(Files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)
Over the past two years, Northern Health has seen an uptick in referrals when it comes to those needing services at its Eating Disorders Clinic in Prince George.
According to our health authority, many of the risk factors associated with developing eating disorders has been more widespread among youth due to pandemic-related restrictions including a lack of access to fitness and wellness supports.
Rilla Lodge is a counsellor at the clinic who outlined some of the symptoms most commonly associated with eating disorders.
“It might be things like food restriction, it might include things like binging and purging as well as a pre-occupation with their body weight, shape, and size along with some of the things that go with that like a change in mood and emotional regulation or a change in interests and hobbies.”
“Depending on where someone is at in their journey, they may not be ready to ask for help and so it can fly under the radar where someone may be struggling for quite some time before they reach out for support.”
In addition, Lodge noted panic-buying and supply chain issues, which have often led to empty shelves at grocery stores have put a further strain on the issue for most residents.
“Especially for someone who is already struggling with a limited variety of safe or accessible food options that they feel OK with eating. When they don’t have access to these items because of supply-chain issues that are going to create an added challenge in barrier.”
While anorexia and bulimia are the most commonly known eating disorders among the general public, Lodge was quick to point out there are a few others that don’t garner as much attention.
“So that includes a binge-eating disorder, known as a term called Ednoss, which stands for eating disorder not otherwise specified and this includes someone who is really struggling with symptoms but they might not perfectly fit into one of those boxes.”
The Prince George Eating Disorders Clinic is located at 1308 Alward Street (2nd floor).
Last week was Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 1st to 7th) in BC.