The current crisis is affecting many aspects of our lives. For those with Eating Disorders (EDs), social distancing may impact recovery. People are cut off from their normal support systems. They are isolated from friends and family. They may not be able to access the same foods or engage in the same exercise routines. Grocery stores, which can already be a source of anxiety for people with disordered eating, are becoming fear-inducing for the general public. This might make trips to the grocery store especially overwhelming for people with EDs. We are told to “stock up” on food—which can be difficult messaging for people with Binge Eating Disorder or Bulimia—while lots of foods are unavailable. Those who have rigid eating patterns may feel a sense of lost control if certain foods are unavailable at any supermarket. Eating Disorders are often related to control. This pandemic is defined by our lack of it: we still don’t know a lot about the virus; we don’t know when we will be able to safely go back out in the world; our routines are disrupted. In order to cope, we might try to control our eating, our exercise habits, or our bodies. For people with co-occurring disorders, those symptoms may be exacerbated by the crisis. This can lead to more feelings of powerlessness. Eating Disorders, like Substance Use Disorders, thrive in isolation. Ruthie Friedlander, founder of The Chain—a non-profit providing peer support for people in the entertainment industry struggling with EDs—said in March, “Telling a person with an Eating Disorder that they can’t leave their apartment for two weeks is like saying, ‘You Have two weeks to indulge in all the behaviors you haven’t exhibited since you were in recovery.’” We now know that it’s been longer than two weeks. If your ED is exacerbated by the current crisis, or if you are experiencing new symptoms, you are not alone. Stay connected to your support system. If you have a meal plan, stick to it as best you can with the food options available to you. If you don’t, it is a good idea to create one consisting of three meals a day and two to three snacks. Make a schedule and try to stick to it as closely as possible. As this VeryWell Mind article explains, “Depriving yourself of adequate nutrition and enjoyable foods is not going to keep you safe from a virus. On the other hand, staying emotionally satisfied and nourished will help stabilize your blood sugar levels, mood, and emotional coping.” You may even want to share meals over video chat. This is both a way to hold yourself accountable and to make eating a more positive experience. If you are struggling with an Eating Disorder, a Substance Use Disorder, or another co-occurring Mental Health Disorder, there is help and hope. At Amatus Recovery Centers, we provide treatment for disordered eating, substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. We are open during this crisis—with third-party, hospital-grade sanitization to make sure you feel safe receiving treatment. At our treatment centers across the country, we will help you build a healthier relationship to food and the tools to thrive in recovery. To find out more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.