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Doctors warn about eating disorders being triggered during the holidays

The holidays can be stressful for many people, but it can be extra hard for people battling with an eating disorder.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The holidays can be stressful for many people, but it can be extra hard for people dealing with mental health issues. Doctors say patients with eating disorders can have more anxiety during holidays because of food-focused events. 

"We take care of persons with eating disorders," Dr. Prettei Matkins said. 

Matkins works at Veritas Collaborative’s Child, Adolescent & Young Adult Center in Charlotte. She said it can be hard for families during the holidays. 

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"The holidays sometimes, people are very hesitant to start treatment during a holiday time, and there is a balance of people coming home from college and their parents or loved ones seeing that they are suffering," Matkins said. 

It's a trend that has been going on since the pandemic. 

"In a community as large as Charlotte, based on incidences data, we would think there are a lot more people that are suffering that are not seeking care," Matkin said. 

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She said it's due to the time and commitment some have to make for treatment.

"With the return of school in person and somewhat normalized activities, it's a tough decision for a family to commit to care," Matkin said. 

At least 28 million Americans, or 9%, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Matkin said the best thing parents can do is reach out if they have concerns. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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