouring their energy into academia and succeeding in school or college. During the pandemic, education was put on hold for a considerable amount of time which, as a result, took away the purpose and/or distraction for many teenagers. For many teenagers, they turned to physical exercise as a way to keep productive but studies have shown that this got out of hand quickly with obsessions about food and significant weight loss being the result.
Another major factor that teenage eating disorders are on the rise due to the pandemic is due to stress. Emotional eating has played a huge part in the risk of eating disorders amongst teenagers. The coping mechanisms of school and other outlets were stripped away from teenagers which lead some young people to eat more than usual to manage pandemic-related stress. As well as the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought, the knock-on effect of stress has also played a big part with parents losing jobs and bereavements also causing teens to stress eat.
Boredom is another factor as to why teenage eating disorders are on the rise. For many, their relationship with food has changed because of boredom throughout the pandemic. Boredom has resulted in binge eating that has started with minor implications but escalated quite rapidly for many. Someone who eats when they are bored may eat a lot of food quickly, have a history of eating in response to emotional stress, and have big changes in their weight.
The Instagram influence is another major factor that has resulted in teenage eating disorders rising throughout the pandemic. Generally speaking, teenagers have been spending much more time on social media platforms such as Instagram and while Instagram has some benefits, it has resulted in many comparing and contrasting themselves to filtered images of celebrities and other influencers. This has resulted in increased body dissatisfaction and disordered eating disorders.
Eating Disorders On The Rise - Is This Your Child?
If your child has been evidently struggling with 3-5 of any of the above, it’s possible that your child may be suffering from an eating disorder. However, of course, this is a highly sensitive topic so it’s important not to rush to conclusions. If you are worried about your child, start by trying to have an open conversation by creating a safe space for them to be truthful and transparent with you.
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