Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Using the electronic health records of over 5 million people aged under 30, researchers in the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry found that eating disorders were diagnosed significantly more commonly in 2020 than in previous years, with the rate increasing steadily throughout the year.

Woman sitting curled up on the ground

This new research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, shows the increase was greatest for anorexia nervosa, and for teenage girls. In addition, a higher proportion of the people diagnosed with an eating disorder had suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide.

Dr Max Taquet, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow and lead author of the study, said:

 

'These large-scale data confirm the concern of clinicians that eating disorders have become more common during the pandemic.'

Professor Paul Harrison, who supervised the research, said:

 

'Although the data are mostly from the USA, we assume the findings are similar in the UK. We now need research to understand the reasons for the increase, and to monitor the trends as the pandemic continues.'

To read the full study, Incidence and outcomes of eating disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was supported by the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre.

NIHR OXFORD HEALTH BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTRE NEWS

Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.

Similar stories

Risk of Death Doubled in Patients with Chronic Disease and Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorders

A new study led by Professor Seena Fazel at the University of Oxford found that among patients with chronic, non-communicable diseases, the risk of death is more than doubled if they also have a psychiatric disease.

Ethics in Mental Health Digital Innovations for Young People in Africa: Digital Campaign

This campaign was led by a team of 29 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and a Young People's Advisory Group (YPAG) across five African countries. The young people wanted to share contextual and accessible information on digital mental health and ethical issues that are important to them.

How Mindfulness May Improve Body Satisfaction and Mood

New research from Emma Osborne, Research Assistant at the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders (CREDO) at the University of Oxford (and PhD Candidate at the University of Bath), and Dr Melissa Atkinson, University of Bath, investigated two ways in which mindfulness might improve body satisfaction and mood.

Review Highlights Risk Factors Associated with Violence in Schizophrenia

Researchers at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry have found that people with schizophrenia and related disorders are at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating violence, but that the overall risk remains low (less than 1 in 20 in women, and less than 1 in 4 for men over a 35-year period for violent arrests and crimes).

New Study will Investigate Brain Fog Symptoms in Post-Hospitalised COVID-19 Patients

C-Fog is a collaborative new study led by Oxford University researcher, Dr Maxime Taquet, which will investigate the reasons why brain fog or cognition problems affect patients after COVID-19 infection. With a better understanding of the mechanisms involved it may be possible to understand how to treat brain fog and help many thousands of people worldwide.

A New Experimental Study Investigated the Effects of Atorvastatin on Emotional Processing

Atorvastatin is one of a group of statins widely used to treat heart and blood vessel diseases. The medication works by lowering cholesterol in the blood. This new study shows that atorvastatin influences the way people experience certain emotions, giving us important insights about disorders such as anxiety and depression.