The editors of the venerable Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, otherwise known as DSM, have just released proposed revisions for the fifth edition of the book, due out in 2013. And WOO-HOO! They've taken out the word refusal in their criteria for anorexia nervosa.
That word has always bugged the crap out of me. It embodies everything I've come to dislike and distrust about conventional eating disorders treatment. It assumes that the person with anorexia is making a choice--a conscious choice--to not eat. It reinforces Hilde Bruch's characterization of anorexia and the people who suffer from it and the whole psychodynamic theory of AN--a theory that has absolutely no basis in scientific evidence or fact. A theory that has kept ED treatment in the 18th century, in my opinion, and condemned sufferers to years of ineffective treatment and torment.
So three cheers to the editors. I hope their proposed revisions make the final cut.