Can An Anorexic Who’s Medically Stable Be Forced Into Treatment, Admitted To A Hospital Involuntarily Or Tube Fed Against Their Will?

Hi: This Is A Question That
Amy Colwell – 09/01/2012 – 09:35


This is a question that seems to come up fairly frequently – and is not an easy or straightforward one to answer.

Honestly, I can say that admitting someone involuntarily to a hospital for treatment and giving them nutrition against their will is not done without a great deal of thoughtful deliberation and adherence to legal medical policy (which may be different depending upon the location or state). When it is done, it is in order to save the person’s life. Of course, once life-saving measures have been provided, the original problem of the eating disorder still remains – so it is a temporary solution at best.

Involuntary tube feeding does however, in some cases offer the person time to medically stabilize so that they are physically healthy enough to enter a treatment program to address the issues that have caused the eating disorder to occur.

Involuntary treatment is especially distressing to individuals suffering from anorexia and other eating disorders as there is so much anxiety around the subject of weight gain. As this anxiety is a large part of the eating disorder, the thought of being “forced” to eat is especially distressing.

Although treatment of any kind may be very scary, it is actually the only way to truly lessen the anxiety around food issues. It is not possible to manage anorexia by trying to stay medically stable while starving yourself – that is not recovery! The issues behind eating disorders such as anorexia run so much deeper than that, and are much more important to your overall health than the provision of so many calories per day.

I know I’ve answered your question in a round about way, but I hope this helps a little. Please take care.


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