This is an unappealable statement. “Since the health crisis coronavirusthere has been a 30% increase in consultation requests for eating disorders (ADDs), ”said Lydie Thierry, President of Endat-TCAthe Eating Disorders Establishment ( anorexia, bulimia and bulimic hyperphagia). An increase that psychologist Isabelle Siac, a specialist in these disorders, also notes in her office: a boom at the exit of the first confinementbut the explosion was really with the endless semi-confinement in the fall of 2021. ”
Unsurprisingly, according to both experts, the 15-30 age group is particularly affected by the phenomenon. “Simply because the peak age of these disorders is between adolescence and early adulthood,” said Professor Nathalie Godart, vice president of Francilien TCA network and president of the French Federation Anorexia Bulimia (FFAB). But also because in adolescence, during which one builds one’s identity in relation to others, and during the years preceding a family life, social ties have a very important place.
“Deprived of liberty, they decompensated on food”
While the stress of the Covid-19 pandemic health crisis is one of the triggers for ADD, the big culprit remains confinement. “A confined shot, a deconfined shot, a semi-confined shot, a shot under curfew, and so on. This has greatly disrupted the daily lives of young people, says Isabelle Siac, author ofSuch a vital sense of insecurity. Some have managed to adapt and find a new rhythm, others have not. The psychologist mentions remote aperitifs, too frequent orders for prepared meals or “young people who have seen their eating balance disturbed by returning to their families.” Thus, the symptoms of those who already have ADD may have worsened, and those who simply had a somewhat problematic relationship with food developed these diagnosable disorders.
“Deprived of liberty or social ties, they decompensated on food, the last activator of pleasure to which they had access,” says Lydie Thierry, regarding cases of bulimic hyperphagia. Anorexic and bulimic disorders are the result of a loss of frame, daily rituals and limitations. “Some people start eating things they’ve never eaten before.” One of my patients was drinking ice cream in the morning, ”says an example published by Endat-TCA. Bulimic hyperphagia in 100 Questions / Answers. Lydie Thierry notes that eating disorders may have resulted from a “need to regain control and especially her body through food.”
Rupture of care and overwhelmed teams
Containments have also prevented good patient care. With the travel ban, follow-up care of people who already had ADD “It was complicated, even with video consultations,” says Lydie Thierry. And patients who began to suffer from eating disorders were unable to access care early. “Today, services are facing an extremely significant increase in demand for care. The number of patients is greater, as is the severity of the disorder, ”reports Nathalie Godart. Psychologist Isabelle Siac says she sees more and more severe cases of anorexia and bulimia “with patients who vomit up to five times a day.”
Care teams are overwhelmed because these situations require more human resources, more time, more support. “As a result, people with ADD have a hard time finding care and their condition is getting worse. It’s a vicious circle, ”laments the professor.
Teleworking and snacking
Could the end of the containment have solved the problem? It was counting without telecommuting, widespread in a large number of companies. “Employees take their lunch breaks at any time, eat in front of their computer on autopilot,” says Lydie Thierry. They disconnect from food, satiety, and satiety. This leads to snacking. »
Nathalie Godart, the president of the FFAB, reminds that it is always possible to turn to her doctor, pediatricians, child psychiatrists or to call the hotline Anorexia bulimia info listen 0810 037 037. For her part, Human Rights Defender Claire Hédon called on Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Thursday to establish a contingency plan for the mental health of young people in the face of World Eating Disorders. “The gravity of the situation”, believing that “largely insufficient” resources are being deployed.