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This paper argues that there is a relationship between understandings of anorexia nervosa (AN) and how the ethical issues associated with involuntary treatment for AN are identified, framed, and addressed. By positioning AN as a construct/discourse (hereinafter "
the diagnosis") several ethical issues are revealed. Firstly, "
the diagnosis" influences how the autonomy and competence of persons diagnosed with AN are understood by decision-makers in the treatment environment. Secondly, "
the diagnosis" impacts on how treatment and treatment efficacy are defined and the ethical justifiability of paternalism. Thirdly, "
the diagnosis" can limit the opportunity for persons with AN to construct an identity that casts them as a competent person. "
the diagnosis" can thus inherently affirm professional knowledge and values. Postmodern professional ethics can support professionals in managing these issues by highlighting the importance of taking responsibility for professional knowledge, values, and power and embracing moral uncertainty.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of bioethical inquiry
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The lack or loss of APPETITE accompanied by an aversion to food and the inability to eat. It is the defining characteristic of the disorder ANOREXIA NERVOSA.
An eating disorder that is characterized by the lack or loss of APPETITE, known as ANOREXIA. Other features include excess fear of becoming OVERWEIGHT; BODY IMAGE disturbance; significant WEIGHT LOSS; refusal to maintain minimal normal weight; and AMENORRHEA. This disorder occurs most frequently in adolescent females. (APA, Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 1994)
A disorder associated with three or more of the following: eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry; eating much more rapidly than normal; eating alone due to embarrassment; feeling of disgust, DEPRESSION, or guilt after overeating. Criteria includes occurrence on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months. The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (i.e. purging, excessive exercise, etc.) and does not co-occur exclusively with BULIMIA NERVOSA or ANOREXIA NERVOSA. (From DSM-IV, 1994)
A late 20th-century philosophical approach or style of cultural analysis that seeks to reveal the cultural or social construction of concepts conventionally assumed to be natural or universal. (from E.R. DuBose, The Illusion of Trust: Toward a Medical Theological Ethics in the Postmodern Age, Kluwer, 1995)
The identification, analysis, and resolution of moral problems that arise in the care of patients. (Bioethics Thesaurus)
The main eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, involves extreme weight loss as a result of very strict dieting. The cause is a strong belief held by the patient that they are fat (despite their extreme thinness), and become terrified of putting on weight. O...
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics brought about by advances in biology and medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philo...