Gender dysphoria and eating disorders have increased dramatically since the pandemic, the report found

Mental health diagnoses in children have skyrocketed since the COVID pandemic — led by gender dysphoria and eating disorders, according to a new report.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions analyzed data on medical claims filed between 2019 and 2023 for patients under the age of 18.

General, mental health claims rose by 83% among young people during that period.

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In comparison, the number of gender identity-related diagnoses increased by 133% and the number of eating disorders increased by 108%.

Phobic disorders also increased by 77%, as did claims for developmental disabilities.

Mental health diagnoses in children have soared since the pandemic – led by gender dysphoria and eating disorders, according to a new report. (iStock)

“Americans are in the midst of a long-standing mental health crisis, exacerbated by the crisis Covid-19 pandemic,” the researchers wrote in the report.

“The initial trauma and lingering effects of the pandemic continue to negatively impact the mental health of Americans, especially teens and young adults.”

Why the spike in gender dysphoria?

According to Abbey Jo Schrage, several factors have led to the sharp increase in gender dysphoria certified psychotherapist who runs her own practice in Idaho providing virtual mental health care.

“The first is the simple fact of awareness of gender identity issues,” she told Fox News Digital.

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“Young people have gained new and constant access to information and language about issues of gender identity through countless apps and websites.”

She added: “Another factor is the increasing cultural and social acceptance of gender identity expressions.”

white toilet doors with 3D wall design and rendering for your project

A licensed clinical social worker attributes the spike in cases to three factors: awareness, normalization and increased acceptance. (iStock)

Jonathan Levine, a licensed clinical social worker who works with Equip in Pennsylvania, attributes the spike in cases to three factors: awareness, normalization and increased acceptance.

“As it has become more normal to explore gender as a construct in society, people have become more comfortable exploring their own gender as individuals,” he told Fox News Digital.

“The initial trauma and lingering effects of the pandemic continue to negatively impact the mental health of Americans, especially teens and young adults.”

“Children and adolescents are naturally curious about themselves, and much of childhood is exploring who you are and your values… It's normal for young adults to be curious about their own identities, and it's safer for young people to explore their own explore identity than it has been in the past.”

Parents and communities can support children by listening to them without judgment or arguments, Schrage said.

Mother holds daughter

A supportive family can be lifesaving for young people with gender dysphoria, an expert told Fox News Digital. (iStock)

They should also “filter content appropriately” for their children's ages, she added.

“What a child is exposed to should be developmentally appropriate and not usher in premature confusion,” Schrage warned.

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Adam Mariano, a Philadelphia-based president and general manager of health care for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, suggests creating “safe spaces” where young people can participate, ask questions and share information.

“Providing clear, age-appropriate information and context will ensure children do not become isolated and feel anxious,” he told Fox News Digital.

depressed woman

Child mental health claims increased 83% between 2019 and 2023. (iStock)

a supportive family According to Levine, it can be life-saving for young people with gender dysphoria.

“A strong and affirming family support system has been shown to reduce suicidality among TGE youth by as much as 82% and suicide attempts from 57% to 4%,” he said.

Why the spike in eating disorders?

Exposure to “idealized and altered bodies” in addition to methods to achieve these unrealistic physical features is at an all-time high, Schrage noted.

“Many of my youth patients report spending between four and six hours every day scrolling and comparing themselves to others,” she told Fox News Digital.

There was a strong increase eating disorders during the pandemic, Levine said.

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“While there is no one reason why people develop an eating disorder, a common theme for many is the desire to feel in control,” he said.

“The pandemic left so many people feeling lonely, isolated and unable to control their environment, all of which led to a host of mental health problems, including eating disorders.”

Social media also plays a role in normalizing one body type for all people, Levine noted.

A child holds an iPhone at an Apple Store on September 25, 2015 in Chicago.

According to mental health experts, social media plays a role in normalizing one body type for all people. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

“The constant onslaught of messages about beauty standards, body ideals, diet culture and a chaotic world are all factors contributing to an increase in eating disorders among young people.”

To help young people struggling with eating disorders, Schrage says parents and the community should set appropriate limits on time and exposure to unrealistic images and media.

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'Parents should also prioritize shared meals, model healthy eating behavior and articulating their own sense of self,” she advised.

“Additionally, providing their children with feedback about internal qualities – such as their character and personality – more than outward physical and performance traits helps them develop a balanced, realistic sense of self-esteem.”

Parent and teenager talking

Parents and communities can support children by listening to them without judgment or argument, according to an expert. (iStock)

Parents and family members should also watch for warning signs, Levine said, such as increasing exercise, dieting, avoiding certain food groups and an increased focus on body image.

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews/health

“Normalize an 'all food fit' diet lifestylewhere every food is safe to eat, and there is no such thing as 'good' or 'bad' food,” he advised.

“It is important to focus on supporting young people in creating an expanded life that is bigger than what their body looks like.”

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