Paper would make ‘anorexia’ biological in origin

Call it the medicalization of everything. According to Fox News, Anorexia Might Be a Disease Like Diabetes, Scientists Say.

Anorexia may be a disorder more of the metabolism than the mind, according to a new paper that argues the disease is a sort of cousin of diabetes.

We’ve managed to take self-control out of the equation so often now that one has to wonder who’s at the wheel (e.g. god, nature, or the designated chosen one)? The feeling used to be that anorexia had something to do with body image. Body image is a matter of thought and perception. Metabolism presumes that there can be no conscious control of the matter. Freedom and responsibility just flew out the window.

Obesity, the result of over eating, is a common cause of diabetes. I think it fair to say that obesity is a cousin of diabetes. Over eating changes the metabolism of the human body and one of the outcomes of this change is diabetes. Had a person practiced a little restraint when it came to his or her appetites rather than becoming grossly obese, a person would also have warded off the development of diabetes.

The review of past research on the topic, published in the June issue of the Journal Molecular Psychiatry, finds that certain genetic and cellular processes get activated during starvation in organisms ranging from yeast to fruit flies to mice to humans. The idea, said study researcher Donald Dwyer, is that in people with a broken starvation response, a few initial rounds of dieting could trigger a metabolism gone haywire.

Wait a minute…”genetic and cellular processes”, you say? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Any metabolic change you get here wasn’t the result of dad humping mom, was it? It was the result of suppressing natural appetites.

I still think, given the evidence, over eating is much more closely related to diabetes than under eating. The issue is does the word ‘metabolism’ excuse the human organism from the exercise of responsible self-control. I don’t think it does.

Where is this investigation leading?

If Dwyer is right, difficult-to-treat anorexic patients may need drugs to get their metabolisms back on track, much as diabetes patients have to take insulin shots. But so far, the idea has not been tested in humans.

This Donald Dwyer guy wants to bank in on a future pharmaceutical product, and he’s using a standard excuse that is being used over and over again by biological minded members of the psychiatric profession. This “disease” can only be “maintained” by taking this or that drug permanently, just like insulin for diabetes, even if this “disease” is a “disease” only by a far stretch of the imagination. This goes directly to my next point, the pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Look! What we’ve got here is a money-making scheme, pure and simple. Use your head, and be wary of any bogus speculative “research” of this sort.

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4 Responses

  1. As a former bulimic, I can only speak from my experience. I was obese ever since I was a baby and began vomiting everything I swallowed when I was 13. I lost a bunch of weight and continued purging on and off until I was 26 to maintain my weight.

    What triggered it seems to have been a desire to be thin and it seemed to be a very easy way to achieve it. However, engaging in such behavior can trigger a whole bunch of different processes.

    With me, it was the most all-encompassing addiction imaginable. When you deprive yourself of calories and starve yourself, you should feel really, really awful. But it doesn’t happen that way. The brain begins to hyper-secrete endorphins to make the pain go away and you feel so, so awesome. And it’s a high like you cannot believe.

    I was left chasing the tail of the dragon with other drugs for many years to come.

    Psychiatrists were absolutely of no help. In fact, with me they largely ignored it because I was a dude and just didn’t fit into that image of the most perfect little girl in the world.

    I can’t believe that these people are so ignorant that they would want to fan the flames of an already out of control addiction with more drugs. This simply does not end well.

    • As a former bulemic I guess you can testify in your person to the fact that people can and do recover from what are termed “eating disorders”.

      The brain has its natural anesthesizing process (the endorphins you mention), but in a way this is only a matter of masking and suppressing real emotion (my opinion). I see reality and real emotion as the way to counter the fantasies involved here, resolving the problem, and achieving a healthy balance in one’s life and diet.

      I am concerned that this speculative piece would be seeking a drug solution to so called “eating disorders”. This is a matter of making “eating disorders” out to be bio-genetic, and saying they should be “managed” with prescription drugs. This is the kind of “management” that ends only with the death of the organism.

      Who wins here? Some drug company with a lot of investors. Who loses? The patient. The patient now has a permanent condition, according to theory, to be managed by drugs.

      Stubborness, the problem as the author describes it, is not a disease.

      • A few years back there was some thinking that Chantix might help with eating disorders. Now they’re trying to peddle it for smoking cessation. They keep on trying to pimp this drug for something.

        I rarely reply, but you’ve hit a very raw nerve with me with this:

        …but in a way this is only a matter of masking and suppressing real emotion (my opinion)…

        Actually, that’s not just your opinion. It’s also the opinion of the psychiatrists I came to loathe.The people who insisted that emotions had to exist when there were absolutely none, the people who tried to impute intent and reasons that simply were not there and who tried to manufacture motivations that just absolutely went beyond my understanding.

        They were very frustrating people, who simply wanted to confuse the issues and to add a level of pointless complexity to things that were very simple. And when you add an an element of coercion to the mix, they become the most inhumane and the most uncompassionate people I have ever encountered. People who wanted to baffle with bullshit and then blamed their patient for their inability to sell it.

        Yah, I had to stop the bulimia because it got to the point that when I vomited it felt as though my whole insides were being jarred loose. It no longer provided pleasure. And a few years after that I quit all the drugs and drink, simply because that scene had also become boring. It was that simple, with no need of mental health services or 12-step programs. And from my understanding, this is how a vast majority of addicts get successfully clean and stay that way. It’s like that old joke, How many psychotherapists does it take to change a light bulb? None, because the light bulb will change itself.

        I will admit that one group of people profoundly changed my life, however. After I stopped vomiting and stopped all the drugs which worked well as appetite suppressants, I blimped out to over 300 pounds. I lumbered around for a few years like that and then went to my first Weight Watchers meeting. That’s been almost ten years ago and I haven’t looked back since. Although Weight Watchers has this squeaky clean corporate image it jealously maintains, there seems to be just beneath the surface this unspoken conversation going on among other people just like me, former bulimics and anorexics whose lives have been profoundly changed by this program. When I get on blogs like psychcentral’s weightless, it’s sad to see Weight Watchers damned by faint praise or just simply dismissed by more or less mainstream mental health thinking. Weight Watchers is a very good program.

        But, yah, it’s entirely possible to change. You just can’t rush it.

  2. I’ve heard the psychotherapy joke before. I came up with one of my own. How many “mental patients” does it take to change a light bulb? None. “Mental patients” don’t have to change light bulbs when they have PACT teams to change them for them. Psychotherapy may be in decline but “intensive” mental health treatment sure isn’t in decline. In fact, given community treatment programs such as PACT, it’s on the incline.

    Thanks for sharing your insights on battling bulima and weight gain, Marlboro. Maybe your experience will prove useful to some other reader who is facing similar issues.

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