Anorexia Nervosa


"Modern anorexia is the biopsychosocial disorder mirroring a society with specific tensions and contradictions: the bourgeois family, supportive yet suffocating, and all the paradoxical hypocrisies of modern attitudes towards youth, food, femininity, beauty and sexuality, are whipped up by the media and by multi-million pound food and style industries." - Roy Porter 1997

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that was first described in 1868 and is most commonly found among teenage girls. Its exact cause is not known

Anorexia Nervosa
  • This disorder is also found though, in a smaller ratio, in adolescent males and adult men.
  • It is commonly observed among the teenagers.
  • Anorexia induces the patient to harbour low self-esteem and a high desire to control their emotions.
  • Anorexia is a characteristic reaction to a number of external and internal conflicts, such as stress, anxiety, unhappiness and a feeling of life getting out of hand.
  • Anorexia is a reaction of a person's inability to cope with these negative emotions.

Early History Of Anorexia Nervosa:

  • There were many previous case histories of this condition with eating disorder.
  • An English physician William Gull coined the term Anorexia Nervosa in 1868. Coining the term Dr Gull emphasized the physiological causes of the condition, the need to restore weight, and the role-played by the family.
  • Another physician Charles Lasegue around the same time also gave the current 'key descriptions' of the condition. (Ref: Palmer 2000)

In… 1868, I referred to a peculiar form of disease occurring mostly in young women, and characterized by extreme emaciation.... At present our diagnosis of this affection is negative, so far as determining any positive cause from which it springs…. The subjects…are…chiefly between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three.... My experience supplies at least one instance of a fatal termination.... Death apparently followed from the starvation alone..... The want of appetite is, I believe, due to a morbid mental state.... We might call the state hysterical. - (William Withey Gull, 1874)

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