Eating Disorders

Authored by: Craig A. Johnston , John P. Foreyt

Handbook of Nutrition and Food

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781466505711
eBook ISBN: 9781466505728
Adobe ISBN:


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The incidence of eating disorders is increasing, and health care professionals are faced with the difficult task of treating these refractory conditions. 1 , 2 Cases of weight loss and self-inflicted starvation have been dated back to at least the fourth century A.D. 3 For example, in literature from the Middle Ages, several cases were cited of religious women who reportedly existed on very little food over extended time periods only by virtue of spiritual power. 3 6 The first clinical description of anorexia nervosa (AN) was reported in 1694 and included symptoms such as decreased appetite, amenorrhea, food aversion, emaciation, and hyperactivity. 7 The actual term “anorexia nervosa” was used in 1874 to describe a condition beginning in adolescence, predominantly among females, with metabolic sequence associated with prolonged starvation and calorie depletion. The cognitive/perceptual body image distortions associated with the disorder was described during this time as well. 8 The initial treatments for this disorder included family participation; however, some argued that successful intervention required the patients to be separated from the family environment. 9

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