DECISION MAKING IN ANOREXIA NERVOSA 8
1stDraft Research Paper
DecisionMaking In Anorexia Nervosa
“Itis about to be summer time, I need to lose some weight,” or “Isplurged during the holiday season, it is time to lose all thatweight” better yet, “My new year’s resolution is to lose 20pounds.” We have all thought at one point in our lives that it istime to shedfiveto ten poundsof surplus body weight. It is normal to desirebeinghealthy byhaving thoughts oflosing weight. However, what happens when the preoccupation withbeing too slim begins to take over one’s life, thoughts, body,sense of proper judgment, or ability to give an accurateself-perception?This is a sign of an eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is a dietingcondition that leadstopeople losingmore weight than what is medically healthy for their height and age.It is characterized by self-starvation,weight loss,aswell asmental and physical maladies(Andersen,2007).
Peopleaffected by theeatingdisorder arein constant fear of becoming fleshy.In some cases, they live in fear of being grosslyplumpeven when they are underweight. As a result, the affected individualsrefuse to feed, and the eating disorder negatively impacts theirhealth. Mostpeople do not consider anorexia nervosa as a mental condition.Therefore, unlike other patients who are perceived to be in need ofboth physical and psychological assistance, people with anorexia areallowed to make independent decisions. The tendency has been thecause of severe cases of suffering to the affected people as familymembers refer the patients for treatment when the condition isalready in an advanced stage. People with anorexiashould not have the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment becausethey cannot make rational decisions about their nutrition andfeeding.This paper will argue in support of this thesis by invoking thesentiments of different authors and drawing conclusions from variousstudies.
Themajority of people with anorexia nervosa are girls and adolescents,although it can affect any person, including, men and boys who needpsychological treatment. Theconditionis more than an eating disorder. It is a serious mental healthillness. Infact, itis a fatal eating disorderwiththe highest mortality rate than any other psychiatric sickness(Andersen,2007).The author also indicates that more than 30% of all the anorexiaconditions turn out to be fatal because individuals only turn up fortreatment when the situation is out of hand. Also, the frustrationsinvolved in the process of losing weight and the failure to get thedesired figure are major causes of suicide among the patients withanorexia.
Despitevast research, there arenoparticular factors that can be attributed tothe cause of anorexia nervosayet.Instead, most of the research conducted has concluded that thedisorder can be stimulated by many factors such as culture,environment, psychological, and biological dynamics (Draper, 1998). Many societies have a heavy emphasis on the ideal beauty and what amale or female should look like in terms of their body shape. Themedia, through television shows such as “American’s Next TopModel”, advertisements, and commercials, isconstantlysending culture messages that glorify a slim figure as the perfectbody for a model. As a result, people feel the extreme pressure andstress to conform to the society’s views of getting the slenderbodythat is needed to be considered beautiful.
Anorexiais also caused by a significant level of hero worship. According toAndersen (2007), institutions use models to emphasize the preferredbody size and structure. People who are vulnerable to the pressureresolve to work out and have similar physical appearances. Themisconception results from low self-image and undue pressure fromdifferent players in the environment. Girls who are obese in theirchildhood may develop a negative attitude towards their appearanceduring adolescence. The conventional methods of losing weight,including, exercising and taking fewer calories may not be effectivein the short- term. Therefore, refraining from eating, which leads tothe wasting of muscles, becomes the best option.Insteadof achieving the desired look, they appear emaciated. Mostof them want immediate results through starvation. Therecommended procedures of losing excess fat require a lot ofcommitment, and an individual may take several months before losingthe expected pounds. Accordingto Andersen (2007), more than 30% of the patients referred to majorhospitals for anorexia succumb to their condition while others commitsuicide.
Effectsof Anorexia in the Body
Patientswithanorexia denytheir bodies vital nutrients. The primary objective is to achieve aslim figure through misguided belief that the most effective way isvia refraining from eating. They may also be averse to various foodsthat contain calories. Mostof the foods found in eateries and fast food joints are associatedwith rapid increase in weight and obesity. Individuals with anorexiaare overly sensitive to what they consume, and they tend to ingestinsignificant amounts of nutrients. Accordingto Draper (2000), the intake of highcaloriefoods is not recommendable when in largeamounts, butadeficiency also affects the body negatively. Their frames becomefrail, and they maynot perform some functions that require physical input. Most of thefemales strive to maintain theadolescentfigure that they once enjoyed. However, they cannot attain such astate due to the increase in bodystructureover time(Draper, 2000). Young men and women require a lot of nutrients tocope with their rapid development. When the body lacks the inputs,growth is stunted. It is, therefore, common for patientswith anorexiato have withered muscles and incapacity to achieve their developmentmilestones.
