The Impact of COVID-19 on people with eating disorders (radio)

19 Jul, 2020

InsideOut's Dr Jane Miskovic-Wheatley speaks to ABC Canberra radio to discuss the EDStudy, a new study inspired by the marked increase in calls to eating disorder helplines during the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The study aims to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on people with body image concerns and disordered eating.

Dr Miskovic-Wheatley notes that particular points of concern raised by the community are that exercise is treated as an essential activity in lockdown, the lack of access to "safe foods" due to food shortages, and the impacts of loneliness and isolation.

Finally, she notes that an increased focus on hygiene may cause obsessional worry or concern.

She explains that the study is open to anyone who identifies as experiencing overwhelming thoughts or feelings or behaviours relating to food, eating, exercise or body image, not just those who have been clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder.

The COVID-19 pandemic is going to have long term effects on people's experiences of eating disorders, but also their ability to seek treatment, Dr Miskovic-Wheatley says.

She explains that the EDStudy is anonymous, but that the people involved will be followed up on over the next 2 years to see change in their experiences over time, and to better understand the limitations or freedoms associated with seeking care during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Miskovic-Wheatley speaks directly to people who may be concerned about their own thoughts or behaviours, says that there are many ways to seek help, and that it is important to remember that they are not alone.