Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by deliberate weight loss. Although Peggy Claude-Pierre does not have formal education in the cure of eating disorders, she operates a popular clinic in British Columbia, which treats only the most severe cases (Streisand). She claims that she knows what causes anorexia and bulimia, and she can heal anyone who gives her a chance (Streisand). In particular, she stands for a form of treatment for anorexia (Streisand). Many agree that anorexia is a psychological illness, which affects people with victim syndrome. In other words, patients cannot take responsibility for their lives and are overly dependent on others’ opinions; therefore, they need to be treated therapeutically. There are also opposite points of view on the cure of anorexia, thus causing controversy in this matter. Specifically, proponents of medication treatment find this method to be more effective. However, anorexia should be treated by therapies rather than medication because it is aimed at eliminating the root of the problem in the patients’ minds, involves their participation in treatment, and has more complex methods.
Currently, there are many psychological problems in the world, which are difficult for people to cope with independently, without seeking help from a specialist. Frequently, it contributes to the maladjustment of a person, the loss of friends, and deprivation of not only mental but also physical health. Such a problem penetrates the subconscious of a human and controls it, changing the behavior, attitudes, goals of activity, and personality as a whole. In particular, there are situations when an individual considers the disease to be personal growth and development, but in reality, he or she degrades or dies, an example of which is precisely anorexia. Vaughn et al. argue that of all psychiatric disorders, anorexia has the highest risk of mortality. Simultaneously, an article by Streisand shows that according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, seven million girls and women in the United States suffer from severe eating disorders. Thirty percent of them will experience ongoing hardship, and six percent will eventually die, in most cases, from suicide or heart failure (Streisand). The incidence of this type of disease is also increasing among men.
Presently, there is a controversy about the necessity of medication treatments in the fight against anorexia. According to Crow, this type involves the use of various drugs to combat dehydration and vomiting and to improve protein and fat metabolism. Depending on the symptoms, medications are selected for each patient. To normalize the emotional background and cope with the disorder, tranquilizers, antidepressants, and other medications, which are prescribed by a doctor, are used (Crow). Recently, there has also been an interest in applying atypical antipsychotics in the treatment process (Crow). A study by Sibeoni et al. acknowledges that this method aims to eliminate the disease symptoms, which could be observed externally and measured: weight, physical status, dietary behavior, and hyperactivity. As a consequence, more conviction appears that psychological therapies, which are directed at the root of the problem, are a more suitable way to treat anorexia.
The argument for the treatment of anorexia presents in the fact that this disease is a psychological disorder. Therefore, the problem’s root must be eliminated in the patient’s consciousness, rather than the external characteristics removed. In particular, the study of Conti et al. emphasizes the significant risk of treatment aimed only at reducing outward symptoms without considering the adjustment of the patient’s emotional component. The success of the Peggy Claude-Pierre methods, mentioned above, lies precisely in the orientation towards the internal psychological causes of the disease (Streisand). She believes that anorexia can be reversed entirely through unconditional love, freedom from a sense of responsibility for illness, and a technique, which teaches patients to separate their disease from their true selves (Streisand). If even under the impact of external medical influence with using medicines, the patient allegedly defeats anorexia, the internal inferiority complex will remain. The consequence of it will be the disease’s transition to other deviations or its return in the future.
Another argument supporting the benefit of therapies in contrast with medication is the effectiveness of patient involvement in the treatment, which is absent in the latter. In particular, Conti et al. argue that participants of their study reported that they perceived it as valuable input when they were active members in cure. Consequently, the treatment was more effective and inspiring for them (Conti et al.). On the contrary, medication seeks to solve the problem beyond the patient, often by compulsory methods. It contributes to suicidal thoughts, loss of trust in others, including doctors, increased anxiety, and relapses. Thus, the patients close in themselves and are not interested in their recovery and treatment. It is aggravated by the fact that people who suffer from this type of disease do not want to recognize the problem and adequately assess the situation.
Finally, therapies, in contrast to medication treatment, have more complex methods. The therapeutic techniques include the family or partner’s involvement in the process, in-depth recognition of the factors, which lead to the illness, and the impact on the patient’s motivation and self-efficacy. Specifically, the effectiveness of the last of the listed techniques was demonstrated by Dawson, describing the positive effect of recovery stories of other patients on convalescence. At the same time, working with the entire family purposes to realize the eating disorder and includes discussing its influence on all members. It aims to understand the patient’s condition and the ways the family can help. As a result, therapies find more successful ways to deal with stressful situations, negative thoughts, and emotions, which will more likely help to overcome anorexia.
To summarize, anorexia should be treated by therapies rather than medication since the former aims at identifying what caused the disorder in the psyche, involves the participation of patients, and has more complex techniques. In particular, considering that the disease is a psychological disorder, the simple elimination of external symptoms, to which medication treatment is directed, will not be sufficient to overcome anorexia. In the best case, it will cause either the reappearance of disease or the appearance of new dementia since the patient’s internal inferiority complex will remain. In addition, participation in the treatment process, which includes therapy, increases the chances of recovery by increasing motivation and inspiration. Finally, the therapies contain more comprehensive techniques, including family involvement, in-depth recognition of the causes of illness, and impact on patient self-efficacy. As a consequence, therapies suggest more successful ways to overcome anorexia. As can be seen in the reviewed scientific studies, the medical community is currently becoming more aware of it. At the same time, this issue should be spread as widely as possible, since if we do nothing, anorexia will continue to kill millions of people.
Conti, Janet E., et al. “‘Finding My Own Identity’: A Qualitative Metasynthesis of Adult Anorexia Nervosa Treatment Experiences.” BMC Psychology, vol. 8, no. 1, 2020, Web.
Crow, Scott J. “Medications for Eating Disorders.” Encyclopedia of Feeding and Eating Disorders, 2017, Web.
Dawson, Lisa. “Recovery Stories, Role in Treatment.” Encyclopedia of Feeding and Eating Disorders, 2017, Web.
Sibeoni, Jordan, et al. “Metasynthesis of the Views about Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa in Adolescents: Perspectives of Adolescents, Parents, and Professionals.” PLoS ONE, vol. 12, no. 1, 2017, Web.
Streisand, Betsy. “Overcoming Anorexia.” U.S. News & World Report, 1997, Web.
Vaughn, Don A., et al. “Differentiating Weight-Restored Anorexia Nervosa and Body Dysmorphic Disorder Using Neuroimaging and Psychometric Markers.” PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 5, 2019, Web.