Inaddition, the body’s immunity deteriorates. The patients are atrisk of contracting opportunistic infections that can turn fatal. Itis entirely ironical that the efforts to remain “healthy” canlead to the loss of life. Inthe event of an infection, the patients cannot ward off simplesymptoms, and they may always be in dire need of medication.Tanand Richards (2015) agree that there is no difference betweenanorexia and passive euthanasia since they can have similar outcomes.Theauthors believe that death can result from both tendencies.Therefore, the decisions to impose self-harm should involve otherparties since the patients may be pursuing such an objective due tosome form of pressure or conviction from third parties.
WhyPeoplewith AnorexiaShould not Have the Right to Refuse Life Sustaining Treatment
Thereare several reasons why people with anorexia should be denied theright to make life-sustaining decisions. First, the individuals withanorexia portray a pattern of thinking that inclines towards toharming themselves to achieve a certain weight (Tan & Richards,2015). The idea can be termed as a thought disturbance. They areprone to external pressure. Psychologists regard to the patients asmentally disturbs and categorize them among the dependent parties whocannot effectively make autonomous decisions. Therefore, theirprimary intention is not to improve their health (Tan & Richards,2015).
Also,most of the patients starve themselves secretly, and they usuallycheck their weight against the expected outcomes. In the process, theself-starvation can result to severe malnutrition or even death.According to Coggon (2013), just like in suicide, when individualsare considered as devoid of rationality to make crucial decisions,individuals with anorexia should not be permitted to make independentresolutions on their feeding habits or other life-sustainingtreatment. Working towards such a goal by inflicting pain andsuffering on oneself is not consistent to what psychologists refer toas rational thinking. The patients are at risk of ending their livesin the belief that they are looking healthier than they previouslydid.
Secondly,medical ethics allow doctors to give room for patients’ autonomy.Tan and Richards (2015) argue that restricting a client from makingtreatment decisions is a contravention of the principle. However, itis noteworthy that autonomy and rationality are inseparable. Thedecisions made by patients are taken as free will made with a clearconscience without any form of influence (Tan & Richards, 2015).Also, medical practitioners have a duty of safeguarding the lives ofpatients in different circumstances. The authors argue that justbecause a patient with anorexia want to remain malnourished and atrisk of succumbing to his or her condition does not mean thattherapists should grant him or her autonomy to make the resolution.The ethical challenge arises from the need for free-will and theincapacity to arrive at a sound and helpful resolution. A patient mayhave tens of reasons to justify the condition. However, to others,the decision is unjustifiable and inappropriate (Tan & Richards,2015). In a similar way, the decisions of people suffering fromanorexia can be irrational and self-harming. Consequently, theyshould be under the supervision of an individual who seeks the bestinterest of the patients. According to Tan and Richards (2015),people with anorexia are often at risk of a self-imposed death. Thereexists a medical obligation when the condition is at the point whereit can become fatal.
Huxtable(2014) also reports that most of those who recover from anorexia areusually grateful for the medical services they received when theywere suffering. It is an indication of lacking the capacity to makevital resolutions. The author provides that the benefits resultingfrom a health intervention are likely to be appreciated by the clientafter recovery. Such a change of attitude would make the doctors andguardians look irresponsible and unmindful of the patients if theyjust let them make irresponsibledecisions influenced bymental turmoil (Huxtable, 2014).
Finally,it is crucial to note that a good therapeutic alliance is necessaryfor the treatment process. Theinteraction between a doctor and the patient contributes immensely toan accelerated recovery as well as efficient follow-up. It motivatesclients to adhere to the physician’s instructions, and they canexpress any discomfort or recurring symptoms. However,Yager et al. (2016) note that not all patients are willing tocollaborate with the health professionals,especially,when they perceive their actions to be correct. The authors providethatvictimsof anorexia relaxtheir stances as their heath improves. Also, it is worth mentioningthat addressing their health involves a combination of multipleapproaches for both the physical and psychological well-being (Yageret al., 2016).
Inconclusion, individualswith anorexia shouldbe considered incompetent to make decisions about their health.Consequently,they should not have the right to refuse life-sustaining treatmentsince they cannot arrive at rational decisions regarding theirnutrition and feeding. Thesocial pressure for men and women to maintain a given figure exertspressure on the youth to resort to self-starvation to obtain theparticular shape. Medicalpractitioners have an obligation to protect further harm onindividuals’ health, usually, through psychologically competentmethods.The DSM-IV criteria list anorexia as a comorbid disease for variousconditions. Therefore, it is more than a physical complication. Thefrail looking individuals, as a result of self-starvation, requirepsychological assistance as they cannot be considered rational enoughto make resolutions for the best interest of their health.Research indicates that most of the patients are pleased with thechanges in their health after undergoing a corrective treatment.Therefore, it would be unethical forthe loved ones and therapists of the patients with anorexia tolet them starve to death while upholding their misinformed decisions.Also, most of the anorexiaconditionsbecome fatal in the long-run. To prevent such incidences,life-sustaining resolutions should not be left to the patients’discretion.
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