Heather was 14 years old when an eating disorder took over her life. Twelve years and one global pandemic later, mandated shelter-in-place orders terminated the in-person care she had come to rely on. “As soon as Covid happened, I wasn’t able to go into the clinic anymore to meet with my clinicians,” she says of the team of doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and nutritionists who often work collaboratively in traditional treatment settings. “Outpatient treatment was four days a week. After I finished, I went from a lot of contact to just having one appointment once a week—that’s something I really struggled with.” With many medical facilities indefinitely closed, there was only one practical option: Head to the App Store.
In February, Heather, who asked to be identified only by her first name, downloaded Recovery Record, perhaps the best-known eating disorder treatment app. Launched in 2011, the app uses cognitive behavioral