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Eating disorder therapists 'overwhelmed' with new and returning patients

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Posted at 10:43 AM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-16 12:43:58-04

The pandemic has created a perfect storm for those who suffer from eating disorders.

Experts say that social isolation, food insecurity, and panic buying are just some of the factors that can trigger a relapse in eating disorder patients.

Patients with low body weight are at a high risk for contracting the virus, making it more dangerous for them to receive in-person treatment, even when they need it most.

In Great Falls, therapists say they’re overwhelmed with new and returning eating disorder patients. It comes after the Great Falls Eating Disorder Task Force halted meetings indefinitely earlier this year.

COURTESY: JOURNAL OF EATING DISORDERS

Crystal Kirschman, the owner of Emily Wish, an eating disorder clinic in Great Falls, said the pandemic has created circumstances that make it easier for an eating disorder to start or relapse, and harder to engage in recovery behaviors. She said her practice is struggling to keep up with local demand.

“It’s completely been nonstop, just emails, calls, referrals from people in the community,” she said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to slow down soon … The need will get higher.”

If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from an eating disorder, consult this list of resources or your health-care provider.