Can Involuntary Hospitalizations Save Anorexics’ Lives?

Healthcare laws differ from country to country when it comes to the hospitalization of patients deemed mentally ill.

In Israel, a new study suggests that involuntary hospitalizations of anorexic individuals are not detrimental to recovery – and outcomes suggest that more lives could be saved if legislation was passed that allows patients to be hospitalized if the anorexia is life-threatening.

“This study confirms previous research findings that the refusal of patients to receive treatment and their perception of the eating disorder may change during treatment, even in cases of the patient receiving treatment against their initial will,” said study author Prof. Yael Latzer, from the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences of the University of Haifa in Israel.

Response to treatment ‘good’

Eating disorders in Israel are becoming a serious problem among youth, and Latzer stresses that many anorexic patients lack the sound cognitive ability to make good decisions about their own health.

In the study of 79 patients, Latzer and his team found that both compulsory (forced) and voluntary treatment led to the same positive outcomes.

“Although forced hospitalization is complicated for the patient, their family and the staff, it is sometimes necessary in order to save the patient’s life,” Latzer said. “It is our duty as a society to provide compulsory treatment to patients until they are once again able to make sound judgments.”

University of Haifa

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2018
Company Information

© 2018 All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.