Managing Anorexia Nervosa and Other Eating Disorders during COVID-19
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 1101
2. Lucena Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Dublin, Ireland Department of Psychiatry, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), Crumlin, Ireland
Interests: child and adolescent psychiatry; eating disorders; burnout; 22q11DS; advocacy
A recent meta-analysis puts the lifetime risk for an eating disorder (ED) in the order of 8.4% for females and 2.2% for males, making it much higher than previously thought. Anorexia nervosa (AN), a complex and multifactorial condition, carries the highest medical and psychiatric risk, with a lifetime prevalence of 1.4% for women and 0.2% for men. Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of disordered eating and eating disorders have been reported to have increased significantly. This has been evident across countries and across services settings, from community to in-patient settings. Fears were rapidly expressed about the impact and safety of moving to telehealth medicine and psychiatry on eating disorders and the risks of families not being able to access necessary support. Fears were also expressed about the vulnerability of individuals with EDs to infection with COVID-19 and risks of immunological compromise, and these were seen as justifications for minimizing face to face contact and limiting hospitalization. However, as the pandemic persisted and COVID-19 related public health restrictions became much more prolonged than ever initially considered, the ethical aspects of these impacts on a young and vulnerable patient group became an issue for clinical discussion. As we adapt to a post-pandemic world, the further impact on anorexia nervosa presentations is unclear.
The aim of this Special Issue is to provide an overview of the impact of COVID-19 and enforced restrictions on numbers and clinical profiles of those presenting with new or relapsing eating disorders. We welcome papers outlining the lived experience of individuals and families caught up in this period of personal, clinical and service uncertainty. We are interested to know if fears about increased susceptibility to COVID-19 in those with AN by virtue of malnutrition, immunological compromise and restricted food intake were realized and how this might shed light on the emerging evidence about immunological components being etiologically important in EDs. Given the reported specific increase of AN during the pandemic, the issue has a particular interest in AN, but reports regarding other EDs are also welcome.
We look forward to receiving your contributions that will provide insight into the advances made in our understanding of the etiology and treatment of anorexia nervosa and other EDs during COVID-19.
Prof. Fiona McNicholas
Dr. Siobhán MacHale
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- anorexia nervosa
- eating disorders
- pandemic restrictions