Is this ethical? (advice for a Novel)

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Anonymous #1
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so i'm writing a novel, 1st off please excuse the poor grammar in this, it's 3 am where i am. I have a sub plot with a girl from Bulgaria who has taken a job in France, she's dealing with Anorexia, and she lives with her sister, her sister tells her boyfriend about this. the boyfriend talks to the mom of the girl in Bulgaria. (as the story goes, the girl eats but after she eats she vomits up everything.) The mother who is a pharmacist give the boyfriend pills, these pills are sleeping pills that he is to grind up and put in her food to put her to sleep so she doesn't vomit and the food digests while she is unconscious, to put on healthy weight. I'm wondering if that is ethical or not to do to someone, (P.S. i know in real life he'd take her to a Physician but in the story she refuses to go.)
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SkyRunner61
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(Original post by Anonymous)
so i'm writing a novel, 1st off please excuse the poor grammar in this, it's 3 am where i am. I have a sub plot with a girl from Bulgaria who has taken a job in France, she's dealing with Anorexia, and she lives with her sister, her sister tells her boyfriend about this. the boyfriend talks to the mom of the girl in Bulgaria. (as the story goes, the girl eats but after she eats she vomits up everything.) The mother who is a pharmacist give the boyfriend pills, these pills are sleeping pills that he is to grind up and put in her food to put her to sleep so she doesn't vomit and the food digests while she is unconscious, to put on healthy weight. I'm wondering if that is ethical or not to do to someone, (P.S. i know in real life he'd take her to a Physician but in the story she refuses to go.)
As a general rule people don’t like to be drugged without their knowledge
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Marshmello's Dad
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If that's what happens in your story then i'm sorry, you're no Jane Villanueva.
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Anonymous #1
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[QUOTE=Marshmello's Dad;78933716]If that's what happens in your story then i'm sorry, you're no Jane Villanueva.[/

(Original post by SkyRunner61)
As a general rule people don’t like to be drugged without their knowledge
True Really true, thats actually the point She gets Furious (as she should and leaves him, and her family, thats actually how she meets the main character who basically is a good character, he has flaws, that's why im asking if it's ethical or not because i want this guy to at least have a heart but he's an ass and does it wrong.
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Anonymous #2
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It is unethical, it doesn't mean someone wouldn't do it (especially a mother of an unwell girl!)
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Itsadaisy
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It's unethical yes, but I already suspect that would cause a lot of plot holes in your novel.

You can't knock her out for every meal she eats unless the boyfriend is constantly monitoring her intake, and with an ED that's a low possibility of that happening since people can be really secretive with their food intake. How many sleeping pills are needed to knock someone out? When do sleeping pills effectively kick in? How many meals does she eat (and throw back up) per day? What's her weight?

There's a serious chance of overdosing/becoming extremely suspicious/or not gaining that much weight depending on how many meals this girl actually eats.

And if she does eat more than once a day it takes you back to the first point of potential overdose. She's anorexic, I'm assuming she's underweight, it will require fewer tablets for her to overdose on if he's putting these tablets in all of her meals. Do these tablets kick in immediately? - There's a short time frame where throwing up food is actually effective, some/most people with anorexia throw up immediately after meals, is this form of intervention the best? She could actually end up eating less since anorexic people can use sleeping pills to miss out on the day to avoid binging.

It's always good to think about these possibilities when writing stories, just so you're covered on all sides.

Good luck with your writing! It does sound interesting.
(That's just what I can pick up, but I may be completely wrong)
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AzureCeleste
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Sounds more like bulimia to me than anorexia(just a technicality).
Bulimia is eating a load of food and throwing it up
Anorexia is more restricting food intake(as far as I'm aware, they don't force vomit)

Post above mentions plot holes in that and yes it's unethical.
Additional plot hole: she'd notice that she kept falling asleep after her meal and as such would know something is up and become suspicious and probably more guarded of her food when she made it.
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<..........>
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Very rarely are the people griding pills into soup revealed to be the good guys.

Also, if you're looking for titles may I suggest:
"The Girl Who Was Too Stupid To Notice She Slips Into A Coma After Every Meal"
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Itsadaisy
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(Original post by Johnathan94)
Very rarely are the people griding pills into soup revealed to be the good guys.

Also, if you're looking for titles may I suggest:
"The Girl Who Was Too Stupid To Notice She Slips Into A Coma After Every Meal"
Haha, yeah. My initial thought was 'there must be a really dark twist ending to this!' Most people who go down the drugging you up without your consent type of path are also the type to throw your body down a ditch too! It's like a fantastic murder sandwich.

