Anorexia first showed up in the Middle Ages over 500 years ago. Back then it was called Anorexia Mirabilis, which means loss of appetite caused by a miracle. In those days women fasting were considered special people because they could live on such small amounts of food. This idea had changed about 200 years later. Anorexic women were no longer thought to be special people because the church thought it was inspired by the devil.
Then around 1870 a well-known English doctor came to the conclusion that there actually was a starving disease and named the disorder what it is today. .
Just 300 years ago eating disorders hit the textbooks. To some people the effort to become thin can become an obsession, even life threatening.
Eating disorders happen more in Industrialized nations, primarily because of all the social pressures to being thin. Thinness is very measurable with attractiveness. Anorexia mainly affects white females 12-24 by 90%, with a growing number of males, mainly of middle to upper class for both genders.
The term Anorexia is of Greek origin. "An" means lack of and "orexis" means appetite. "Nervosa" means nervous disorder in the mind. People suffering from anorexia are called Anorectics. .
With anorexia, the loss of appetite can be unexplainable and have many reasons. Eating disorders are very complex diseases like any other. It cannot be controlled just by willpower itself. Even though their stomachs tell them to eat their mind tells them not to or they will be fat. This disease gives a person a very distorted image of their self. Many anorexics think and even dream about food. Many even enjoy shopping and cooking food for everyone but themselves. Some doctors say this is a way to curb their own appetite. Some feel they don't deserve food at all. It is a guilt feeling.
Both genders, male and female, develop symptoms of eating disorders during adolescents. However in females the symptoms usually occur during puberty while male symptoms usually show in their late teens, or even in their early twenties.