How to explain the “boom” of cases among 15-30 year olds in the last two years?

This is an unappealable statement. “Since the coronavirus-related health crisis, there has been a 30% increase in requests for consultation for eating disorders (ADDs),” said Lydie Thierry, President of Endat-TCA. . eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia and bulimic hyperphagia). An increase that psychologist Isabelle Siac, a specialist in these disorders, also notes in her office: “There was a boom at the exit of the first confinement, but the explosion was really with the endless semi-confinement in the fall of 2021 . »

Unsurprisingly, according to both experts, the 15-30 age group is particularly affected by the phenomenon. “Simply because the peak of the age of onset of these disorders is between adolescence and early adulthood,” said Professor Nathalie Godart, vice-president of the Francilien TCA Network and president of the French Federation. anorexia nervosa (FFAB). But also because in adolescence, during which one builds one’s identity in relation to others, and during the years preceding a family life, social ties have a very important place.

“Freedom is decompensated for food”

While the stress generated by the Covid-19 pandemic-related health crisis is one of the triggers for ADD, the biggest culprit remains confinement. “A confined shot, a deconfined shot, a semi-confined shot, a shot under curfew, and so on. This has greatly disrupted the daily lives of young people, says Isabelle Siac, author ofSuch a vital sense of insecurity. Some managed to adapt and find a new rhythm, altri pas. The psychologist mentions the remote aperitifs, the too frequent orders of prepared meals or “young people who have seen their food balance disturbed by returning to their families.” Thus, the symptoms of those with ADD may have worsened, and those who had only a somewhat problematic relationship with food developed these diagnosable disorders.

“Deprived of liberty or social ties, they have decompensated on food, the last activator of pleasure to which they had access,” says Lydie Thierry, regarding cases of bulimic hyperphagia. Anorexic and bulimic disorders are the result of a loss of frame, daily rituals and limitations. “Some are in a state of control over things that have no life before them. One of my patients was drinking ice cream in the morning, ”says an example published by Endat-TCA. L’hyperphagie boulimique en 100 questions / answers. Lydie Thierry also notes that eating disorders may have resulted from a “need to regain control and especially her body through food.”

Rupture of care and overflowing teams

Confinement has also prevented good patient care. With a travel ban, the follow-up care of people already suffering from ADD “has been complicated, even with video consultations,” said Lydie Thierry. And patients who began to suffer from eating disorders were unable to access care early. “Today, services are facing a huge increase in demand for care. The number of patients is more important, as is the severity of the disorder, ”said Nathalie Godart. Psychologist Isabelle Siac says she sees more and more severe cases of anorexia and bulimia “with patients who vomit up to five times a day.”

Care teams are overwhelmed because these situations require more human resources, more time, more support. “It simply came to our notice then. It’s a vicious circle, ”laments the professor.

Teleworking and snacking

Could the end of the containment have solved the problem? It was counting without telecommuting, widespread in a large number of companies. “Employees take their lunch breaks at any time, eat in front of their computer on autopilot,” says Lydie Thierry. They disconnect from food, satiety, and satiety. This leads to snacking. »

Nathalie Godart, the president of the FFAB, reminds us that it is always possible to turn to her attending physician, pediatricians, child psychiatrists or to call the Anorexia bulimia hotline at 0810 037 037. From her Claim Hédon, a human rights activist, called on Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Thursday to draw up an emergency plan for the mental health of young people in the face of “seriousness”. “largely insufficient” resources are deployed.

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