What can be more anxiety provoking than self-isolating oneself in their home with the hopes of not contracting the highly contagious coronavirus disease? Well, experiencing this while simultaneously suffering from an eating disorder. Such a conclusion is due to the unfortunate reality that there is an extreme shortage of food on the shelves at our grocery stores due to this pandemic.

The shelves are empty, and people are panicking. As soon as the shelves get stocked, people are buying everything up in a frenzy, preparing for their government to possibly inform them of a mandated quarantine at anytime. What we are witnessing here makes compulsive hoarders, as well as people with OCD appear normal.

Considering all of the eating disorders that exist, it appears unequivocal that binge eating disorder is the most pernicious in times such as this. Although this eating disorder is not as mainstream as anorexia and bulimia are, one can’t help but recognize how painful it must be to have an intense desire to binge, yet cannot due to empty shelves at the supermarket.

According to NationalEatingDisorders.org, binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating.

Ways to Cope with Binge Eating Disorder

In wake of the coronavirus pandemic, understanding how to cope with one’s binge eating disorder has never been more important. Below, you’ll see some effective ways to cope with compulsive eating:

  • Teletherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), etc.)
    • As the coronavirus gets worse, more and more offices are temporarily closing so to slow down the spread of the virus. The coronavirus can spread in various ways, but it is believed that the main way it will spread is by person-to-person. To combat this, many therapists and treatment centers are now allowing their patients to have therapy sessions at home via computer webcams and even phone call sessions.
  • Psychiatric medications
    • Depending on the severity of their binge eating symptoms, it may be advantageous for them to take a low dose of an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication insofar as they first talk to their therapist or psychiatrist to ensure it is safe to do so. Although such medications may indeed help lower their symptoms of binge eating disorder, there will likely be some unfavorable side effects that they will have to deal with as well.
  • Mindfulness meditation
    • Being more mindful, that is, to not allow yourself to indulge in discursive thinking and to be in the present moment, should significantly help you to reduce your symptoms of binge eating disorder during the coronavirus pandemic. During times such as this, it is imperative to understand exactly how to reduce your anxiety the moment it arises. For an in-depth article on how to meditate, consider reading my beginners guide to mindfulness meditation.

If you’re searching for a therapist or a psychiatrist, then feel free to use the Psych Times Directory here.