Calls to the National Eating Disorders Association’s Helpline are up 70 to 80 percent in
recent months. and doctors say that COVID-19 is one of the main reasons at the moment.


19-year-old Fatima discovered, during the first few months of lockdown started consuming
large portions of food until she fell sick, and later would try to puke everything out forcefully
so that she wouldn’t gain weight.
“The whole Covid situation only got me anxiety and discomfort due to which, whenever I felt
anxious, I ate an unusually large amount of food which I’ve never done before and would
forcefully vomit it later out of guilt and discomfort that consuming all that food gave me.”
She later got worried about what was wrong and reached out to a doctor where she came to
know that she had ‘Bulimia Nervosa’ which is a common eating disorder that appears more
in women than men, either in their ado lances or in their early adulthood.
Symptoms of ‘Bulimia Nervosa’ are
● Recurrent episodes of binge eating with a feeling of lack of control
● Recurrent episodes of inappropriate purging behaviors to prevent weight gain
● Self-esteem overly influenced by body shape and weight
● A fear of gaining weight, despite having a normal weight.
And, Fatima later addressed that she has been around people who’d make her conscious
about her body, and in the first few months of the lockdown when she realized that she
gained a little weight it freaked her out.
“Food always comforted me, but during the lockdown when I started gaining weight and got
anxious about it, I would literally sit with 15-18 chocolates, bags of chips that I usually lost a
count of and would eat all of it in one sitting, this comforted me but at the same time was
very painful, and to ease myself out of the pain and to not gain any more weight, I’d puke
everything out”.
However, Fatima is being treated with help from professionals to overcome the disorder.
Calls to the National Eating Disorders Association’s Helpline are up 70 to 80 percent in
recent months. and doctors say that COVID-19 is one of the main reasons at the moment.
In an article Psychiatrist Christina Waite, MD, Medical Director for Psychiatry at Miami Valley
Hospital, mentions why. Eating disorders are rooted in anxiety and in fear that you are losing
control, she says. “The pandemic understandably has all of us a little more anxious. In many
ways it has taken control away from us; in our ability to travel, dine at restaurants, socialize,
and exercise at the gym, for example.”

Eating disorders not only affect you physically. “They also affect the brain,” Dr. Waite
explains. “When your body is malnourished, your brain shrinks, which causes distorted
thinking and judgment.” With proper nutrition, the brain can recover. “We often see dramatic
improvement when people start to eat again. Their personality comes back,” says Dr. Waite,
who consults with patients on the medical and psychiatric units at Miami Valley Hospital.
It’s very normal to have disorders but it’s not okay to keep going with them, we need to
understand these disorders and spread awareness about them and break the stigma around
them.
So let’s try to break the stigma and spread more awareness about eating disorders!

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