Lege Artis Medicinae

[Early sources of the hungarian history of eating disorder]

TÚRY Ferenc1, WILDMANN Márta1, KISS Kálmán2, SIMON Lajos3

DECEMBER 28, 1994

Lege Artis Medicinae - 1994;4(12)

[The authors review the early Hungarian descriptions and development of anorexia (nervosa). Among the medieval fasting saints, the ascetic eating disorder of Princess Margaret of Hungary is discussed and the anorectic characteristics of Empress Elizabeth from the 19th century are also presented. The entry of this disorder into the international medical common knowledge may be placed at the end of the 19th century, with the most authentic descriptions being published in 1873. On the basis of Hungarian sources, it appears that the phenomenon of anorexia is mentioned by publications which appeared at the turn of the century. A certain overlapping of the diagnosis of anorexia and tuberculosis which was a widespread disease at that time should be emphasized. In early studies, mental causes of the emaciation are generally dicussed, especially hysteria. It should be underlined that, until the fifties, relatively little data relates to the Hungarian situation of anorexia. The first Hungarian case report of anorexia was published in 1955, although not under the name of anorexia, and without mentioning the role of mental factors. The authors emphasize the significance of medical history research in psychiatry and in psychosomatic disorders. In this respect, anorexia nervosa is a paradigmatic disorder: changes in its history reflect well the characte ristic situation of psychiatry in each period of time, and may provide a basis for modern therapeutical strategies. ]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Megyei Kórház I. Pszichiátriai Osztály
  2. Megyei Kórház, II. Pszichiátriai Osztály Miskolc
  3. Semmelweis Orvostudományi Egyetem, Pszichiátriai Klinika, Budapest

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