Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anorexia nervosa study finds inner conflicts over the 'real' self that have treatment implications

23.11.2011
"It feels like there's two of you inside – like there's another half of you, which is my anorexia, and then there's the real K, the real me, the logic part of me, and it's a constant battle between the two." - 36 year old study participant with anorexia nervosa.

People with anorexia nervosa struggle with questions about their real, or "authentic," self – whether their illness is separate from or integral to them – and this conflict has implications for compulsory treatment, concludes a study in the Hastings Center Report. The researchers also conclude that exploring ideas of authenticity may help clinicians formulate therapeutic approaches and provides insights into whether compulsory treatment can be justified.

For the study, researchers in the U.K. interviewed 29 women who were being treated for anorexia nervosa at clinics throughout the south of England. The interviews asked questions about how the women view their condition, including their understanding of it, how they feel about compulsory treatment, and their thoughts about the impact of anorexia on decision-making. Although the researchers did not ask about authenticity or identity, almost all of the participants spoke in terms of an "authentic self," the researchers write, "and, for almost all, the relationship between anorexia nervosa and this authentic self was a significant issue."

Participants characterized this relationship in different ways. Many saw anorexia nervosa as separate from their real self. Some expressed the idea of a power struggle between their real and inauthentic self. Others said that other people could provide support to enable the authentic self to gain strength within the struggle.

The researchers interpret the patients' notion of their illness as separate from their authentic self as a sign of hope. "Conceptualizing the anorexic behavior as an inauthentic part of the self may well be a valuable strategy for many in helping to overcome it," the authors write.

The authors also say that, in their view, the distinction between an authentic and an inauthentic self is not necessarily the same as a lack of capacity for decision-making and cannot justify overriding a patient's refusal to consent to treatment, although they believe that their findings give grounds for not simply acquiescing to refusals of help. "Some authorities argue that compulsory treatment should never be used for anorexia nervosa," they write. "We believe, however, that we should take seriously the possibility that a person in the throes of anorexia nervosa may be experiencing substantial inner conflict, even though the person may not be expressing that feeling at the time."

The authors conclude that clinicians need to monitor patients' views over time and that if the inner conflict persists, it suggests a lack of capacity for decision-making and, therefore, a risk of significant harm. In this case, they say, "perhaps the evidence from these accounts is sufficient to override treatment refusal in the person's best interest." An unanswered question is whether patients who regard anorexia nervosa as an inauthentic part of the self are most likely to respond to treatment. "A question of empirical study is whether those who separate the anorexic self from a perceived authentic self are more successful at overcoming anorexia nervosa than those who do not," the researchers write.

The authors are Tony Hope, professor of medical ethics at the Ethox Centre in the University of Oxford, a fellow of St. Cross College, and honorary consultant psychiatrist; Jacinta Tan, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and medical ethicist who is a senior research fellow at Swansea University; Anne Stewart, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and honorary senior clinical lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University; and Ray Fitzpatrick, professor of public health and primary care at the University of Oxford.

Michael Turton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.thehastingscenter.org/

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>