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Overview of Anorexia Nervosa

            Anorexia nervosa is a disease with a long history. While the length of time, an effective treatment still evades physicians and clinicians. It is known to have the highest rate of mortality of any psychiatric illness, between 20-25% (Watson & Bulik, 2013). What is it about this disorder that makes it so difficult to treat well? Anorexia nervosa is a disorder with a multifactorial epidemiology; it is thought to have a biological, psychological, and a social aspect. Treatment focuses on each of these areas, but has not been found extremely helpful. In this paper I will discuss the different aspects of this disorder and how it is treated. .
             Anorexia has a very extensive history beginning first with the Greeks and Romans. Because of their dislike of obesity, women would starve themselves to look thin. Extreme fasting occurred in the Middle Ages among very religious women. In the 16th century the "fasting girls": women who would say they had magical powers that they could go without eating and still live, changed the self-starvation from being private, to more secular and public. At one time these "fasting girls" were put on public display and became a tourist attraction. In the 17th and 18th century, a woman who had anorexia symptoms was said to be possessed by a devil. During the 19tth century, physicians thought it was a sign of hysteria and from that point on it has been look on as a medical-psychological problem (Cassell & Gleaves, 2006). In 1873, anorexia nervosa was established as a clinical diagnosis. E. C. Laségue of Paris said emotional issues that the patient was trying to hide caused anorexia hysterique. About that same time, Sir William Gull termed the disorder anorexia nervosa when he submitted a paper to London Clinical Society. He used the word "nervosa" because it pertained to both males and females. Laségue and Gull were familiar with each other's work and realized that they were working with the same disorder.

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