Force Feeding

Let's talk about force-feeding. Unless you feel pressured - I mean, I can't MAKE you read this, you have free will, you can stop reading this right now. Don't read this! Stop reading!


I asked a therapist yesterday whether she had heard of the Maudsley approach. Two beats.

"Isn't that force feeding?"


We have got to change the linguistics of eating disorders.

1) "eating disorders" will now be called "not-eating disorders."
2) "anorexia" will now be referred to as "malnutrition"
3) "bulimia" has a new name: "nutrition loss"
4) "refusal to maintain healthy weight" will be correctly labelled as "inability to self-nourish"
5) No one will be allowed to say "environment" without specifying that this includes dieting, prenatal nutrition, and inappropriate athletics.
6) Asthma medicine will now be "force-breathing" and insulin relabelled: Forced Metabolism."
7) Inpatient treatment will now be called "force feeding."
8) And feeding your children, especially when the child is inclined not to, has a new name: "good parenting."


  1. Funny in a really dark humorish sort of way. I guess I never understood why treating your child's life-threatening disease was "controlling," Mausdley or not. If I ignored my cat's illness, I could be charged with animal cruelty. Makes no sense...

  2. As an ignorant Brit the misconceptions about Maudsley in the States still amaze me.

    It's obvious me that it is not "force feeding" but "supported nutrition".

    It is also NOT "re-feeding against the will of the patient" which under the NICE guidelines is done only by professionals in exceptional circumstances (i.e. in a clinical hospital setting under a section under the mental health act)

    This might get me into trouble elsewhere but I really think that Maudsley needs the consent of the patient. In the sense of a child this will mean that they, evenutally, with much creative thinking, patience and love from the parent, obey the parent and take the medicine - they DO have a choice, "here or hospital". In the case of adults (with whom Maudsley can work very well) the consent is explicit and can take the form of a contract.

    Maudsley certainly isn't force feeding - if it descends into a situation where force is being used it isn't working and the family require extra help.

  3. Hi Laura's blog!
    How about "compulsory nutrition". Compulsory is understood in a more neutral less negative way than "forced".

    The same T's who deal with school anxiety and refusal by insisting that we must not allow the child to repeatedly miss school or it will reinforce the anxiety(which is true) are saying do not be the food police and do not oversee or over control your child's food choices etc.

    Shouldn't daily nutrition be just as, if not more, compulsory and non-negotiable as is compulsory schooling? To further the analogy many kids resist getting to school every day, or complain about it, and nag for more freedom, and some kids do develop genuine phobias about it, but parents do not generally give in very readily to the resistant kids, else you set a precedent which says it IS negotiable and it IS up to the child (in which case the anxiety could take control in a severely anxious kid) nor do they back away or resolve to loosen control if a genuine school phobia is developing. So why should they back off if meal phobias are developing?

  4. I'm with you, Laura--especially on changing that DSM-IV wording from "refusal to" to "inability to." That right there seems to say it all when it comes to the medical profession's understanding of anorexia.

  5. You go girl!!
    Couldn't agree more-would be a great"Hey Wake up you out there who have put 'Not Eating' disordered people in a box marked "You should know better! Just eat!"

  6. Okay, I am anorexic and that is so not true. My parents tried to force feed me and I stilll lost weight because I'd get rid of it. I don't have an inablility to eat. I restricted for 3 months, they tell me I have to go inpatient or eat. I ate without anyones help. Now I want to lose again, I restrict again. My parents are already controlling. (they want me to go to a college near by (our home) so they can watch me) They tried Maudsley and it failed so you can't say it always works.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts