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The answer, according to new research out of the U.S. and Netherlands from top ED experts, is: not great. I first met Cynthia Bulik, PhD, when I wrote about her groundbreaking research on midlife eating disorders in 2016. When I reached out to Bulik, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry of the School of Medicine at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to ask her if there were any current studies on the impact of quarantine on eating disorders, she had just finished a paper on the very topic. The study, published earlier this week in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, looked at the experience of about 1,000 people in the U.S. and the Netherlands, and it finds that people with anorexia are reporting increased restriction and fears about being able to find foods consistent with their meal plan. Those with bulimia and binge eating disorder are reporting increases in their binge eating episodes and urges to binge. Across the board, people with eating disorders are reporting marked increases in anxiety since 2019 and are expressing greater concerns about the impact COVID-19 is having on their mental health over their physical health.
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