Behavioral Consequences of Force-feeding
Food refusal may occur for a variety of reasons. For example, it may be used as a method of exercising control over others (either at family or society level), as a method of self-harm, or even as a way of committing suicide. It is sometimes a symptom of mental illness. Thus, management of self-starvation depends on the motivation behind it, and consequently, on specification of the extent to which incompetence influences the decision to refuse food. Forcible feeding is the most frequent behavioral intervention in the case of severely emaciated individuals but is it the only way in which they can be helped? Clearly, each case is very specific but it is important to try to analyze the unique character of food refusal and the difficulties involved in forcible feeding of emaciated individuals, at least on several examples. The author has chosen hunger strikes and anorexia nervosa to illustrate, among other things, the consequences of forcible feeding and the practical implications for therapy.
KeywordsPalliative Care Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Bulimia Nervosa Tube Feeding
Motto The Good Samaritan deserves sympathetic support, officious intermeddling must be discouraged (Anon. 1974). Abbreviation
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision
Malgorzata Starzomska and Marek Smulczyk are very grateful to professor Helena Yanet Grzegolowska-Klarkowska for her invaluable assistance.
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