You could argue that they trying to intervene in the best way that seemed fit from their own point of view(even if it looks quite unethical to outsiders), it could make for some interesting debate...
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username4094562
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Wouldn't it make more sense for the sister to give the pills to the girl? The boyfriend is not a close relation of the girl so readers would be thinking why would the boyfriend tell the mum and then do all of this rather than the sister? Unless you intend the sister to come off as a bit of a jerk, I don't see how this could work in making the girl's sister likeable as a character.
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katf
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Firstly, that's either bulimia or anorexia binge purge sub type. You haven't mentioned any restrictive behaviour, so it probably isn't anorexia. Even if this is a novel, the research is important.

Secondly, the plot is quite convoluted. It doesn't mesh with reality and what eating disorders are. Or how people with eating disorders behave.

Thirdly, she'd notice if she slept after she ate. As others have mentioned, she would then become more secretive with her eating.

Fourthly, pharmacies keep very accurate records of drugs. They don't just go missing and it's very hard to steal any. If the mother was found out (and she would be) she'd be out of a job and struck off.

Fifthly, it's completely unethical to drug someone. Even if it's supposedly for their benefit, it's unethical.

Finally, if you choose to centre your story around eating disorders, do some research. Then do some more research. If you think you've done enough, you haven't. Do more. Learn everything you possibly can about EDs and then some more. Only then should you start writing. Eating disorders are deadly and should be portrayed accurately. These are real illnesses that affect real people. Lazy, inaccurate portrayals are insulting and show a lack of respect for the subject matter.
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by AzureCeleste)
Sounds more like bulimia to me than anorexia(just a technicality).
Bulimia is eating a load of food and throwing it up
Anorexia is more restricting food intake(as far as I'm aware, they don't force vomit)
Actually, you are wrong - anorexia can be either restrictive or binge-purge type (the more common type). What distinguishes anorexia from bulimia is the BMI - anorexics have a BMI of 17.5 or less. So 2 people could have identical symptoms but different diagnoses because of their weight. It's a very common misconception though.
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by katf)
Firstly, that's either bulimia or anorexia binge purge sub type. You haven't mentioned any restrictive behaviour, so it probably isn't anorexia. Even if this is a novel, the research is important.
Restricting is not a diagnostic criteria for anorexia. Binge purge type is a lot more common than restrictive type. So although a lot of people might think that anorexia = not eating, it is very much not the case.


(Original post by katf)
Fourthly, pharmacies keep very accurate records of drugs. They don't just go missing and it's very hard to steal any. If the mother was found out (and she would be) she'd be out of a job and struck off.
This would more than likely be the case in the UK, but quite possibly not in a country like Bulgaria

(Original post by katf)
Fifthly, it's completely unethical to drug someone. Even if it's supposedly for their benefit, it's unethical.
But it doesn't mean people don't do it! Many, many people in the world do unethical things, and some of those are health professionals. It doesn't sound completely unreasonable that a mother might act unethically to do what she thinks might be best her child... (Even if it might mean losing her job)


.
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katf
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(Original post by Anonymous)
But it doesn't mean people don't do it! Many, many people in the world do unethical things, and some of those are health professionals. It doesn't sound completely unreasonable that a mother might act unethically to do what she thinks might be best her child... (Even if it might mean losing her job)


.
1) Incorrect. The focus of anorexia is weight loss. According to the NHS and the butterfly foundation (leading eating disorder charity), anorexia by definition involves restriction. It is not defined by weight and the NICE guidelines recommend treatment regardless of someone's weight. Binge purge subtype is indicated by a period of restriction, followed by a binge, then a purge. As stated previously, research.

2) Even so, it's incredibly convoluted. Plus the crossing of an international border (Bulgaria is not in the Schengen area) makes this really quite unlikely.

3) True, but it's not exactly a realistic storyline. Or one that makes much sense for the reasons outlined.
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Itsadaisy
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(Original post by katf)
Finally, if you choose to centre your story around eating disorders, do some research. Then do some more research. If you think you've done enough, you haven't. Do more. Learn everything you possibly can about EDs and then some more. Only then should you start writing. Eating disorders are deadly and should be portrayed accurately. These are real illnesses that affect real people. Lazy, inaccurate portrayals are insulting and show a lack of respect for the subject matter.
You make a fantastic point here. It's extremely useful to research the behaviour patterns of people with an ED and symptoms before writing characters with said ED. A lot of proana forums, articles, youtube videos and interviews can offer excellent firsthand experiences from people suffering from anorexia. When I typed up sleeping pills for those suffering from anorexia, I found a lot of anorexic people praising sleeping pills as it allows them to sleep for long periods of time and not eat. Checking your plots is so important for that reason

A lot of people with eating disorders, even those recovering don't like others making food for them. They need that control, and a large trust relationship must be built between her and her boyfriend to even allow him to serve her food. If she finds out, which she would realistically - that could trigger her back into a large relapse. If you can work around these, that could make an interesting turn.

