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He noted that she “lived without receiving meat or drink for at least three years.” The condition began on 15 February 1599, when Jane Balans was around 10 years old.
After suffering a fever and vomiting, she became withdrawn and weakened, refusing all food.
I prefer, however, the more general term "nervosa," since the disease occurs in males as well as females, and is probably rather central than peripheral.
The importance of discriminating such cases in practice is obvious; otherwise prognosis will be erroneous, and treatment misdirected.
By the thirteenth century, it was increasingly common for women to participate in religious life and to even be named as saints by the Catholic Church.
Many women who ultimately became saints engaged in self-starvation, including Saint Hedwig of Andechs in the thirteenth century and Catherine of Siena in the fourteenth century.
The use, and subsequent abandonment, of the term hysterica is of interest, since in the Victorian era the term was interpreted as applying to female behaviour.
In a paper published in 1873, French physician Ernest-Charles Lasègue published a paper entitled De l’Anorexie Hystérique.
Contemporary superstition blamed the wicked power of an apple given her by an old woman some months prior to the start of the condition; Mexio diagnosed the case as a “drying up of the liver and of all the parts serving to nourishment due to hurtful humours” Two early medical descriptions of a syndrome involving loss of appetite and extreme fasting without any evidence of known disease are provided by the English physician Richard Morton in 1689.
He provided two case descriptions in his “Phthisiologia: Or, a Treatise of Consumptions,” a 1694 translation of his 1689 work “Phthisiologica, seu exercitationes de phthisi libris comprehensae.
The term anorexia nervosa was established in 1873 by Queen Victoria’s personal physician, Sir William Gull.
The term anorexia is of Greek origin: an- (ἀν-, prefix denoting negation) and orexis (ὄρεξις, "appetite"), thus translating to "nervous absence of appetite".She refused any treatment (which consisted of the likes of cloves bruised in wine, and stomach plasters). The other patient was described as “The Son of the Reverend Minister Steele.” He began to fast at the age of 16.