The significance of the history of eating disorders has grown exponentially due to the inability to identify what anorexia really is. Anorexia Nervosa or AN began emerging in the early 1600s, but it wasn’t until the last 1800s that it became identified. In the late eighteenth century, anorexia nervosa was viewed to be a form of hysteria that mainly impacted women that came from the middle and upper classes. However, some women appeared to believe that the ideal body type during this time, was that of a curvy and full-figured woman. Many women attempted to obtain this body type by the use of corsets. Throughout the late eighteenth century, corsets were an illustration of how women began taking maximum measures to achieve what they thought was the ideal body type. In the article, “Cognitive Remediation Therapy for Adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa—Treatment Satisfaction and the Perception for Change,” by Camilla Lindvall Dahlgren and Kristin Stedal is about how cognitive remediation therapy has been recently developed for children and adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Dahlgren and Stedal expressed, “Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder (ED) characterized by a persistent restriction of energy intake which leads to significant low body weight, and intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat……” (1). This illustrates what anorexia nervosa is and how certain behaviors can bring forth this disorder. Many individuals have the need to look thin because it is what many believe is expected. Especially when it comes to women, there is a certain desire to fit in. The fear of eating too much and gaining weight brings forth the need to not eat as often as we are used to. Therefore, starvation is deemed necessary to lose weight and achieve what many believe to be the ideal body type. Furthermore, leading to individuals on limiting their food intake and partaking in diets that can have severe health risks. Thus, the history behind anorexia nervosa is being more looked upon in order to understand the disorder that affects many.
Adding to the background of anorexia, it was seen as a rare eating disorder that was not looked upon until the 20th century. From when it originally began and following to today’s time, it took a long time for the public to become aware of the disorder. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Anorexia nervosa usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood.” This disorder falls mostly between ages 12 and 25. The book Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa: An Optimistic Guide to Understanding and Healing by Alexander R. Lucas talks about his experience at the Mayo Clinic and offers his advice on how an individual can overcome anorexia nervosa. He guides patients through the process of recovery. Lucas states, “At that time she received a “B” on a math test, the first time she had received less than an “A” that year. She was disappointed and angry with herself. She felt that she must be getting “fat and lazy.” (6). Based on this, one of the factors that can lead a female into this illness comes from social influences. Females could be influence by peers or the stress of schoolwork. Some people spend hours on school work sometimes that they forget to eat. Given to the fact that they are spending two to three hours either laying or sitting down doing homework, it is viewed as a factor of laziness that can cause gain weight. Therefore, eating isn’t looked as a necessity and thus it starts the development of this eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is more common today than a century ago, leading to it being one of the three main eating disorders in the world today.