There is nothing managed about 'Managed Anorexia'
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Managed Anorexia is a concept I have come across fairly recently, and one which I strongly believe needs to be beaten down before it becomes a mainstream or, god forbid, widely accepted turn-of-phrase. So, let’s first clarify, that ‘anorexia’ strictly refers to a psychological condition with adverse, and potentially life-threatening physical consequences; having a BMI so critically low that even if the sufferer does not starve to the point of organ failure, they could be left with underlying conditions such as osteoporosis or arrhythmia even if they were to get back up to a healthy weight. In fact, research indicates that as many as 20% of anorexia sufferers will die prematurely as either a direct, or indirect consequence of the condition, giving anorexia the highest fatality rate of any psychological disorder. And yet, it is a condition now being casually thrown together with the term ‘managed’; definable as the ability to survive something despite difficult circumstances. And so, you can see how this dangerously misleading phrase had me somewhat mystified. How can something possibly be both fatal, and survivable? This new phrase seems to play on the idea that a physical state of ‘anorexia’ (or, in other words, a critically low BMI) can be maintained, or ‘managed’ safely for an indefinite period without implicating serious health risks. Struggling to follow? Me to. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I can only see two ways this will play out - and neither of them are particularly ‘risk-free’. First, let us consider how this concept might affect an individual suffering from anorexia. One of the biggest pitfalls in anorexia recovery and relapse is the struggle against self-denial and body-dysphoria. There is often a huge part of an anorexic which believes that they are not in fact ill, or at least not ill enough to deserve treatment. While body-dysphoria, (simply referring to having a distorted mental perception of what one looks like,) further prevents the individual from seeing themselves as they really are – so that even when critically underweight, an anorexic will not perceive themselves as anything short of healthy.
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