CDC: Increase in eating disorders since pandemic; care options in Kentucky

Across the country, the CDC says eating disorders have increased since the pandemic started.
Published: Oct. 8, 2022 at 4:44 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Across the country, the CDC said eating disorders have increased since the pandemic started.

Some say Kentucky doesn’t have enough treatment options. The state currently does not have a residential eating disorder facility open 24/7.

The Center for Eating Disorders opened five years ago and now offers the highest level of eating-disorder-specific care in Kentucky, six-hour PHP, short for partial hospitalization program.

Patients can come in five days a week for group supervision and individual support.

Butler said the program started thanks to the Kentucky Eating Disorder Council Governor Andy Beshear created last year.

“Can you imagine being terrified of the thing that is going to save your life?,” Kristen Butler, Louisville Center for Eating Disorders Administration Manager said. “That’s what having an eating disorder is like.”

Bulter said an estimated one in 10 people in America has an eating disorder, and that number is now likely higher after COVID.

“In addition to dealing with a psychological disease that had major medical complications, now you are away from your family,” Butler said. “Now you are away from your friends.”

Allison Riggs said around 2010 she was diagnosed with bulimia, which is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating and purging that later was diagnosed as anorexia instead.

She said it wasn’t until her junior year at Bellarmine University that others noticed she was struggling and she decided to get help.

Riggs said, with the help of her friends, she decided to see a therapist at school, but the sessions weren’t enough.

“Every time that I ate something, I would purge,” Riggs said. “And it got to the point I was like, ahh this really isn’t normal. I was the poster child for not following through with what we talked about. During the session I would say- yep that makes sense. And at the time, it did make sense. I wasn’t lying about that. But I would leave after my sessions and go right back to the things I was doing before.”

She realized she needed better care, but there weren’t any residential eating disorder facilities in Kentucky. She decided to go to one in Colorado. Now 12 years later, that’s still a necessity for people like Riggs, who are looking for more extensive care.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237.

To learn more about the Louisville Center for Eating Disorders, click or tap here.