Maple Grove Clinic Reports “Record Volume” of Patients Seeking Treatment for Eating Disorders
When COVID-19 forced several people to stay at home, binge eating also went into overdrive for some people.
Melrose Center has five locations in the metro and it provides care for all types of eating disorders. Dr. Heather Gallivan, the clinic director, said between all five locations, including Maple Grove, there’s been more assessments scheduled now than ever before.
“At Melrose Center, we have seen record volumes of patients coming through our doors,” said Gallivan. “We typically treat about 3,000 people in a year. Last month we brought in more than 200 new patients.”
Not only are people binging food to cope and comfort themselves during the pandemic, others have actually reported eating less.
“There’s a lot of shame and guilt that comes with all eating disorders,” explained Gallivan. “I think one thing that’s kind of difficult with this pandemic is the increased isolation.”
Gallivan said through isolation, it’s much easier for someone to hide an eating disorder.
“I think the science behind it is there are likely biological manifestations that can put people at higher risk for developing eating disorders. And then things in our environment can be a trigger,” she said.
Some of those factors that trigger eating disorders include family dynamics and a person’s temperament or personality.
“If someone is struggling with an eating disorder or think they are struggling, encourage them to get help,” said Gallivan. “Although we are in a pandemic, the beauty of this pandemic is the onset of broad use of telehealth.”
In addition to professional help, doctors recommend everyone to stay on a routine such as eating regularly throughout the day and getting exercise.
“It’s hard for us to feel comfortable talking about those things, but right now more than ever, reach out to people you might be worried about and ask them how they’re doing,” Gallivan suggested.