That's great advice for writers wishing to explore aspects of mental illnesses, research is your best friend! Put yourself into the shoes of these people, what would YOU do if you were that girl? how would you BEHAVE? ACT? EAT? FEEL?
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Carolina K.
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(Original post by Anonymous)
so i'm writing a novel, 1st off please excuse the poor grammar in this, it's 3 am where i am. I have a sub plot with a girl from Bulgaria who has taken a job in France, she's dealing with Anorexia, and she lives with her sister, her sister tells her boyfriend about this. the boyfriend talks to the mom of the girl in Bulgaria. (as the story goes, the girl eats but after she eats she vomits up everything.) The mother who is a pharmacist give the boyfriend pills, these pills are sleeping pills that he is to grind up and put in her food to put her to sleep so she doesn't vomit and the food digests while she is unconscious, to put on healthy weight. I'm wondering if that is ethical or not to do to someone, (P.S. i know in real life he'd take her to a Physician but in the story she refuses to go.)
No. The direction the plot goes in from what you told me is just bad in general.

-Why is she in France?
-Does the sister need to be involved? Can she just be staying at her boyfriend's? That would you as an author to develop their relationship more.
-Couldn't the mother get caught for giving out sleeping pills? Also, they are addictive so even people with insomnia don't get them often.
-Sleeping pills take some time to work so couldn't she vomit it out before she falls asleep/passes out?
-Wouldn't there be better methods for the boyfriend to help?
-Is there a reason behind her anorexia?
-Did you do research on the subject so you don't represent it incorrectly?
-Is there more to the storyline than this?
-What themes will you include?
-How will you show her issues and struggle to overcome them?

I ain't no writer but I do know the basics so feel free to text me. I did a lot of writing stuff in the past so I have a bit of experience.
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Sahyun
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lol its a novel, add whatever you want. heck you could add in how the woman from Bulgaria with anorexia has a big willy that the boyfriend didnt expect and the only way to transform it into a big anti willy hole is by starving.
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by katf)
1) Incorrect. The focus of anorexia is weight loss. According to the NHS and the butterfly foundation (leading eating disorder charity), anorexia by definition involves restriction. It is not defined by weight and the NICE guidelines recommend treatment regardless of someone's weight. Binge purge subtype is indicated by a period of restriction, followed by a binge, then a purge. As stated previously, research.
The focus of bulimia is also weight management, so what's your point? Where in my post did I say that anorexics do not restrict (or in fact where did OP say that her character binges)?

Epidemiologically, binge-purge subtype is a more common than pure restrictive anorexia. Both the ICD and the DSM do use weight criteria (though I do admit that BMI of 17.5 is no longer used as the cut-off in the most recent versions), and I think you will find that NICE guidelines actually say helping people to reach a healthy body weight or BMI for their age is a key goal of treatment.

I have done much wider reading and research on eating disorders than the NHS website and charity websites, and have worked with people who specialise in eating disorders as well as people with eating disorders. I stand by my point that anorexia does not always equal restricting.
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Itsadaisy
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You can purge and still be anorexic, purging comes in different forms - such as throwing up, taking laxatives, enemas, and whatnot. It's actually as the previous post stated, binge-purge subtypes which are quite common.

The main difference between someone who is anorexic and someone who is bulimic is actually down their habits. Anorexic people want to disappear, look dangerously thin and sometimes can relish on being the skinniest person, or attracting concerned attention from others about their weight. They don't actually know how serious is can be, but it's something they don't want to lose control of, they want to be the skinniest person, they want to be skinnier than a model - the skinniest person you'll see in your life. It means they've done well in their eyes (SOMETIMES) but it is all about obsessive restriction in a general sense, and more restricted diets are praised in the pro-ana community.

A bulimic, slightly different, they do weight management, they want to be healthy or underweight - yes, but not dangerously thin. Most bulimics are actually normal weight or overweight. There isn't a need to be incredibly skinny, unlike anorexic people, Bulimics tend to be less focused on willpower (the power of control to not eat, which a lot of people with anorexia practice - hence it taking over their entire lives) but weight management. Bulimics suffer from serious relationships with food, as it's something they really can't control properly - which is why they have a vicious cycle of binging and purging. It's usually associated with overeating and then purging/exercising. Anorexia is revolved around undereating - then purging or exercising.

TLDR: Anorexic people can purge if it makes them feel skinnier.
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GlockInmyRari
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It matters in what stage of the disease the girl is. Secretly feeding her meds is easier to justify if without the medicine the girls health (or even life) would be seriously in danger.
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