In the news: Eating disorders in Alaska are on the rise
Thank you to the Anchorage Daily News for covering an important topic: More Alaskans are being diagnosed with eating disorders, but treatment options in the state remain scarce. For the full article, visit: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2021/06/01/more-alaskans-are-being-diagnosed-with-eating-disorders-but-treatment-options-in-state-remain-scarce/
If you need help, please check out Alaska Treatment options: https://www.akeatingdisordersalliance.org/alaska-treatment-options
Or a list of support groups locally and nationally: https://www.akeatingdisordersalliance.org/covid-19-resources
Remember -- you are not alone.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
Rising demand for limited resources
The challenge of accessing treatment for eating disorders in Alaska is not a new problem, providers say. Alaskans seeking treatment for eating disorders, and many other conditions, have long had limited options for care.
But the pandemic-related rise in disordered eating has strained an already limited pool of resources — and has made seeking care for eating disorders in Alaska even harder.
“We have some incredible providers who are doing some incredible work with eating disorders,” said Jenny Loudon with the Alaska Eating Disorders Alliance, an organization that she helped create in 2019.
“But the demand for services is consistently outpacing the supply,” she said. “And what we’re seeing is that the outpatient treatment is ... being a little bit overwhelmed in Alaska right now.”
Part of the problem is that Alaska doesn’t have any in-state inpatient treatment options for those needing the highest level of care — and options for outpatient care are extremely limited. That means that often, the best and only option for many people is leaving the state to seek care.
Nationally, the waiting period for those residential centers has gotten much longer during the pandemic, Loudon said. Pre-pandemic, the wait may have been a couple of weeks or a month — and now it can be up to five or six months.
“And you can imagine that if you’re waiting for access to that higher level of care, you really, really need to have good outpatient care to support you in the meantime,” Loudon said. “In Alaska, where the access to outpatient care is more limited, that can cause just additional exacerbation of existing shortages.”