Monday, October 10, 2011

History of Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is sometimes called the “starvation.” Obsessed with food, weight, and thinness, people suffering from anorexia deny their hunger and refuse to eat – even after extreme weight loss.

Anorexia ranks as the third most common chronic illness among adolescents, following obesity and asthma.

As they consume too few calories for their basic needs, their bodies slowly waste away. By starving themselves, people with anorexia don’t get the nutrients they need for normal bodily functions.

The term ‘anorexia nervosa’ was coined by Sir William Gull during the nineteenth century but the phenomenon of self starvation has a long history.

In the Address in Medicine to the British Medical Associations in 1868 he had referred to some cases of emaciation without evident organic cause in young women.

In 1689, Sir Richard Morton, British physician published what is now considered the first medical description of anorexia, although it had little impact at the time.

He reported of two adolescent cases, one female and one male, which he described as occurrences of ‘nervous consumption,’ a wasting away due to emotional turmoil.

Sir William Gull and Charles Lasegue of France in 1874, introduced anorexia nervosa as a clinical diagnosis. Each emphasized varying aspects of the conditions in their clinical report, yet they both described as a ‘nervous’ disease characterized by self starvation.

They were the first to recognize the illness as a distinct clinical diagnosis. After World War II psychoanalytic thinking was popular and anorexia was thought of a fear of oral impregnation.

In the late 20th century anorexia nervosa evolved from a rare and little known clinical entity to a fashionable disorder of great interest to the general public.
History of Anorexia
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