Western-led Study May Change Anorexia Treatments

Research led by a Western University Doctor of Philosophy might change the way the medical community looks at treating anorexia nervosa.

The eating disorder affects thousands of Canadians, is notoriously difficult to treat and is sometimes fatal. Dr. Louis Charland is a professor at Western’s Faculty of Arts & Humanities, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and the Faculty of Health Sciences.  He and his team say their research concludes that anorexia should be considered the result of a passion, based on a theoretical view of mental disorders founded years ago in France.  Dr. Charland says passions last longer than emotions and can sometimes lead to obsessive behavior such as with anorexia.

Dr. Charland uses the example of hoarding to explain a passion.  He says it can start with a passion for collecting that becomes obsessive to the point where it turns into a mental disorder.

The full study is published in the journal Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology.