The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make life difficult for patients with behavioral health disorders. In addition to depression and anxiety on the rise, new research about eating disorders in the U.S. and the Netherlands indicates an upturn in patients with anorexia and anxiety having difficulty finding foods that align with their nutrition therapy plan. Additionally, patients with bulimia and binge eating disorder are reporting a noticeable increase in binge eating.
“It’s very concerning that we’re seeing eating disorder patients, who recovered from trauma earlier in life, are relapsing at a significant rate” said James Schmidt, CEO of Opus Behavioral. “The data shows that less than 10% of patients are developing the issue for the first time. It also suggests environmental triggers, such as seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder, are not as much of an impact on the relapse.”
Types of Eating Disorders
The impact of antidepressants, postpartum and bipolar mania are also illnesses that may require further investigating how the COVID-19 pandemic influences types of eating disorders. Certain patients in the research also had a continual illness, such as dysthymia. “We’re working with our customers to understand how tolerance conditions in adolescence have an impact later in life” says Schmidt. “For example, dieting on and off as a teen may never develop into an eating syndrome. But are the symptoms there early on so we can spot them with our technology? And if our customers see these symptoms, have we built in the predictive functionality to scale as their patient population changes? Depression treatment and binge eating disorders have forced many of our customers to include telehealth, virtual services and remote group therapy.”
“As our team develops Opus EHR for our eating disorder treatment customers, we’re walking hand-in-hand to understand how innovation can support patient therapy for food addictions” continued Schmidt. “We’re getting exciting feedback about new customizable vital fields that are both expandable and tailored. This goes beyond when a patient is feeling sad or feeling depressed. It’s real time data from patient feedback that can help stop binge eating once symptoms appear.”