At Priory, our experts understand that eating disorders can be very difficult to cope with. They can have a negative impact on all aspects of your life, affecting you physically, mentally and socially. This is especially the case at the moment, with the ongoing global pandemic and all of the additional issues associated with it, which is why it’s never been more important to reach out for support.
How is COVID-19 impacting on people struggling with an eating disorder?
The world has unexpectedly and dramatically spun on its axis, and as per Government guidance, we have all been advised to try to avoid unnecessary social interaction, to make only essential travel, to exercise one per day, and to shop only for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
- People with eating disorders who are underweight are are at higher physical risk than patients at normal body weight and can develop problems with their cardiovascular stytem, liver and kidneys. The immune system can also become suppressed which can make the body more susceptible to catching infections. Also, we know that people who have a body mass index (BMI) over 40 are categorised as being obese and are therefore vulnerable
- Fear, loneliness and isolation can be especially hard for people who are struggling with an eating disorder. A lack of social support and face-to-face contact with loved ones can mean your relationship with food may deteriorate as a way to distract yourself or to cope with negative emotions such as anxiety. It can also mean that there aren’t people around to spot any changes in your eating habits, which can result in these habits becoming gradually worse. Also, if you’re feeling anxious and lonely, you may also start engaging in other unhealthy behaviours such as binge eating unhealthy foods which can cause further problems
- Many people with an eating disorder can find shopping to be a stressful experience. Now, with social distancing measures in place within supermarkets, and many people still panic buying certain items, the experience can be more stressful than ever. This can prevent people from getting the nutritious food they need, as well as any specific items they feel ‘comfortable’ with, and may cause you to avoid going food shopping altogether. All of this added stress can make your eating disorder worse
This is why it’s so important to get the support you need for your eating disorder, to help you get back on track. Sadly with the temporary suspension of most outpatient and day care centres, vulnerable people eating disorders have limited access to support.
At our private inpatient treatment centres we are not limited to online activity. We are still able to offer ongoing support through social activity, face to face work and one-to-one or group therapy (in line with social distancing guidance etc).
Priory can still provide expert private eating disorder treatment during this time
Some people may think they’re able to manage and control their disordered eating on their own. However, for many, this isn’t realistic and without help this can actually be dangerous, leading to relapse, or further unhelpful coping behaviours.
However, it’s important to recognise that you’re not alone during this time – Priory can help. We are pleased to be able to offer expert eating disorder help at our private inpatient treatment centre, Life Works and our extended care residential service, Arthur House. We can also offer eating disorder support online or over the phone for people who don’t need to come in for residential treatment. We can provide ongoing support, , social activity, face-to-face work and physical one-to-one or group therapy as part of our inpatient treatment programmes. Whether you’re beginning to show the first signs of an eating disorder, or you’re struggling with your eating disorder recovery, you don’t have to suffer on your own – the most important step is to reach out for support.
Our expert eating disorder teams at Priory have been working hard to adapt our treatment programmes, so we can provide safe and effective eating disorder help to as many people as possible. You don’t have to suffer in silence during this pandemic; we can still support you every step of the way towards recovery, or ongoing maintenance.
In this video, Georgia, a current patient at Arthur House, shares her positive experience of treatment and the life-saving support offered to her during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Online eating disorder support
Much like the rest of the world right now, we have taken steps to get our eating disorder treatment services online, so you can access the help you need from the safety and comfort of your own home.
At Life Works and Arthur House, we’re are able to offer free eating disorder assessments for patients either over the phone, using online video platforms such as Skype or Zoom. This means you’ll be able to receive a comprehensive online assessment with a qualified expert, without even having to leave your sofa.
During your assessment, we’ll be able to explore your individual worries and assess whether you’re suitable for residential eating disorder treatment. Once you’ve had your online assessment and our team have confirmed that you’re well-suited to come for inpatient treatment with us, we have measures in place to ensure we’re completing all the necessary health checks on new patients.
We can also offer outpatient therapy for patients who need one-to-one support for their eating disorder, but don’t necessarily need to come for treatment in a residential treatment centre. Again, this is available over the phone, or via online video calling platforms such as Skype or Zoom, or our online therapy service, Priory Connect. This means that you can still receive regular and ongoing support for your eating disorder, from the comfort of your own home.
What’s it like being an inpatient during lockdown?
Priory can offer private residential eating disorder treatment at Life Works in Woking, and Arthur House in Wimbledon. If you’re receiving inpatient eating disorder treatment with us during the coronavirus outbreak, our teams are dedicated to ensuring that you still get the highest quality treatment and help we can offer. We’ll do our best to make sure your stay with us is as comfortable as possible, and we’ve pulled out all the stops to ensure you’re still getting the level of support you need, while we’re all adhering to social distancing guidelines.
The level of connection we can provide during eating disorder treatment may look a little bit different at the moment, but this connection is still a key element of our treatment programme. You’re not alone; we really are with you every step of the way.
While you’re with us, you’ll have your own modern and beautifully decorated en-suite bedroom for the duration of your stay. This means you’ll be able to relax in the privacy and comfort of your own space, whilst still receiving round-the-clock support should you need it.
During therapy, we make sure we’re sticking to social distancing guidelines by ensuring that all our patients, therapists and other eating disorder specialists are at least two metres apart. We also have strong infection control measures, such as regular hand washing, in place.
We’ve done our best to maintain as many key elements of eating disorder treatment as possible. However, for safety reasons, we’re currently unable to offer face to face family sessions. Limiting visitors is essential to make sure we’re helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, you’ll still be able to be in contact with your family and loved ones as much as you want, through calling and using video technology.
Our extended care residential eating disorder service, Arthur House
For people who’ve completed inpatient eating disorder treatment, the thought of going home following treatment can be quite daunting.
Arthur House, our residential service in Wimbledon, offers a place where you can step-down from inpatient eating disorder treatment, to an intensive residential setting with extended care. Here we offer a community-based, experiential treatment programme.
Arthur House also offers an option for people who are looking to address their eating disorder challenges in a residential setting, but who don’t need a full inpatient treatment programme. Arthur House can also be used as an entry-point to residential eating disorder support.
In this video, Anna, a current patient at Arthur House, tells us about her journey from Life Works, our primary care service. She shares her positive experience of treatment and the life-saving support offered to her during the COVID-19 outbreak.
We’re still able to assess and admit people safely at Arthur House. Being in a therapeutic and recovery-focused environment may be hugely beneficial if you feel you need additional support to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with food.