New study: Rising number of teen girls with eating disorders sought help from emergency rooms during the pandemic
A new CDC study found an increase in emergency room visits among teen girls doubled during the pandemic
Emergency rooms across the country observed an increase in emergency visits during the pandemic from teenage girls dealing with eating disorders, along with other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report gives a view into the mental health problems adolescents are facing.
- Weekly eating disorders doubled among young girls between the ages of 12 and 17.
- Visits for tic disorders nearly tripled during the pandemic.
Dr. Neha Chaudhary, child psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and chief medical officer at BeMe Health, thinks the results aren’t surprising.
“This is quite in line with what I’m seeing in my clinical practice and what I’m hearing from teens directly,” she said, per ABC News.
“Many teens with preexisting conditions like depression or anxiety noted worsening of their symptoms since the pandemic, while others without previously diagnosed conditions noted having symptoms for the first time.”
Eating disorders can be triggered by pandemic-related factors like lack of structure or emotional distress, but the increase in tic disorders “among adolescent females are atypical,” the study said. That is because tic disorders develop earlier and are more common in boys but pandemic stress and awareness through social media, as seen on TikTok, may be associated with this increase.
Last year, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in children’s mental health. The U.S. surgeon general also issued an advisory, calling for action to protect the mental health of adolescents.