Medics report 66% rise in eating disorder hospital admissions during Covid-19

Medics Report 66% Rise In Eating Disorder Hospital Admissions During Covid-19
Medics are reporting a sharp increase in hospital admissions for eating disorders (ED) during Covid-19.
Share this article

Gordon Deegan

Medics are reporting a sharp increase in hospital admissions for eating disorders (ED) during Covid-19.

According to a new paper in this month’s Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), there was a 66% increase in hospital admissions here for eating disorders in 2020 compared to 2019.


The medics stress that a number of factors are likely to play a role in this significant increase, including distress, anxiety relating to the pandemic, pre-existing morbidity, the interplay of social and economic factors, the impact of restriction, and losses of protective factors.

Mortality rates

The paper, entitled "Eating Disorders during the Covid-19 pandemic", describes eating disorders as serious and potential fatal disorders, with the highest mortality rates of any psychiatric disorder.

The authors of the paper, Elizabeth Barrett and Sarah Richardson, of Temple St Children’s University Hospital and the UCD School of Medicine state: “Social restrictions may mean some young people are less able to engage with protective factors.

"More online time for example, may facilitate increased exposure to ED-specific or anxiety-provoking media. There may be an impact on young people’s view of their own health, and may increase ED symptoms specifically related to health concerns."


Post-pandemic plan

Anorexic woman being tube-fed at home due to Covid...
Read More

In terms of planning for a post-pandemic world, they say that the “implementation of the National Eating Disorder programme, with specialist community based teams offering a range of interventions with crucial and critical mass of experience, would be a good start”. The HSE National Clinical Programme for Eating Disorders applies across all age ranges.

According to the report: “adequate resourcing of psychological medicine teams at paediatric sites, and the training of paediatricians with an interest in this arena, are vital and urgent needs”. They argue that this would be complemented by the planned new children's hospital.

However, they warn that given the recognised knowledge gap in this arena, there is recognition of the need for paediatricians and allied health professionals to develop skills in mental health.

The authors remark: “Perhaps the pandemic, and new ways of working, present an opportunity to develop truly collaborative working relationships, and new ways to meet training and teaching needs to improve Paediatric Eating Disorder Care”.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by