Monday 23 January 2012

why anorexia is so difficult to treat

Anorexia is an insidious dis-ease afflicting an ever increasing number of young people, girls in particular. It can be genetically pre-disposed, or reactive to chemical imbalance, but in my clinical experience it is most often related to sexuality and in the case of girls, the trauma of entering the sea of adolescence without the rudder of  social/emotional support.  Often a family affair, anorexia strikes the daughter who has being valued as being "good;" that is not rebellious, experimental, or securely individuated. Fearing the parental disapproval that inevitably accompanies adolescent rebellion, the girl chooses a secret weapon, one that she considers safe; food. After all, if she can control what she puts into her mouth, then she expects to be the victor in the power struggle.  Sadly, and too swiftly, food ceases to be an effective weapon, but rather the girl's own enemy. Once the struggle is internalised the voice of the controlling/restrictive self becomes so strong, that the girl succumbs. For those looking in at this dis-ease, it is almost impossible to comprehend. It doesn't make any sense: it is illogical, dangerous, even fatal. In my book Finding Artemisia, the inner world of anorectic thinking is revealed by Artemisia, a desperate, anorectic girl, barely 14, who shares her thoughts through her scrap book, the Oracle, which she hopes will help other girls recover, even though she has given up on her own life.


  1. You write beautifully and to the point.

  2. I have three teenagers and we always hope we give them all the right, love, support and friendship as parents that they will never end up facing something like this or drugs... Thank you for sharing.xx

  3. Thank you Tirscha. With your love and support I'm sure your children are already ahead in their journey.