The Eastern European Eating Disorder Network (EEEDN), founded in 2018, has decided to hold its second meeting on October 28-30, 2023, in Krakow, with a special focus on the issue of eating disorders in times of global uncertainty.
Over the past few years, the world has faced a serious of deep crises, which have not passed and have a lasting impact on our sense of safety, security, and prospects for the future. In March 2020 a pandemic of forgotten proportions shut down societies across the globe. Right when this COVID pandemic subsided, a major war started on the European continent. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February resulted in the greatest refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two. Inside the country images of destruction, pillaging and murder left deep psychological scars on the Ukrainian population. In particular for Eastern European countries the war in Ukraine resulted in depression, anxiety and outright panic. Both events have resulted in a steep increase in numbers of persons suffering from eating disorders.
The fact that the event takes place in 2023, and not in 2020 or 2022 as originally planned, is telling in itself. In 2020 it was postponed because of COVID. In 2022 it was postponed because of the war in Ukraine as it was supposed to take place in Kyiv. It will now take place in the historic Polish city of Krakow, to allow maximum Ukrainian participation. The conference usually attracts some 150 mental health professionals from Central and Eastern Europe as well as from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Among the speakers are prominent European specialists in the field of eating disorders.
Eating disorders are a widespread problem. Flawed attitudes towards weight, body shape and eating play a key role in the development of eating disorders. These disorders can be particularly affected by persistent stress, anxiety and the lack of control over one’s life. This is currently the case for people in Ukraine who are experiencing war. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. They lead not only to psychological problems, harmful eating habits and malnutrition, but will eventually damage the heart, digestive system, bones and teeth, and lead to a range of other illnesses or death. Eating disorders are the most lethal mental illnesses, with approximately 10-20% not surviving.
The conference in Krakow
The conference takes place in the historic Polish city of Krakow, not far from the Ukrainian border, in order to facilitate Ukrainian attendance by providing buses to bring mental health professionals from Ukraine.
The program will focus on:
The target audience of the event – mental health professionals and other stakeholders from Central and Eastern Europe as well as from the Caucasus and Central Asia.
The conference is organized by the Federation Global Initiative on Psychiatry, which has promoted mental health reform in the region since its founding in 1980 and has been very active in Ukraine since 1990.