Although eating disorders have been around for along time, they have not been well understood. It is thought that binging and purging food has been around since Caesars’ time approximately 700b.c. (Engel 2007). In the book Holy Anorexia, Rudolph Bell penned that religious women of the renaissance period punished their bodies by fasting to achieve closeness to God. (Bell 1985)
The first formal diagnosis of anorexia for medical reasons came in the 1680’s. Dr. Richard Morton described a twenty-year-old patient as "a skeleton clad with skin". He suggested that her sadness literally ate away at her. She reportedly died two years later. Another similar patient was documented in 1859. (Morton 1694)
Medical symptoms were not widely discussed until the early 1900’s and even then it was historically understood to be just a “physical” disease. It wasn’t until the 1930’s when more case studies about anorexia were leaning towards this illness possibly being interrelated to a psychological and emotional disor...
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...Lock was part of a research study that concluded that family based therapy, in which parents were participating with adolescent children, was twice as effective as individual psychotherapy and at times producing full remission of the disorder. (Lock, 2010)
It is important to keep in mind that an eating disorder reflects a dysfunctional relationship with ones self. Families cannot fix the individual with the illness. It is not anyone’s “fault” and it is important to remember that everyone has the same goal in mind. (Ekern, 2014)
It is likewise important that clinicians are astute to the signs and symptoms of those that present with early signs of an eating disorder which can include, excessive weight loss, thinning hair, dry skin, brittle nails, bloated stomach, “downy hair” covering the body, refusing to eat and distorted self-image (Wiseman, Harris, Halmi, 1998).
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