Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder where a person, usually a woman, perceives herself to be either excessively fat or fatter than she actually is. Therefore, she refuses to eat what dieticians consider the proper portion of meals and that is, if she eats anything at all. This undoubtedly results in alarming amounts of weight lost to the extent where it is very unhealthy, as well as a lack of nutrients that are essential to the body. In many countries, such as United Kingdom, anorexia is considered a mental illness.
The justification behind this belief is that the absence or lack thereof, of food in the body prevents the brain from possessing important nutrients it needs to function properly. Thus, the person is unable to exercise good judgment. In my opinion, force-feeding a person with anorexia would probably be the most effective measure in order to cure them. Though some might consider this approach inhumane, I believe that life is a gift and should be put first above all else.
A person who believes herself to be fat then proceeds to starve herself to attain her “ideal” body shape deprives herself of what her body needs in order to function efficiently and properly. She will ultimately perish by her own doing because this kind of lifestyle is unsustainable. If a person dies from self-imposed malnutrition simply because she is not content with her physical appearance, then not only is she demeaning the gift of life, but also, all her efforts to look “good” would be in vain.
Once an individual dies, no one will really care what that person looks like. In the perspective of the anorexic person, she will have cheated herself of living a full life due to the fact that corpses do not possess the ability to show emotion or appreciation for the finer things in life. I also believe that starving oneself is, quite frankly, silly especially because there are millions of people out there who are starving not for the reason that they think they are fat but because they do not have any food to eat.
Therefore, even without the patient’s consent, I think medical doctors should do whatever they can to save the patient from slowly killing himself or herself through starvation. Since anorexics tend to be considered mentally ill individuals, they really should not be allowed to decide for themselves what food to eat or not eat. In their pursuit of the “perfect” or “ideal” body shape, they may not be able to realize the consequences of their actions, that what they are doing could lead to their death. All they are focused on is the fact that they need to look thin or model-like, as depicted in magazines and shown to be ideal on television.
Aside from this, experts say that a healthier body weight is important in treating the person’s mental illness. How can we start treating a person’s illness if she is already weak, unable to function properly, and no longer in the right state of mind? As a means to help the person, what is of utmost priority is to make sure she eats properly. If she refuses to do so, then force-feeding is the only way. Force-feeding is usually done as a last resort anyway, but it is only done in order to save a life.