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Monday, November 28, 2011

Many Anorexics Struggle with ‘Authentic’ Self

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
A new report concludes that people with anorexia nervosa struggle with questions about their real, or “authentic,” self.

Researchers believe an understanding of the conflict has implications for compulsory treatment.

Clinicians believe an approach that explores ideas of authenticity may represent a new therapeutic avenue and could provide insights into whether compulsory treatment can be justified.

Researchers in the UK interviewed 29 women who were being treated for anorexia nervosa at clinics throughout the south of England. In the interview, women were asked about how they viewed their condition, including their understanding of it, how they feel about compulsory treatment, and their thoughts about the impact of anorexia on decision-making.

Although the researchers did not ask about authenticity or identity, almost all of the participants spoke in terms of an “authentic self.” Moreover, researchers report that, “for almost all, the relationship between anorexia nervosa and this authentic self was a significant issue.”

Participants characterized this relationship in different ways. Many saw anorexia as separate from their real self. Some expressed the idea of a power struggle between their real and inauthentic self. Others said that other people could provide support to enable the authentic self to gain strength within the struggle.

The discovery that patients view their illness as separate from their authentic self is viewed by researchers as a sign of hope.
...Continue reading here
If you are struggling with anorexia, what might be some of the difficulties you are experiencing in embracing your 'authentic self'?

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